Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Emotional World of Farm Animals

On Monday night, SOS showed "The Emotional World of Farm Animals" as part of our ongoing movie fest. This movie follows author Jeffrey Masson as he does research for his book The Pig Who Sang to the Moon. He travels to different sanctuaries where he meets rescued animals and talks with the people who run the sanctuaries. Each and every animal has a unique personality and a story to tell. Anyone interested in volunteering or starting an animal sanctuary should visit www.sanctuaries.org
After the movie, Rae Sikora led a discussion about how humans see these animals as just food even though it is obvious that they are thinking and feeling beings. It is interesting how people think more fondly of domestic companions (cat, dogs, rabbits, horses) while farm animals are considered to be just stupid animals. However, there is overwhelming evidence that animals such as pigs and chickens are actually very intelligent. Hopefully we will soon be able to abolish the stigma against farm animals and embrace them as unique, smart and emotional animals.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This past Monday, SOS showed LAST OF THE SPANISH MUSTANGS, a movie about the plight of the Spanish mustangs- our country's wild
horses are being wiped off their range to support the foreign horse meat market. After the movie, Liz Cherry, a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Georgia, discussed her experience witnessing the popularity of horse meat in France during the year that she lived there. Liz also talked about the current efforts to end horse slaughter through creating more effective legislation- H.R. 503 and S. 311. For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit this HSUS site.

For more information on our ongoing movie fest, please visit our FilmFest page.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

General Tao's Tofu

I wanted to write about my (only) favorite holiday tradition: blackeye peas and collard greens on New Year's Day, but I made this last night and have to share! It might look daunting, but don't let the different parts scare you. Just chop and prepare everything in advance, and then fire up the stove to finish!

This recipe is from vegweb.com, and is by far the most popular recipe. I've modified the recipe based on the 200+ reviews. So we have "rubybean77" to thank for the recipe.

You'll have five parts to make:
--cornstarch-coated tofu cubes
--rice or noodles

--Press one block of tofu for about 15 minutes.
--If you've never pressed your tofu, it's easy and worth it. I just take a small plate and put a folded paper towel on it. I then put the tofu on that, put another folded paper towel on top, and then put something heavy on the top. I usually use one of my big glass mixing bowls because they are sturdy and provide a good flat surface for pressing.
--Then take your tofu out (and save the paper towels for cleaning up stuff later--it's just tofu water!) and cut it into cubes of your liking.
--Put 3/4 C cornstarch in a clean paper bag or a ziploc bag (I used a big ziploc bag), and put the cubed tofu in it. Shake that for about a minute or so, until the tofu is cubed on all sides.
--Your tofu is prepared, but you have to cook it. Wait for the rest of the intstructions, yo.

Rice or Noodles
--Um, make some rice or noodles for your base. I used udon noodles because I didn't want to wait 40 minutes for rice. But I'll make rice today for the leftovers!
Use whatever veggies you want! But do make certain to include:
--1/4 - 1/2 C onion
--1 T ginger
--1 T garlic

I used broccoli, zucchini, green peas, corn, and mushrooms, as well.

A couple of tips:
--This recipe calls for fresh ginger and garlic, but if you want a more "takeout" flavor, add a bit of powdered ginger, garlic, and onion.
--An easy way to prep ginger: I always wash and then break up my ginger into its "fingers" and put in the freezer. There, it will keep indefinitely, rather than getting all shriveled and dry. When I need any ginger, I just take it out and use a microplane to grate it onto whatever I need. Try it--you'll love it!

I doubled the sauce recipe from vegweb and cut way down on the sugar, as other reviewers recommended.

--1 1/3 C vegetable stock
--4 T soy sauce
--3 T sugar
--hot red pepper flakes to taste
--1 T sherry (optional)
--1 T white vinegar
I used the sherry because I had some. It was great. Some other people used balsamic vinegar, and seemed to like that.

Slurry is just the fancy cook name for the cornstarch and water mixture used to thicken soups and sauces. Just use 1 part cornstarch and 1 part water (usually just 1-2 T each), and mix together.

Okay, now you're ready to get cooking. It goes well if you multitask, plus it's more fun that way.

I cooked the tofu in an electric wok, because it was so big that I knew I could add everything to this at the end. Plus, it's great for cooking tofu. But you will need a large (really large) skillet to cook your tofu. This will take a little while, about 15-20 minutes, because you need to cook all sides of the tofu. Temp? I dunno, I was on 250-350 on the wok, probably medium on the stovetop. Cook until the tofu gets a bit golden, and when the cornstarch is fully cooked (not goopy) on the tofu. I just left mine alone and then stirred/flipped it every few minutes.

At the same time, cook your veggies in another skillet. I did this on the stove on medium heat. I always add my garlic and ginger last, because you don't want to burn those.

Also at the same time, cook your noodles or rice. If you're using brown rice, you should start that before you start everything else because it takes longer.

If you premade your sauce, hold off on that. If not, make it now!

Once your veggies are cooked, add the sauce to that and let it simmer a bit. And when the tofu is cooked, add the veggies/sauce to the tofu. This is when it really helps to have a huge wok.

Stir that around a bit. If you like the consistency of the sauce, stick with that. If not, if you want a thicker sauce, then re-stir your slurry and add a bit of that and stir it around. I only used about 1 T of slurry.

Serve over noodles or rice, and get ready to wow your friends!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Whale Slaughter and "Culture"

There was an interesting commentary posted today by Tony Long in his "The Luddite" column in WIRED online magazine called, "Slaughtering Whales As an Expression of National Culture." The piece looks at Japan, and to a lesser extent, Norway, on how they attempt to use "traditional culture" as an excuse for whale hunting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Be Happy, Healthy and Humane!

Elizabeth Pembleton, a sophomore from Atlanta, recently gave a protest speech for her public speaking class outside the Chapel on UGA's North Campus. In this speech, she addressed concerns about contaminants that are in meat, and how to avoid getting sick from them. Ways she suggested were to not buy from companies that are notorious for their haphazard manufacturing, to buy organic, free-range meats from local markets, or to not buy or eat meat at all. She also mentioned the University of Georgia student organization S.O.S. and encouraged audience members to try vegetarianism or, at the very least, Meat Out Mondays. Because she is vegetarian and a health promotion major, she attempted to sway people using the slogan, “Be Happy, Healthy and Humane”, and handed S.O.S. stickers out at the end to promote the distribution of the message of her speech. It seemed to work, as a few students commented how they would definitely try Meat Out Mondays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Green" not good for birds

There is an interesting article in the Novemeber 23 issue of the AJC about "green" buildings being a danger to birds. The article focuses on a green LEED certified building at Emory that was causing a high number of bird deaths. The building, as do many "green" buildings, uses a lot of glass, and the birds were becoming confused by the reflections and flying into the building. The deaths would have continued, had it not been for a faculty member who really pushed to find a humane solution, in this case seasonal nets. Shows how one person being a voice for animals can make a difference! (photo credit: FRANK NIEMEIR/AJC)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pacelle & HSUS featured in Newsweek

Some of you may have heard Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States speak when he gave a lecture at UGA a year ago. The current issue (November 19) of 'Newsweek' features a column written by Pacelle talking about what motivated him to be a voice for animals. (photo by D.A. Peterson for Newsweek)