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Author Archive: "Isa Chandra Moskowitz"

There Is No Vegan’s Dilemma

I'm late with my Powell's blog today! Okay, I'm not actually late, but I wrote this whole thing called "Portland: Why Aren't You Vegan?" and it came out really wrong. Here's a snippet:

More specifically: bike riding, canvas bag shopping, water bottle sipping, book reading, farmer's market being, sustainable, shade grown, local, fair trading, Morrissey listening, recycled footwearing, why aren't you vegan? Especially those of you with the Baby Bjorn. Those fabric diapers don't cancel out that free range chicken salad. Don't you want your children's children to have one of those awesome earths that we had when we were growing up?

But my god, that is offensive. And yet, while I have the ear of Portland, I would like to speak about it. Problem is, it's really hard to talk about stuff without coming across as a judgmental asshole. Like when you try to get your parents not to shop at Walmart, or vote for McCain, or be anti-semitic or whatever — it's touchy and delicate. But here I go.

I remember when I first understood the concept of vegetarianism, even if I didn't know the word. I ...


Cult-licious

You know what's weird about veganism? Chances are you're an anarchist atheist, too, and you end up eating at so many religious cults! But luckily, brainwashing has never been so delicious. Here's my top 5 list for vegan cult foods.

5) Ananda Fuara: San Francisco
I'm not sure what this cult is about. Maybe knitting? In any case, stop in for a "chicken" salad sandwich, and lots of other menu items in scare quotes.

4) Krishna food: anywhere
I'm patiently awaiting a Krishna fashion trend, mostly because who doesn't want such a no-fuss ponytail? Krishnas are generally friendly, non-confrontational people that are fun to talk to. And that makes for a fabulous dining partner, or, er, 100 fabulous dining partners. The food is mostly Indian-inspired with a West Virginian twist. That couscous stuff! It's got nuts and dried fruits and things. Heavens, it's good. The best part is walking out with your friends and discussing whether or not you feel funny and convincing each other that they put something in the food. It's kind of like when you pretend you didn't push that thingy on the Ouija board. ...


Ital Is Vital for Portland

Ital food is largely unknown outside of the Rasta community. I mean, most every time I say "Ital," people think I'm talking about Italian cuisine in some food-snobby vernacular. Portland had no Ital that I know of until a few months ago, when this bright little cart popped up on SW 5th and College.

And not a moment too soon! I thought I'd die if I didn't have some properly prepared black-eyed peas, set off with fried plantains. There's also some fake-y meat-y stuff that vegans think is good, but I'll pass. I'll take greens and rice over soy protein isolate anyday.

Asaase Ital Palace offered two dishes that instantly appealed to me: Red-Red and Gold & Green.

They made me think that I should name all of my dishes after colors; it's totally the right idea. Food should be vibrant and inviting: nobody wants to eat Beige-Beige or Brown & Grey. Unless it's Jewish food, which should not stray too far from the ecru color palette. Anyway, ...


Fending Off Zombies and Republicans with Arugula

My arugula bolted in the great northwest heatwave two weeks ago. At first I was upset, tipped a little vinaigrette onto the curb for all those salads lost. But then I realized: it's pretty forking cool that my arugula bolted, and I am lucky to even know what that means .

When I realized the world was ending, I decided to pick up a few new hobbies. No, not alcoholism or LARPing. I decided I needed to learn 1) how to grow my own food and 2) how to run. The running was something about being able to escape the inevitable zombies or Republicans, or whatever Armageddon brings. It lasted only a few months (I swear I am going to pick it back up once it cools down) but the gardening stayed with me. I even planted a new garden this summer, in the parking lot next to my apartment.

I don't know how useful the skill is. For one, the zombies (or Republicans) are probably going to destroy my garden once the end of the world festivities get underway, assuming they have a taste for Thai basil. And for two, I'm not sure where to procure starters in ...


Migrating for Food

It really only makes sense to migrate for food if it's 10,000 BC. Or if you're a cookbook author.

NYC might be the food capital of the world, but I chose to leave for Portland because of the fresh and local produce (where else has anyone heard of a marionberry that wasn't a — groan — crack-smoking mayor?) and the vegan friendliness (Lebanese restaurants with the word 'vegan' on the menu? GTFO. Kibbeh here I come). But it wasn't just the actual food that brought me here, it was all that came with it. My tiny Brooklyn kitchen was closing in on me... literally. The walls where my pots and pans hung were turning into an Indiana Jones booby trap. The ceiling was sprinkling little bits of plaster over every surface like so much confectioner's sugar. My spices were battling it out with my cleaning supplies for space. It wasn't pretty.

In Portland a cook can stretch out, spin around without sinking the souffle, even lean against the counter; not because space was so tight that you had to but because, goddamit, you wanted to!


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