I feel like my last two posts about veganism have been so goddamn holier-than-thou that something is needed to balance them out. You folks have so many great comments and thoughts and I’m looking forward to jumping into a great discussion.
I have a compulsion to cop to ways I’ve failed at the endless game of goodness in the past few weeks.
How this balances out my quest for vegan perfection I can’t really explain, but I’ve had a day-long stomach ache thinking about how I can be so uppity about veganism when I’m so flawed in other areas—so just bear with me.
First of all, I’ve bought a bunch of crap made in China recently. Some of it I needed for the business. Some of it I needed to get my cat to stop pooing by the front door (hellooooo black light). But some of it was just fucking clothes. Sweatshoppy clothes.
I am having a problem with saturday.com. I ordered a pair of jeans from them a few weeks ago because they were super cute and because they said “Made in the USA” on the website. I liked the jeans and decided to treat myself to a few other items. I hadn’t bought clothes in a while, and they reeled me in by introducing newer, cuter, more weirdly colorful clothes every week, and now I’m stupid hooked. The problem is that everything but their jeans is, as it says on the website “imported,” or, as it says on the label, “Made in China.” Direct violation of New Year’s Resolution, obvs. Until this moment, I have been steadily ignoring this fact. Truthfully, I’ll probably still ignore it, because those goddamn Utility Pocket Shorts fit me like a dream. A sweatshoppy, sweatshoppy goddamn dream.
Next. A nonprofit group advocating for ethical food misrepresented my business online and I FREAKED OUT. I sent them a crazy 1 am email (sample excerpt: “Please explain ASAP to me on what insane grounds you wouldn’t recommend my chocolate, when it is PRECISELY what you should be recommending. I’m insulted, confused, and hurt. Shoddy work like this undermines your efforts.”) and, when the founder of the group called to talk it out with me I was curt to the point of rudeness and got so hotheaded that I HUNG UP ON HER. Then I calmed down by talking to L and M at work and we decided I should call back. I did and we had a good chat, but STILL. COME ON, LAGUSTA. Ridiculous. It was a mistake and they apologized and we straightened it all out, but why freak out like that? I hate freaking out like that.
And then, someone published a recipe in VegNews that was clearly influenced by one of my recipes. I politely emailed the author asking for attribution to be added to the recipe, but they never responded. Then through internet snooping I saw that the author of the recipe had “liked” a comment from a friend of theirs that included the line “fuck that lady” about me because I politely pointed out, on the vegnews.com page for the recipe, ways it could work better (people were having a lot of issues with the recipe, I saw what was happening and wanted to help—and, of course, wanted to politely work in a line about how this recipe was inspired by mine…). This “liking” action proved guilt, to me, so I wrote BACK to the author saying again how, for serious, I was NOT TRYING TO BE AN ASSHOLE (it was not in all caps), but COME THE FUCK ON (It was much more polite than that)—cite your sources! Have you ever written a high school paper?
Why the hell do I even freaking care? Just keep your head down and focus on your work, man! This is how things go—they wend through the culture and it’s ridiculous to think you can keep your name attached to them. Just let it go. I hate it when my ego gets in the way like that. The thing is, it used to be that when you Googled “this recipe I’m not going to name” you got my recipe, and now with the crap-reputation of VegNews you’ll get that recipe and—oh, IT BURNS! I worked so hard on perfecting that recipe. The irony is that their recipe changed fundamental things that will actually make it much worse, too.
Writing about these things now, they don’t seem that bad. But man, they took a lot of time and effort out of my soul.
What else. My stupid produce supplier sent me non-organic haricots verts FROM NEW ZEALAND for this dinner I cooked and because I was short on time and really wanted haricots verts and not plain green beans I used them, even though that right there goes against alllllll my principles.
And I bought a bag of Tings during a moment of intense stress yesterday. Knowing full well I was eating GMOs.
And I didn’t brush my teeth last night.
And I’ve been wearing the same hoodie for three days.
Sometimes when I come home at 1 or 2 am I know I’ll be too tired to get up and go back into the kitchen after the cats are done eating to turn off the light, so I feed them and turn off the light and trudge upstairs and make them eat in darkness. (Cats can see in the dark, right?).
Sometimes I leave my clothes in the washing machine for days and days. And days. And then I rewash them, because they get mildewy.
When Jacob’s not home to gently spray the cats with water when they scratch on the new couch, I sometimes pretend not to hear the scratching.
When customers I don’t like come into the shop, I hide in the back room.
I sometimes drink whiskey in bed at night, straight from the bottle.
When Jacob’s on tour I almost always eat dinner at or past midnight. (Could have something to do with the stomach aches…)
Oh, and the wild strawberries thing.
A Prominent Vegan Baker has been selling these cakes with what they are calling “wild strawberries.” I’ve been going into the woods every other morning to check on the growing status of fraise du bois, aka wood strawberries, aka alpine strawberries aka wild strawberries, and every time I see their teeny green fruits, the size of my pinky nail and the size of half of Jacob’s pinky nail, I get a bad stomach ache and have to walk it off before I get back in the car to go back to work. See, this Prominent Vegan Baker—who I’m pals with, who I like, who does amazing work for veganism, who has a fantastic heart—doesn’t, to my knowledge, use any organic ingredients. And since they make strawberry desserts year-round, they’re using non-organic, imported strawberries. Much has been written about the modern-day slavery on citrus groves in Florida and farms all around the world, including most particularly strawberry farms, so I’m kind of burnt up about this.
But you know what irks me the very most about it?
That they’re NOT ACTUALLY USING WILD STRAWBERRIES. They’re those cottony white things, the size of a fat baby’s fist.
AND I AM.
Truthfully, that’s MUCH MORE annoying to me than the fact that PROBABLE HUMAN SLAVES PICKED THOSE STRAWBERRIES.
See, the next giant huge 10-course 30-person fancy dinner I’m cooking is in June. The theme is foraged food. Originally I thought I’d call on my underground mycelium of foragers for ingredients, but now I have this idea that I will forage for everything. FUCKING INSAN-I-FUCKING-TY. I know this, but I can’t stop going to the woods to see what’s around and I can’t stop thinking about, since the dinner is 3 weeks away, how to preserve my foraged bounty until then. The fraise du bois have maybe two weeks until ripeness. I’m thinking I can either dry them, or lightly pickle them in a very sugary, southern-style (think bread and butter pickles) pickling solution. They fruit all summer up in the mountains here, but I probably won’t have time or luck to get them, since I’ll be too busy scratching through the woods getting everything else, in the days right before the dinner.
I have to go now. It’s a bit sunny. It rained yesterday. I need 27 more morels in order to serve morels at the June dinner.
Into the woods, stomach ache and all.