Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yulin


Today I am writing about something that absolutely breaks my heart: The Yulin Dog Meat Festival. In June, around summer solstice, thousands of dogs are brutally tortured and eaten in China. (The dogs they get for this include household pets.) The belief is that tortured dogs provide better meat. How sick is that? While I certainly don’t agree with eating dogs as a source of protein, my real problem with this is the torture. As a meat eater myself, I understand that different cultures eat different animals, but what kind of monsters torture their food and/or prefer to eat that type of meat?

Throughout the last few months, I have sent numerous letters to government officials here in Canada, the United States and China. I have signed petitions. I have also made a couple of donations to organizations helping stop or mitigating Yulin. Doing this felt better than doing nothing. But knowing that it is going on now, and seeing updates from Marc Ching with Animal Hope and Wellness (https://animalhopeandwellness.org/) is so heartbreaking. And I am not even close to witnessing the brutal terror up front like he and the Chinese nationals trying to stop this are. One’s world view couldn’t help but be wickedly changed after bearing witness to the horror.

My message here today is twofold:

 (1) We need to speak up about what is wrong in the world. We have to be brave enough to say “that isn’t right!” and take action against it. This will look different for everyone, but don’t turn a blind eye. I encourage you all to speak up about what is wrong in your own world, and do what you can to change it. I believe one of the best ways to do this is voting with your dollar. Support people and organizations that are doing the right thing. Take extra time to research this. Think twice before you buy something – there is so much cheap shit that’s so incredibly easy to buy (hello Amazon) that we can pay so little attention to these things. Ask where it’s coming from, and how the people (or animals) that made it were treated.

(2) Please, at the very least – sign a petition against Yulin. I will warn you that the photos or videos on some of these pages are overwhelming, so I would recommend keeping your volume on mute and just scrolling down past the photos to the part you need to sign.
https://www.change.org/p/do-not-proceed-with-the-yulin-dog-festival-in-2018

If you prefer, write letters. Send me a message and I will send you a template. You don’t even have to write it up yourself – hell, I will even mail it for you.

 Make a donation if you can to help the dogs that have been rescued: https://animalhopeandwellness.z2systems.com/np/clients/animalhopeandwellness/donation.jsp

 This barbaric festival needs to stop. Never underestimate the power of your voice to make change.

“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” – Barack Obama

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meal Subscription Services - Chef's Plate

Hola!

Last week I received my first shipment of Chef’s Plate – a service very similar to “Hello Fresh”, which I tried a little while ago. I received an offer through a friend who was already using this service and decided to give it a try – see below how the two compared.

The first Chef’s Plate meal was “Quinoa Meatballs” (meatless) and turned out well. It was something different which is basically one of the main points of using such a service – trying to ‘switch it up’ in the kitchen a bit. The second meal was “Vij’s Family Chicken Biryani” and it was quite delicious. 

 Ingredients for Quinoa Meatballs

Meatballs about to go into the oven...

The Biryani!

I looked into these recipe/meal subscription services a little bit more, and was happy to discover that there is actually one based in Calgary! I am going to have to try this one, because local is always better. If you’re in Canada and looking for options near you, you can check this out: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/everyday-cooking/photos/canadian-meal-subsciption-box-services/ As one might imagine, there’s more options for eastern Canada.

One other thing I will note…similar to what I did for Hello Fresh, I asked Chef’s Plate about their protein sourcing. They got back to me right away: “We work with the best suppliers to provide the freshest and most ethically and locally sourced ingredients where possible. Our proteins, with the exception of some fish/seafood are sourced from Ontario”. Honestly, I was hoping for something a bit more specific. They said that as requests such as these increase, they would possibly display this type of information in the future on their website. When I asked Hello Fresh the same question, they were able to send me two company names who they were using for their protein sources, although I have only ever purchased the veggie options from them.

I would encourage you all to ask questions like this in abundance from wherever you get your food -- whether that be through a meal subscription service, or even at your grocery stores. We deserve to know where our food is coming from, and we should try to get as much as we can from local sources. I do like the concept of these services, as I think it's a great way for people to get cooking more at home. But it is important to ensure they are sending quality ingredients as well as ethically treated animal proteins. If you're purchasing from one of these companies, ask them where the food is coming from and who their suppliers are. 


Hello Fresh
Chef’s Plate
Selection of Recipes & Plans
Choose from three plans: (Veggie, Family, Pronto). Each plan comes with three meals and there is no selection among meals under each plan. You can skip each week if you like.
Chose from two plans: 2 –person plan or Family plan. Chose 2, 3, or 4 meals for the week. 2-person plan you select from 7 possible recipes; 4 recipes for Family plan. You can skip each week if you like.
Servings
2 for pronto & veggie and either 2 or 4 for Family plan
2 servings for 2-person plan, and either 2 or 4 for Family plan
Freshness / Quality of Ingredients
Good
Good
Time to Prepare
30-40 mins
30-40 mins
Ease of Recipes
Approachable – some kitchen know-how required
Approachable – some kitchen know-how required
Customer Service
 Prompt. Helpful.
 Prompt. Helpful. Could be more specific about sourcing.
Price
$12.33/meal
$12.45/meal
Delivery
Free
Free

As you can see, there are way more similarities than differences, although the big difference is that Chef’s Plate gives you options, and Hello Fresh does not. However, I am just wondering if it’s better to not give options as far as sourcing quality products go? If you'd like to try it out yourself, use this link to get three free plates: Chef's Plate Offer

I will be trying this Calgary option out soon, called Jolly Table and will let you know how that goes! Stay tuned. 




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