Have you heard of the New York Times contest? This contest challenges people to submit essays arguing why it is ethical to eat meat – and the winner gets published.
What I find fascinating are the discussions surrounding this – I admit, I am one that loves to read comments. I like reading what people are really thinking. For example:
“I seriously doubt if any country outside the USA or Europe has ever wondered aloud if it is ethical to eat meat. Given the multitude of crises facing the world at present, doesn’t it seem a little bit silly to be a cape-wearing “crusader of the cows”?”
This reader has a good point – we are terribly privileged to even engage in such conversations. Certainly, the eat animals/don’t eat animals debate generates a lot of passion – and with passion also comes some misunderstanding of each others’ point. Engaging in conversation and raising awareness with others also require skillful balance to avoid sounding arrogant or pedantic. This is why writers such as Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Tom Philpott, and Barry Estabrook, are so effective and popular. They raise critical questions, but do so in a way that sounds like your buddy sharing something new they’ve read rather than sounding like your math teacher telling you that under no uncertain circumstances can an imaginary number be anything else but.
So it comes as no surprise as the judges for this contest are the trusted sources of: Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer and Andrew Light. But as some commenters including strong female voices, note: there are zero female judges for this contest. Why is that? Where are the women? It’s not like there aren’t leading female voices in food (uh, Joan Gussow (love her), Marion Nestle? Alice Waters? Michele Simon?)
As the Atlantic asked, “is consuming animals a feminist issue?”
What do you think?
In the meantime, here is a vegan version of the Szechuan dish, Ma Po Tofu. Speaking of women, the name of this dish is loosely translated to “Pockmarked-Face Lady’s Tofu.” There are different versions…this one is easy, not-too-spicy, and kid-friendly. It’s meat-eater-friendly, vegan-friendly, male-friendly, female-friendly…tummy-friendly.
Vegan Ma Po Tofu
1 package firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups mushroom, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
3 TB black bean sauce (more to taste)
2 TB soy sauce
Red chili flakes (season to liking)
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent.
2. Add mushrooms and saute
3. Add tofu and cook thoroughly.
4. Add black bean sauce, soy sauce, chili flakes, and salt to taste.
5. Add green onions.
6. Serve over bed of brown rice or quinoa with some greens