Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Carry it as long as you can

As many of you know or have realized, I follow a vegan diet. I would also be the first to say that I am not the healthiest vegan out there. And I'd like to change that. But that isn't the point of this post.

One time long ago, in some Quaker meeting, a Friend once asked of another Friend (I believe it was John Woolman) of the evils of slavery: (something to the effect of) When do you wish us to lay down slavery? To stop owning slaves? This Friend's response was: Carry the burden as long as you can.

These words have such an incredibly strong effect on my way of thinking, of viewing the world. You might ask why the immediate response is not "Immediately! Slavery is awful and horrible and cannot be abided any longer." It is because, I believe, personal culpability and personal ownership over a decision was very important to him. People needed to understand in their hearts that the action was wrong. He set a personal example, by refusing to draw up legal documents transferring ownership of slaves amongst a wide variety of other actions, he spoke to others of how wrong it was, he refused to be served food by slaves in certain types of cups and plates (silver and such) because of the abuse of slaves to mine that ore. (I am referencing Wikipedia, so some of this may be false)

He travelled for long periods of time and often to spread his word that slavery was wrong, that Quakers should not be participating in the trade of other human beings. It is something that Quakers pride themselves on, that they were among the first to fully oppose slavery. John Woolman was one of the first of the first.

But back to the "Carry the burden as long as you can" statement. I have started thinking recently about this phrase in conjunction with my life as a vegan. I eat in a vegan life style (I ate six eggs last week from very healthy well cared for chickens in a backyard. Sue me.). Some parts of it, though, are not quite in line with a vegan viewpoint: I still eat cheerios and honeynut cheerios, both of General Mills, which, one of my vegan books claims, infuses their delicious cereal with some kind of ingredient that either is of animal or is made from animal product. So, not vegan. I know this.

I am well aware of this. But that doesn't stop me from eating them, because, I, personally, think they are delicious and I was unwilling to sacrifice it. Today, I realized that I shouldn't be eating honey nut cheerios, especially as honey was part of the name. So I will continue to eat cheerios, but this box of honey nut? It's going to be my last. I am laying down that aspect of the burden.

Another part of my non-vegan life is knitting. I refuse to give up wool in my knitting, quite frankly. I don't find myself horrified at the use of wool and so I'm quite fine with continuing to use it. There may come a day in which I am no longer willing to condone the practices of the wool industry, but it is not today and I doubt it will be tomorrow. I am still carrying that burden, because it is not so heavy that I can no longer carry it.

That being said, I also have pictures! And a recipe! For gluten free, vegan chocolate chip cookies!

I made these this afternoon after suddenly feeling motivated to make chocolate chip cookies that happened to be gluten free and vegan. As someone who does not eat gluten free all the time, but is vegan, I found myself casting around for gluten free recipes. I only found one that listed the variety of flours to use in a recipe (as opposed to a general baking mix you can buy in a store that pre-mixes a bunch of flours together) and was not happy, as it focused too much on one type of flour, in my opinion. What I have noticed in previous observations of gluten free recipes, is that good recipes tend to have a mix of flours. So I decided to do it myself.

The cookies look really nice, like real chocolate chip cookies, which I found promising. The taste was good, quite like most chocolate chip cookies, if slightly more bitter. As normal for gluten free, the texture.. left something to be desired. It wasn't awful, but it was definitely grainy. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my attempt!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 Cup Sweet White Sorghum flour
3/4 Cup White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Chickpea flour
1/4 Cup Potato Startch
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup Earth Balance, melted
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
~3 tablespoons almond (or other non-dairy) milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Dash of cinnamon
Chocolate chips (Ghirardelli's semisweet are the only vegan ones I have access to. But whichever you have)

Now, usually, cookie doughs have you mix the liquid ingredients and the sugar first. I was so focused on finding a balance of flours that I just threw everything in together and mixed it, adding a little almond milk until it became the sticky crumbly texture that I figured was good for chocolate chip cookies.

Bake for 12-13 minutes until tops are just becoming golden. Let cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring.

For your viewing pleasure, a few dishes from ages ago: Havana beans and Rice:

 Monkey bread, deconstructed

Black beans for the beans and rice. They look purple, which I find hilarious.

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