Part I: Caryn talks about the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change and how other media outlets are reporting on it, with their own spins. Just a few days after Easter, she discussed Easter Chocolate and the Easter Lamb. She covered updates on Chocolate regarding cadmium, lead, allergens and child slaves, referring to the Chocolate Report, new information from As You Sow and ConsumerLabs.com.
Part II: Miyoko Schinner, Cheese, Cookbooks, Travel, New Sanctuary!
Miyoko has been delivering up her style of gourmet vegan cuisine to the public for decades through her many enterprises, including a restaurant, natural food company, cooking classes, lectures, and books. Her titles include the groundbreaking book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, and the most recent, The Homemade Vegan Pantry. Miyoko is the founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen, makers of artisanal vegan cheese available at key retailers and online at http://miyokoskitchen.com/. She is co-host of Vegan Mashup, a cooking show on the Create Channel and seen on PBS.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass, the host on: It’s All About Food. Thanks for joining me today. As I mentioned last week, I’m celebrating my 7th year of: It’s All About Food. If you’re new to this program, thank you. If you’re old to this program, thank you. If you’re checking in every now and then, thank you. Thank you for caring.
There’s more information out there about how health and climate change are connected, and a lot of it comes down to food. Last week, I couldn’t remember what PNAS stood for–I prepared today. It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes that there are so many acronyms out there, that every field has their own vocabulary and their own acronyms. It’s just impossible to keep up! Anyway, www.pnas.org has a great article that came out a few weeks ago, and PNAS, are you ready, stands for: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, this is not a slacker place. This is a prestigious source of information, and they published an article called, Analysis and Evaluation of the Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits of Dietary Change. You’ve probably seen many different articles coming out: U.S world report, TIME magazine–everybody’s got their own spin and say on this very impressive article. Which was put together by a number of impressive researchers from: The Department of the Future of Food, the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, and the British Hart Foundation Center on Population, Approaches for Non-communicable Disease Prevention. These are the author affiliations for this report, and there’s a lot of great information. What I wanted to talk about is how a lot of the mainstream media like Time Magazine, for example, not my favorite source for information. Although I rejoice, I rejoice when I see articles that promote the power of a plant based vegan diet. So, they reported on this PNAS article, and they entitled it, How a Vegan Diet Could Help Save The Planet. Lovely. You have to understand that they’re just looking for people to buy the magazine and to come to their site. So, anything that has a sensational title, they’re going to support. What frustrates me is that nothing is objective, and not even objective, we all have our own bent, we all have our own priorities. But, I really would like to see magazines and newspapers really dig deep into the research–and they don’t. They just kind of spin things with a sensational title, and then they move on and contradict everything they said the following week with another sensational title. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. Now maybe part of the problem is: they just don’t have the funding anymore to do any really in depth journalism. That’s really a sad thing, and part of it has to do with this wonderful internet that we all love and take advantage of, but, makes everyone a journalist and kind of lowers the price that organizations are going to pay for journalists. And a lot of us do this sort of thing for free. So, it’s really hard to know what’s real and what’s true. For example, we just saw this wonderful thing come out at www.pnas.org and everybody’s spinning on it–How eating a plant based diet can also reduce climate change. We’ve been talking about this for decades, and it’s always wonderful when more reputable organizations talk about: the power of plant foods, how it’s not only excellent for health, but it’s what’s going to save the planet. At least, save the planet as we know it. Maybe human life and a lot of the other species–the planet will always be here. Or, at least it will be here for a very long time. But Time Magazine, just a few weeks ago put out an article called, Sorry Vegans, Here’s How Meat Eating Made Us Human. They were reporting on an article that was published in nature, and it was the most ridiculous article in my mind. It was about some researchers at Harvard University, that’s impressive right? The article in Nature had all kinds of impressive charts, graphs, and lines going up and down with data. And what did they do? They had a group of people chew meat and root vegetables. They counted how many chews were required, and they determined through a variety of these studies and tests–that the meat took less chews. They just theorized, none of this is true or confirmed, it’s just kind of a fantasy idea that: since it took less chews to eat the meat than the vegetables, that maybe, hundred of thousands of years ago; that’s how we evolved and became humans. And everybody rejoices and says, “Yes! We needed meat to make us human!” And now we need to eat more meat. This is just a ridiculous concept, and this was done at Harvard! And you know what I say? I don’t care what happened 500 thousand years ago or a million years ago; I know what’s going on today. We’ve got 7 billion people on this planet and we’re cramming all of these innocent, sentient beings into filthy spaces, so that we can grow them fast and kill them fast and eat them fast. It’s a disaster, and it’s affecting our health in a negative way. It’s effecting the planet in a negative way. That’s just the simple truth, and it’s just really frustrating when you see these ridiculous headlines.
The good thing is, the word vegan is becoming more and more popular in mainstream media, they’re including it in all kind of scripts in movies, televisions, and commercials. People know about it, so we have it endure this time until we get to the next level: where they feel like they don’t have to make fun of us anymore and realize that eating plants is the best thing for all of us. Not only is it the best for our health, planet, and animals; but, it’s delicious! Every time I read a news article, they always talk about how eating plant food is boring, and I want to say: Hello it’s 2016; it is not boring. There’s many many different ways to prepare plant food, and there’s far more exciting because there are so many more kinds of plant foods and all kinds of colors. They’re really delicious and even sometimes, I just love eating vegetables and brown rice. There’s nothing wrong with is, but there’s all types of herbs, spices, walnuts, seeds, and great things to make plant foods taste great. So, I really get tired when I see those kinds of ignorant reactions that keep these myths go. But, I highly recommend checking out the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’s www.pnas.org article: Analysis and Evaluation of the Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits of Dietary Change. Don’t read the summaries in these more mainstream publications–go to the source. That’s where you’re going to get the best information, and you can make the most informed choices from the best, the original information.
Okay moving on, I want to tell you that I’m really excited about this. I mentioned this maybe last week. I’m not sure. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, my favorite doctor, he has a new book coming out this Tuesday, April 5th. It’s called, The End of Heart Disease. If you’re on his newsletter list, he recently wrote, that he thinks this book is his best, most important book ever. It’s his largest book with over 430 pages. He’s been working on it for over two years, and it’s coming out on Tuesday. Guess what? I get to talk to him on Tuesday on It’s All About Food. So I hope you join me next Tuesday for this really important program. You know, so many people have heart disease today, and it’s really frustrating when I hear friends, family, and strangers even–When their doctors, their cardiologists tell them: “You have heart disease, there’s nothing you can do about it but to take these medications.” That’s just not true, and we all need to be spreading this message on the power of plants to save our loved ones, and even our not so loved ones. Nobody should be dying of heart disease today, right? I just keep hearing more and more stories about it, and it’s very very frustrating. I look forward to the day when medical doctors understand that nutrition is a part of good health. Some of them are getting it, but then there’s this balance. They feel like we don’t want this information. We want to keep things easy and simple, so we want the pill and surgery. It’s too hard to eat healthy, and I guess that’s everyone’s choice. It’s not my choice. I pick delicious plant foods everyday.
So, last Sunday was Easter. If you’ve known me, by now you know that I am not a religious person. But, I am a foodie. I love celebrating food related to holidays. So, when people think of Easter, or when I think of Easter; I think of two quotes. One is chocolate, and I’ll tell you what the other one is in a minute. Let’s talk about chocolate for a minute. Last year, here at Responsible Eating and Living (my nonprofit), we did a video report called, The Chocolate Story. What I tried to do in that report is bring together all the different issues involving chocolate, and do you know what some of those issues are? There’s the issue of the Ivory Coast, where children are being used through child labor to harvest cocoa. The Food Empowerment Project has been outstanding in updating and producing this chocolate list, and letting us all know the vegan chocolates that are out there that do not use child slaves in harvesting their chocolate. So that’s one thing: slavery. Then, there’s lead and cadmium. There has been more reports testing different chocolates, and finding high levels of these elements in chocolate. There are a number of organizations that have been doing this. There’s an organization called, As you Sow and there’s a group called, www.consumerlabs.com. As You Sow has been publishing the tests that they are doing–I imagine they are expensive and it’s hard to test all the chocolates out there, so we can’t get all the information. Of course, individual manufacturers are supposed to be checking their own chocolate, and you know, they either are or they aren’t. If they are, they’ve discovered that their cadmium and lead levels are above what is approved by the FDA–are they going to come out and let us know? You know, when it affects the bottom line, we can’t be sure. So, there are a lot of different chocolates that have lead and cadmium, but it has nothing to do with being organic, expensive, or quality. As we hear more stories about lead in the water, for example, in Flynt, New Jersey, and who knows where else; I think you can understand how there are toxins in our chocolate and other food products. These are plant products (cocoa for example), it grows in the ground, it’s watered. The water may have contamination, the soil may be contaminated from nearby industrial plants–who knows what. Unfortunately, a lot of chocolate has lead and cadmium.
So, you have As You Sow and www.consumerlabs.com . Now, the thing about www.consumerlabs.com , is you can only get their reports if you subscribe to their website. There’s been a number of other organizations who have gotten their reports and have summarized some of the results, but they continued to update the results. I don’t subscribe to www.consumerlabs.com, maybe I should. But I don’t have the most updated results. But, if you really want to know, that might be a valuable report. So, they’re letting us know, which chocolates have high amounts of lead of cadmium, and which ones don’t.
For people who are concerned about allergens, the FDA did a study a while ago and discovered many many non-dairy chocolates had a lot of dairy in them. That has to do with the fact that it’s really hard to clean those chocolate machines, and there are companies that don’t own their own machines. So, they share it with other companies. Even though they may not use certain ingredients in their products, if somebody else uses those ingredients in their products, when they use the same machine it’s mixed together. Even if the don’t use those ingredients in their ingredients, there’s always that line in fine print that says, May contain… in this product. They have to say that because it can really have a deleterious effect if somebody has an allergic reaction to peanuts, dairy, or tree nuts. So, there are allergens, slavery, and lead and cadmium in chocolate. This is really sad, isn’t it? Because chocolate is such a beautiful food! So what we did in the chocolate report is that we tried to find the chocolates that don’t have slavery in it, lead or cadmium, or allergens. It’s really hard to know, or get a complete picture, because not all of the chocolates have been tested. I remember when we did the report, it came out to endangered species, was not ideal for allergens, but they were good for letting lead and slavery. Unfortunately, As You Sow has just reported that there are some endangered species chocolate that indeed contain: lead and cadmium. Equal Exchange, organic and fair trade Dark chocolate (very dark) 71% cocoa, has been shown to have lead and cadmium. Endangered Species chocolate has 88% lead and cadmium. Nice, isn’t it? Ghirardelli, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods, Cadbury, and Hershey’s– They’re all in there! They all have some lead and cadmium, but not all of their products–some of them. So, you may want to check out some of these websites that are doing the reports, and you could listen to our chocolate story that you can find at: Responsible Eating and Living. What do you do? I don’t know. All I know is that for Easter, I found the SJAAK chocolate, they’re out of Petaluma, California, and they’re organic. They are listed on Food and Empowerment Chocolate List that doesn’t use children to harvest the cocoa beans, and that’s good. They had some very cute little Easter chocolate that I managed to buy and get for Gary. It was really a fun little moment having Easter eggs, the Easter bunny, and they had little vegan jellybeans. And there it is! There’s the Mr. Softee food truck, just in time because they have to play while I’m doing this program.
Now the other popular Easter food is: the Easter lamb. This is a hard one, how is it we can have all these sweet, peaceful, lovely images of this sweet, precious animal. This cuddly soft lamb. And then talk about slaughtering it, eating it, and serving it up on a platter. I don’t get it, and if you could explain it to me… I’d like to hear the explanation. There are so many beautiful poems about the lamb–the peaceful lamb, the lovely lamb. And then after all the services, people go and eat lamb. Do we really think about what we’re saying and doing all the time? I don’t believe in eating lamb. Is it obvious? That is that.
Now the last thing I wanted to talk about in the first half of the program is, something I learned in 2007 when going through my cancer treatment. I was at a point where I knew I really had to dig deep and do whatever I could to save my life. Of course, that meant food. But I knew that there were some other things, and I went to visit a friend of mine in Canada who did some special techniques, some of them were neurolinguistic, some he did some Reiki, and some other things I think he created himself. But, one of the things we did that was really powerful, was talking to my body. Back then, the way we did it was: he said he was going to ask me some questions, but he wasn’t asking me. He was asking the parts of my body that had cancer. We set up a way for me to answer, or my body to answer: Yes or no. You know, this may sound crazy, but it was so powerful. So I sat and relaxed, and he said, “Okay, let me know how you’re going to respond with yes.” And I think one of my fingers twitched. So, we decided that for the yes answer: my finger would twitch. And for the No answer, my eye would blink. Something like that, and then he proceeded to ask a number of questions. I did my best to be in a relaxed state and not anticipate an answer. I didn’t want my conscience, or I didn’t know how to explain it. But, I didn’t want my mind to answer, but I wanted my body to answer. It worked, and the answer were profound–I learned a lot. I don’t use this technique very often, but I found it can be very useful, very powerful, and it can be very scary. However, I believe that our body knows everything about us. I believe our bodies have all the answers to why we feel the way we do, the physical things that are bothering us. We have all the answers inside of us. The question is, do we really want all those answers? Because some of them can be scary.
So, as you may know, I had the flu 3 weeks ago–can’t believe it. But I did. It lasted a week with fever, and then I had this cough that lasted over two weeks, and I’m really kind of at the end of it. It was a couple of days ago, I don’t know, 4 or 5 days ago. I just had a feeling of being crappy. I was in my meditation, and when I was done with my meditation, feeling all relaxed and comfortable, I said okay I’m going to do this asking my body, “What it means right now, to heal, and get back to my strong, vital, energy state.” And right away, I got this answer: papaya, pineapple, basil, and kiwi. And I thought to my myself, okay… this is either crazy…. Or it’s not… But I’m not going to judge; I like these foods. Gary and I went out and we got: pineapple, papaya, basil, kiwi. You can look at my What Vegans Eat post, we made this beautiful salad of papaya, pineapple, and kiwi. And then I made an eggplant dish with fresh basil in it–everything was delicious. I ate it. I felt better! Now, I know that the placebo effect is really powerful. And who knows, maybe there was a placebo effect in there. But, I really recommend this technique of listening to your body, getting in a relaxed state, listen to your breath, listen to your body, and ask a specific question. You may be surprised what the answer is! You can ask your whole body or specific body parts. It can be really really profound, and let me know how it goes. If you discover something, I would love to hear all about it. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Got it? Very good.
The last thing that I wanted to talk about in this part, before we get to the second part with my guest I can’t wait to speak with is Socca Wraps. Have you made socca? Socca is a crepe made from garbanzo bean flour and water. It’s like the easiest thing. If you feel like you’re not very good at making pancakes, flipping, and whatever; if you have a decent pan and spatula, there are tricks in the trade. It’s a very easy kind of crepe to make. The chickpea flour, the garbanzo bean flour is a very sturdy flour. I like to spice it up, and I made a bunch (maybe like 10-12)– they make phenomenal wraps. So, you can go to Responsible Eating and Living and check out my What Vegans Eat Post: Day 410, and see what we did with the wraps–really good.
Transcribed by Victoria Nguyen, 7/3/2016
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s move on to the second part of the program because my guest is here and I can’t wait to talk to Miyoko Schinner. Miyoko, welcome to It’s All About Food.
Miyoko Schinner: Hey, how are you, Caryn?
Caryn Hartglass: Good. You know I’m really grateful that you’re spending this half hour with me because you are the most amazing person out there these days doing a gazillion things. I don’t know how you find the time.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, Gosh. [Laughter]. Like everybody else including you I’m sure, so anyway.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, yes. Anyway, so we all want to talk about because you’re just doing everything and we want to get to all of that. Ah, I think right now the things that most people are excited about is your cheese. I noticed VegNews on the front of their website is talking about your new vegan mozzarella. Let’s talk about that.
Miyoko Schinner: Ah. Oh, yeah. The mozzarella is fantastic. You know, I’m really excited about it because it’s our first truly meltable cheese, but what makes it different from all the other meltable cheeses on the market, well there’s several reasons: one is that it’s something that you can truly enjoy either cold, sliced in a caprese salad or in a sandwich or melted on a pizza or in a sandwich and the melting ability of this cheese is absolutely phenomenal. You can’t tell it apart from regular cheese. If you put it on a pizza like a margarita pizza it really looks like fresh Buffalo mozzarella. It bubbles, it browns, it’s truly melty and gooey. It’s absolutely lovely. Once again it’s like all of our other cheeses in that it is a cultured cheese so we add cultures to it which is what gives it the unique flavor of cheese rather than adding cheese flavor to it. So we make it in a very traditional mozzarella type of way. We also brine it in brine which is salt water to give it extra flavor so it really is a bit of artistry involved in making this cheese and I’m really thrilled that we are able to produce this one.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well everybody’s excited about it so this is a great thing and I’m glad it’s out there so we can pretty much get it at like Whole Foods or where can people find it?
Miyoko Schinner: Yeah, you can buy it at different Whole Foods stores throughout the country and a lot of independent supermarkets. Natural Food Source also carries it. Have we sent you any, Caryn?
Caryn Hartglass: Not the mozzarella.
Miyoko Schinner: Okay. We need to send that to you. Okay.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes. In fact I was talking to Gary earlier and he said, “Are we getting any cheese?” [Laughter]
Miyoko Schinner: Okay. Gosh, I got to put that order in with my marketing director. I am so sorry. I’m going to make sure that you get some next week. So, we’ll send you some.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh. Wow, I’m a winner and you know what, I’ll take that like as a birthday present. My birthday is in April, so ah.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, good. Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: That’ll be like the beginning of my birthday celebration.
Miyoko Schinner: What do you think of having a birthday pizza?
Caryn Hartglass: They’ll be lots of good things we’ll be making with it that’s for sure. Whew.
Miyoko Schinner: Absolutely, yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: All right, so here’s something I want to ask you. Ah, you started making vegan food available for the public with a restaurant in San Francisco a long time ago you started manufacturing food a long time ago then you took some time off you raised your family you came back. What’s different now?
Miyoko Schinner: Well, the whole market place is different the whole world is different. I think people are waking up to the necessity of changing the way they eat because they’re beginning to realize the huge impact it makes not only on their own health but on the planet on animals. I think when I first became a vegetarian or vegan back in the ’70′s and then vegan in the ’80′s, you know most people who went vegan did it for health reasons. They’re really wasn’t that much information out there about the environment nor about the unethical treatment of dairy cows so people who didn’t want to hurt animals basically just didn’t eat them. They were vegetarian but unless you were really, really worried about lactose or something you know a lot of people just didn’t go vegan and just they didn’t understand why. Today people understand why. There’s so much information out there thanks to the internet and so many wonderful books and publications. All the information that’s out there today fits almost you know it’s impossible when you look at the facts straight in the eye and realize the suffering that happens to you know the whole veal industry exists because of the dairy industry for example when you realize the cruelty that dairy cows have to undergo in order to be able to provide milk for us you know it’s really hard to continue using dairy products. I mean, it’s hard not to go vegan when you really, really get it so I think that’s really the main difference is that the world is just so much more ready to make that transition. The world, mankind, humankind has evolved is changing slowly and surely towards a more compassionate life. You know, I really do believe that we as a species are evolving for the better and this is sort of the last hurdle that we have to get over is I mean, we are treating other humans better, I know there’s still a lot of suffering in the world and a lot of wrong doing, but just overall compared to, you know, the crusades [laughter] or something. We’ve made progress.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. I’m thinking of a couple of things I want to say.
Miyoko Schinner: I’m sorry. I’m kind of rambling, aren’t I? [Laughter]
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. I want to talk just briefly about those cows, those precious cows. There are still people that think if they’re buying organic milk, organic dairy that they think that the cows are treated better and maybe it is some degree they have a little more space maybe they’re getting some better food, but they’re still being raped period.
Miyoko Schinner: They’re still being raped. They’re babies are still taken away from them upon birth so that we can in turn drink their milk. So, they’re having their children abducted immediately and they are very emotional creatures and sometimes they chase after their calves. There’s lots of stories and videos you can watch about that. Not only that, they’re still foddered. It’s not like they spend the rest of their life grazing in the grass once their milk production goes down. Once their milk production goes down, they’re no longer needed.
Caryn Hartglass: They’re hamburger.
Miyoko Schinner: And so they go off, yeah, they become hamburger.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Miyoko Schinner: So. It’s almost worse than if you’re just a beef cow. At least, you know, the cows you see grazing in the grass outside are typically beef cows and if you see a cow with a calf then they’re usually beef and they look like they’re happy and they probably are for a couple of years until the slaughter truck comes along to carry them off to the slaughter house. So, but dairy cows tend to live most of their lives indoors because they have to be. In fact, it’s not just dairy cows, it’s the same thing with goats. I live sort of in the center of artisanal cheese production. There’s lots and lots of very high end artisanal creameries where I live and I was just at a trade show last week where I was my table the Miyoko’s Kitchen table was right next to a high end goat cheese table [laughter] and the woman was really nice and I was chatting with her about goats because I started a little rescue little sanctuary at my house. I have a little farm and I have goats I’ve been rescuing so I struck up a conversation I asked her you know, “What do you do with your male goats?” She said, “Oh, you know they sell them usually when their babies for meat or whatever.” She made kind of a strange comment she goes, “Well you know goats are very picky eaters.” Which I know you know it’s not true that they eat anything you know for example they don’t eat grass and I’m like, “What do you mean they don’t eat grass?”, you know, my goats eat grass they’re grazing in the grass all the time they also graze on grouse on trees especially willow and all kinds of things like that but they definitely are out there chomping on tall green fresh spring grass and I kind of looked at her quizzically wondering and she goes, “Oh, you know but I mean out goats they only go out three or four times a year and I said, “What do you mean they only go out three or four times a year?” and she’s like, “Well, you know they have to be indoors cause they’re for milking.” So that’s why she doesn’t even though she’s had goats for thirty years she doesn’t know that they actually do eat grass because her goats are indoors I mean this is how the industry operates. These poor goats that are chevre makers are confined to a live indoors except for three or four times a year so that’s the industry and then their babies of course are taken away at birth and sold for whatever for slaughter or whatever else maybe Four H if they’re lucky so.
Caryn Hartglass: This is the romance around goat cheese, goat butter and goat milk.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, there’s so much romance around yeah goat cheese and it’s not very romantic when you see the lives they lead.
Caryn Hartglass: The goat milk molecule is supposed to be more like the human milk but it’s not without exploitation as you just described.
Miyoko Schinner: Well, why don’t we just have mom’s donate milk you know like human moms and we can start making breast milk cheese.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure and pay them for it.
Miyoko Schinner: That would be cruelty free.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter]
Miyoko Schinner: Right? I mean and you know and moms could get paid for contributing their milk and they what would their babies eat?
Caryn Hartglass: But you know the natural reaction is what? Ewwwww.
Miyoko Schinner: Ewwwwww. It’d be ewwwww and then you know then what do the babies eat? Well, the babies would then have to drink formula and then the people would say, “Well that’s really cruel that’s unnatural but that’s exactly what happens to these poor dairy cattle and goats.
Caryn Hartglass: You know, I’m wondering, you said that your Miyoko’s Kitchen your cheese factory is near some other artisanal creameries and that must put a lot of cultures in the air that all of you share.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, you know, there’s cultures everywhere in the air. It doesn’t matter where you are and there’s cultures on apples and lettuce and just about everything. There’s basically the cultures are lactic acid and bacilli – they’re everywhere. They’re everywhere to be found in the air on fruits and vegetables it’s all over the place but you know it’s a small batch artisanal operation you know we have clean rooms and air filtration all of this. They all operate the same way and we buy nondairy cultures from proprietary blend that we buy that we source that are made in a lab they’re grown in a lab so we’re not making but as they ferment as they age they do capture additional cultures or bacteria or yeast from the air which of course gives it a unique flavor and that’s the case wherever you are in the world if I make cheese here and then take it and make it in let’s say France in a certain area it could taste slightly different because of whatever is present in the air.
Caryn Hartglass: Now speaking of France, the last time we spoke I think your cheese company was just starting and you told me that you were working with these French cheese makers and they were actually becoming curious about what you were doing. So, is there an update on that story?
Miyoko Schinner: Well, the people that I was working with were sort of consultants who helped us design our aging room. So, you know, they kind of played their part. We’re not working with them right now. So, they were very intrigued by what we were doing. In fact, they were teaching a cheese class and giving some lectures on cheese at a cheese festival locally a big one and they thought it’d be interesting to sample our cheese. So, we sent it to them and I don’t know if I told you this story or not but somehow there was a mix-up and our cheese got served at the wrong event not the one where there were going to be you know deliberately talking about it but it got served at the regular cheese event not the alternative cheese event but it got served at the regular cheese event and just served alongside all of the other cheeses and presented to people as dairy cheese.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm Hmmm.
Miyoko Schinner: And no one knew the difference course people loved it so there you go and these weren’t vegans you know they weren’t vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: And it happened by mistake or maybe the universe wanted that to happen. That’s a great story.
Miyoko Schinner: That’s right. That’s exactly right. Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So, the cheese is really good and I don’t know but I think history is going to look back on you Miyoko for really doing some groundbreaking work in terms of some plant based cheeses.
Miyoko Schinner: Well, that is very, very generous of you to say that.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s true. I mean a lot of people have worked on cheese but I think you’ve done more than anybody in my personal opinion.
Miyoko Schinner: Well, thank you very much.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm. Hmmm [laughter]
Miyoko Schinner: I’ll let you record history, okay?
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter] Oh, history, if we’re here in the future, I hope so, but that will just require everything moving from dairy cheese to plant based cheese amongst a few other things.
Miyoko Schinner: It’s going to happen, because the alternative isn’t viable and it’s not sustainable, so.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right and now
Miyoko Schinner: And we’re running out of land, we’re running out of resources, we’re running out of all sorts of things that will make us history. We’ll just sort of self destruct eventually. I don’t think we’re too far off from that.
Caryn Hartglass: No. I want to talk more about deliciousness. Can we talk about butter?
Miyoko Schinner: Yeah. Oh, butter. Oh, yes. Slaughter me in vegan butter. You know, it’s delicious.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter].
Miyoko Schinner: We just came out with a cultured, European style butter and you’re in New York so Whole Foods carries both our mozzarella and our butter. We start out with cashew milk. We make our own cashew milk and we add cultures to it. We ferment the cashew milk so it develops this sort of tangy flavor and then we combine it with organic coconut oil of course and some other ingredients, too, and then we churn it and so it’s a whole new turn on butter and it’s shaped like butter it looks like butter like a European style butter and you can do whatever you want that you would normally do with dairy butter with this butter whether slathering on your pancakes or you know on toast as thick as cheese or you can melt it, you can whip it to make butter cream. It browns like butter which is margarine doesn’t brown but this does brown. It’s absolutely lovely and we’ve won a couple of awards for it. We were at the natural products expo which is the largest natural products trade show in the world. We were there a couple of weeks ago and we won the coveted NEXTY award and this is an award for innovation, innovative new products and we won out of 500 nominations.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, everybody! Give Miyoko a big round of applause. Whew … That’s awesome!
Miyoko Schinner: So we were thrilled. So, yeah, the butter did great.
Caryn Hartglass: So, now is the butter you’re selling similar at all to the recipes you have in the homemade vegan pantry?
Miyoko Schinner: It is similar. It’s better because the one in my book is not fermented. It’s not cultured. It’s kind of a quickie recipe for someone to make at home. The one we make here is a three day process so that gives you an idea of there’s an extra layer of flavor that is hard to capture when you just do it at home unless you go through the whole fermentation process so you know there’s a lot of wonderful things you can do at home. You can definitely replicate almost everything we do you can do at home if you want to take the trouble to do so. You know just like with any good dairy cheese, you can make it at home, too if you take the time and the effort and have the proper equipment so we just want to make it easy, I mean, not everybody wants to spend a month making cheese so we want to make it for you. It’s the same thing with butter.
Caryn Hartglass: Now the cultures they’re actually good for us.
Miyoko Schinner: They are. They’re lactic acid bacteria so there basically you know we like to call probiotics or what not. They’re healthy for the gut and you know fermentation is one of the keys to health. Man has been fermenting food for thousands and thousands of years so definitely any food that contains a fermented component is going to be good for you.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, let’s move on to travel. Tell me about what’s going on with you and travel and how people can get involved and where that’s going to be and very soon.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, okay, well actually the big trip that I’m taking this year, you know, I’ll be at various events, I’ll be at Marshall, TX this weekend speaking at Health Fest and I’ll be in Hawaii later this year speaking for the Hawaii Vegetarian Society and I’ll be at Summerfest in Pennsylvania in July, but the big trip that there’s actually only two spots left for people.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Miyoko Schinner: Is the trip to Italy in Puglia, which is the heel of Italy. It’s a very remote sort of rural area. I’ll be going there as part of the Vegano Italiano in September 25th to the 1st. It’s really a culinary tour into the heart of Italy we’ll be going into places that are off the beaten track spending the entire day at a winery we’ll be going to farms and picking stuff and cooking it together. Learning how to make fresh pasta just feasting lunch and dinner on just delights of the region which are largely vegan because it’s an agricultural area where they’ve been eating largely vegan foods for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years so that’s going to be a phenomenal trip and if you’re interested you know you can just google the Gana Italiano or called greenearthtravel.com or veganoitaliano.com. If you can’t make the trip with me, Julieanna Hever, the plant based dietician, is leading a tour in July and Fran Costigan the diva of vegan chocolate desserts will be doing her own tour in Sicily in October so there’s opportunities for people to come and participate but I hope you’ll be able to join me two more spots. You know two of your listeners.
Caryn Hartglass: Two more spots.
Miyoko Schinner: Are available love to have you join me.
Caryn Hartglass: Will you be bringing any of your cheeses for this event?
Miyoko Schinner: I will. In fact we’re going to be doing a wine and cheese sampling at the winery that we’re going to be spending a day at so I’ll be bringing cheese and we’ll be doing a very, very leisurely wine and cheese tasting along with tasting many other things of course but it’s an area where everyone makes their own olive oil. People make their own wine. Everyone grows their own vegetables. People live today much as they have for hundreds and hundreds of years so you get a real insiders perspective of Italy.
Caryn Hartglass: Really beautiful, lovely, romantic, delicious.
Miyoko Schinner: Absolutely. It’s all about food. You know that’s really what.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter]. It’s all about food and not about convenience.
Miyoko Schinner: When you can have good quality food. Yeah. I’ve never heard that before. It’s all about food.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s all about food.
Miyoko Schinner: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: We have to okay sure you can go and travel to a place but you have to appreciate the time, the effort, the love. They’ve required quality and nothing artificial and cheap and assembly line. This is art and it’s worth it.
Miyoko Schinner: It really is. It really is and that’s where we have to go back as a species as humans we have to go back to the way we’ve been eating for hundreds and hundreds of years really I mean you know and just really get in touch with the foods that really matter to us which is pure and clean.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Now, you mentioned the goats and this sanctuary so tell us a little bit more about that. How many goats do you have and where do they come from?
Miyoko Schinner: Well, we moved to a ranch last summer with this crazy idea that we’d start rescuing animals and the first animals we rescued were two goats from Animal Place which is a wonderful sanctuary in Grass Valley. In fact, we’re going to be doing a fundraiser for Animal Place at my house on May 22nd so anybody wants to attend that be sure to just go to animalplace.org but anyway so we got these two goats and they were strays they were males they’re of a breed that specifically known for dairy production but the males of course don’t produce milk so they’re usually as I mentioned either sold off or sometimes abandoned if they don’t grow big enough for meat so anyways these two were abandoned in a field that’s where they came from and then I have another goat and another sheep that are in love with each other Bennie and Joon.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter].
Miyoko Schinner: Named after that Johnnie Depp movie, but anyway Bennie and Joon are two odd ball different species that love each other and they were raised in a dog run isolated in a dog run without any grass or anything. They really had never walked more than four feet and like they spent six of their years. They’re about six years old so we rescued them from Farm Sanctuary or not rescued them from Farm Sanctuary rescued them and then we adopted them from Farm Sanctuary.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Miyoko Schinner: And then we also have three pigs.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm. Hmmm.
Miyoko Schinner: Three pot bellied pigs that were once again purchased by somebody as pets and then the man died and then they had to find a new home. Then we have seventeen chickens including two roosters. One transgender rooster one rooster that everybody thought including Farm Sanctuary thought was a hen and after nine months all of a sudden displaying rooster like qualities and then turned into a full blown rooster about you know five or six months after they normally you know become roosters or reveal those rooster like characters. So that was sort of unusual. We’re going to be adopting more animals we have plenty of room. We have lots of acres so and it’s wonderful. I have wonderful volunteers that have stepped up and helped me, you know, when I travel or what not, so. Animals are getting attention and lots of acres to roam.
Caryn Hartglass: And where is this?
Miyoko Schinner: We are in West Marin which is kind of north of San Francisco.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm. Hmmm.
Miyoko Schinner: And it’s absolutely lovely and I don’t know, I find so much peace being with the animals like I’ve never felt. I could spend hours and hours and hours and when I’m with the animals you’re just sort of in the moment with them connecting and you’re not thinking about anything else and all your worldly troubles just go away because nothing really matters except, you know. I don’t know giving them another willow branch to chomp on.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I was just talking earlier about the Easter holiday and one of the things that’s important for many people during Easter after they’ve gone through their services and talked about the precious, peaceful lamb is to go and eat lamb and.
Miyoko Schinner: Isn’t that strange.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughter]. Isn’t that strange.
Miyoko Schinner: I just don’t get it. I just don’t get the disconnect at all and you know where I am. I’m in farmland so we’re surrounded, the name of our little sanctuary is Rancho Compassion.
Caryn Hartglass: Awww.
Miyoko Schinner: But, we’re surrounded by all these ranches with everything from. There are lots of horse ranches, but lots of lots of cattle, sheep. There just all over the place. Down the street you see the little veal crates. You know the little white huts that you didn’t know what they were before if you every drive to the country you see this little white little huts that are lined up one after the other. They house individual veal calves that are very sad and lonely and are just waiting their day of slaughter so to be your dinner.
Caryn Hartglass: Just another human invention so anybody can google veal calf, what do you call them, containers or
Miyoko Schinner: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: You can get pictures of them it’s just another obscene human creation.
Miyoko Schinner: Yes. It’s absolutely awful.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay and you can see, you know, up in the West Marin area.
Miyoko Schinner: Oh, yeah you see them and you know sometimes I just feel like pulling over and going and rescuing one of them.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, of course, then they would put you in jail.
Miyoko Schinner: They would, so I just keep hoping that one of them will escape or something and be on the side of the road and I can put it in my car and drive off or something.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, yeah, well I mean that’s again where money could really help because if we all could we could buy up all of those animals and save them but then they’d probably just artificially inseminate more and make more.
Miyoko Schinner: Make more. Yeah, yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so the trick is to stop eating them and one way to do that is to move from dairy cow based and goat milk based cheese over to the plant based nut milk based cheeses and that brings us back to Miyoko’s Kitchen. There’s lots of choices. In addition to the mozzarella are there some new flavors that have come out recently?
Miyoko Schinner: No, the mozzarella and the butter are two big, regular SKUs that we just introduced. We’ll probably do more limited edition ones. Last year we had kind of a very small, limited edition run of a new flavor almost every single month just for fun and we’ll probably start that up again. We’re growing so fast. We haven’t put any energy into new flavors at this time, but we definitely, we have a lot of other new retail products that we have in the pipeline for introduction later this year and next year so keep tuned and if you can’t get it at your current natural foods store just ask for it. We’ve got nationwide distribution now so if it’s not near you now. It will be soon so just talk to your store if you can’t find our product.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s good. Is there a favorite flavor cheese that a
Miyoko Schinner: For me?
Caryn Hartglass: For you and your customers.
Miyoko Schinner: Well, definitely mozzarella is selling like crazy. There’s pictures all over the internet of people making the pizza with our mozzarella so that’s really popular. The butter also is phenomenal and then in terms of the artisanal cheeses, my personal favorites are probably the Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmm. Hmm. Love that.
Miyoko Schinner: Which is the aged cheese. Yeah, I love the Smoked Farm House and then the War Valley in a Fig Leaf which is a seasonal item. We’re out of stock now ‘cause we ran out of fig leaves and we’ll start producing it again probably in May when fig leaves come back in season.
Caryn Hartglass: So, I’m just curious you started this what two, three years ago now?
Miyoko Schinner: No, September of 2014.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay.
Miyoko Schinner: It’s been a year and a half.
Caryn Hartglass: Not even two years.
Miyoko Schinner: No. Oh, gosh.
Caryn Hartglass: Have the flavors developed at all or they’re pretty much the same for the cheeses and do you have some that you’re aging a little longer or not really?
Miyoko Schinner: Well, you know that’s the issue right now. We’re actually looking for a larger facility to move into.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure.
Miyoko Schinner: Because we have a limited aging capacity and we can only age so many thousands of units per month in our aging room and that limits our production. I would love to age, we do have cheeses that we have aged just as an experiment for several months and they are absolutely phenomenal and we’d love to be able to introduce a line of cheeses like Parmesan and things that are aged for you know eight to twelve months. We don’t have the capacity right now. So, right now we have to kind of I would say the cheeses that we release are on the young side meaning that they could be aged longer, but we have such demand that you know we’re pushing them out a little bit sooner than we would like to but they’re still delicious and if you ever get a young cheese like one of the farm houses that seems not quite as hard as you like you know wrap in wax paper and keep it in your refrigerator. It will actually continue to age in your fridge and get harder. Some of the cheeses I’ve had in my fridge for over a year and they can become like a parmesan and you can grate it very finely over pasta or something so.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow, that’s exciting.
Miyoko Schinner: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: We have a lot to look forward to so Miyoko, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food and for everything that you’re doing. For cheese and butter and everything. This is really wonderful. Thank you.
Miyoko Schinner: Thank you so much for having me on your show.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Take care. Be well. Travel safely.
Miyoko Schinner: Okay, you too. Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay.
Miyoko Schinner: All right, bye bye.
Caryn Hartglass: That was Miyoko Schinner and you can check out more at miyokoskitchen.com and if you haven’t tried her cheeses and now her butter and mozzarella cheese I hope you do that soon. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Join me at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Send me e-mails at email@example.com and remember have a delicious week. Bye bye! [music].
Transcribed by Nanette Gagyi, 5/7/2016