Charles Horn, Meat Logic

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charles-hornPart I: Charles Horn, Meat Logic. Charles Horn is the author of Meat Logic: Why Do We Eat Animals?  Charles is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer with credits including Fugget About It, Robot Chicken, and Robot Chicken: Star Wars. He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, and holds five degrees in engineering and mathematics.
 
 
 
Part II: Caryn talks about her 3 day trip to Boston and all the wonderful food discoveries she made. Then she talks about the Linden Trees that are in bloom in NYC and the tea that can be made from it’s fragrant blossoms.

TRANSCRIPTION PART I:

Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass, it’s time for It’s All About Food. Here we are, it’s July 1, 2014. Wow. I’m saying wow because here in New York City, we just got through a beautiful month of June. Everyday was an incredible surprise for me because I don’t think there was any humidity this month or not much of it in my memory of June is a hot painful one. It’s just been delicious. Do you not agree with me? Back in 2002 to 2006 I organized every summer in June, a vegan festival. It was a big one. It was on the campus of Lincoln center, it was called Taste of Health. Maybe some of you remember it. It was a wonderful event but every time we had it, it was hot. So many people complained about the heat and the humidity. I picked June back then because it was available but also wanted to have the less risk of rain and it never did rain for those events. Just thinking back on those hot humid days and just getting through this delicious month of June, I am so grateful and how do we continue to have wonderful weather like this? Well, let’s see what July will bring. We’ll talk a little bit more about that later. Now, I want to talk about food, my favorite subject with my guest today, Charles Horn. He’s the author of Meat Logic: Why do we Eat Animals? He’s an Emmy nominated writer and producer with credits including Forget About It, Robot Chicken, and Robot Chicken: Star Wars. He has a PHD of electrical engineering from Princeton University, and holds 5 degrees in engineering and mathematics. Charles how are you doing today?

Charles Horn: Good how are you?

Caryn Hartglass: Good! So we’re going to talk about your book and whatever else we feel like talking about in the next half hour or so. You have five degrees in engineering and mathematics and I’m sure you’re a logical guy.

Charles Horn: Hahah. Well, I try to be.

Caryn Hartglass: Was that some of what inspired you to write Meat Logic because your mind thinks the way it does? Or is it trained to think the way it does?

Charles Horn: Well I guess that’s the case. How it started was, I was watching a lot of people who argue on Facebook.

Caryn Hartglass: Hahah. Oh gosh, there’s a lot of violence on Facebook.

Charles Horn: Yeah, and they would just have the same kinds of arguments that they would just repeat over and over again and kind of end in the same ways. Then I was thinking, “Why isn’t there a place, why is this done already? Why isn’t this a place you can go and have this?” So that’s how I sort of got the idea for the book. In fact it started off being something completely different because I have a background now in comedy as well. Originally, I was going to make it a comedic book.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmhm!

Charles Horn: And I started actually kind of doing that. I would answer the same types of questions, but do it in a comedic way.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah

Charles Horn: It became clear pretty quick that while it could be funny, it really wouldn’t be affective because the reader would take this as an attack. I would be writing for the wrong audience if I were to do it in a comedic way. So it became clear that I actually couldn’t do the comedic approach. I sort of had to go more straightforward logical approach. People have been trained to think a certain way biased on our society for thousands of years.

Caryn Hartglass: Yup.

Charles Horn: So we’re at this level where we can’t even think properly on this subject.

Caryn Hartglass: Yup. You can’t think properly, that’s a good one.

Charles Horn: Yeah, so that’s what it sort of became about. It became sort of just, no like, “Hey you’re wrong” kind of thing, but just “Hey let’s think about this for a second.” Let’s not tackle your question itself, but let’s tackle how you’re thinking about the problem. Maybe I can illustrated, like here’s a way of looking at it that’s different, and here’s a way of looking at it compared to different situations where you already know how to think better.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think this book is really helpful for people who are already there and vegan and need to have some good comeback arguments when they are posed with these things that we hear over and over and over again. So we can use this as a starting point. All of the things you mentioned in the book, we’ll probably go over some of them, we hear them over and over. Sometimes we don’t have the right response or we don’t know what the right response is. Sometimes, even if we hear some of the things over and over, it’s still hits us. We’re dumbfounded when we hear it. Like really? That reminds me, I was at a book-signing event maybe a month ago, at Moo Shoes, which is a vegan shoe store in Manhattan. The owners of the shoe store are two lovely sisters, and they are very generous with their space. There’s a lot of signings and vegan events there. I was there for Gene Stone’s newest book he co-authored, Awareness; I think it’s called. I’m just walking in and scoping out that I know and checking out the free samples of vegan food. I over heard this guys say “oh really? Where do you get your protein?” And I thought, this guy has got to be kidding right? We’re at a vegan event and mostly every one there is vegan. So I looked at him because I just passed him and said, “You’re not serious right?” It turns out he was. He was a friend of the author. He was not vegetarian and he was sincerely asking where do you get your protein. You didn’t talk about that in your book obviously. It’s such an over done question. But we never know where the questions are going to be asked or where they’re going to be. It’s good to have the answers. So thank you for providing some very logical responses.

Charles Horn: Well, thank you for saying that. You’re right the protein question is something that…. The one type of response would give them the explanation of “hey here’s a list of all the different plant based to where you can get your protein.” I sort of wanted to take a broader step then that. I’ll point you to a book that has more info about vegan nutrition. I wanted to talk about a broader issue about… you know a lot of people aren’t ready to believe things. So we could say, “here’s where you could get your protein.” And think that we are done with the question, but we’re actually not. There’s still a block on their end where they do not believe us in anyway. So I kind of wanted to tackle those questions. Those hypothetical questions of what if it were true that we actually needed to eat animals. How would it change how we go about things? By tacking that type of broader question, I kind of wanted to show them that in a sense that even if you were hypothetically right, you’re still thinking about it in the wrong way. So I wanted to get them thinking that it’s not vegan vs. status quo. You have no status quo. It doesn’t exist. Whatever you’re going to think, you’re going to think different at this point. So I kind of wanted to address those things.

Caryn Hartglass: In a number of chapters you end with a summary and use the abusive boyfriend as a comparison. Can you give examples of that or why you decided to use that guy? You know, there are some abusive girlfriends out there too.

Charles Horn: There are, but it’s more well known.

Caryn Hartglass: yeah there are more abusive boyfriends out there than girlfriends.

Charles Horn: Yeah. I kind of wanted to point out that some of the things that people say, if you actually analyze them, and you really take them apart, the person is basically saying, “I’m only hurting you because I love you so much.” Think about that for a second. This is exactly the abusive boyfriend situation you know? I kind of wanted people to see that this is what you’re saying.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s so hard. It’s so hard for them to see that.

Charles Horn: Yeah!

Caryn Hartglass: Very hard, which is why we need so many books, so many restaurants, and so many more cookbooks. People need to hear this information front and center, and hear it all the time. It’s improving, but they need to be bombarded with this information from so many different angles.

Charles Horn: Yes, that’s absolutely true. Most of the time people don’t really have to think about it, because it’s the social norm. It’s tough for us vegans. We want to form them to think about it, but that puts us in the situation of being thought as the aggressor. It’s a tough situation where they take life around them as normal, but then never forced to think about his.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you brought that up. I wanted to talk about the image that many of us have of being preachy. You talked a little bit about it in the book. It’s hard not to sound preachy. It’s hard not to sound smug, even if you’re presenting logic that seems so obvious. It still sounds to those who don’t agree, that we’re the high and mighty.

Charles Horn: Yeah that’s very true. I try very hard in the book to not be that type. I would constantly rewrite it if I felt that it was going in that direction. But yeah we’re basically going to be in that situation because they willfully don’t want to think about this. The only way to change is forcing them to think about this. So you’re in a dilemma. It’s the same thing that other social justice issues went through in the past where people didn’t like them, but now we consider them normal and heroes, you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Right. George Washington was a terrorist.

Charles Horn: Exactly.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, hindsight. To know what people will think about us in 50, 100, or even 20 years.

Charles Horn: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: I look forward to that, but I don’t know if I’ll know. Hahah. So I’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t know about you, and I started as a teenager. I was a bit abrasive in my younger days. I worked as an engineer for 20 years in a semi-conductor industry. In any opportunity that I could, I was preaching about the power for vegetables. I was never shy. I learned that the softer, more loving, compassionate approach works better. I tend not to preach officially, when I’m out eating with people. I don’t bring it up, I made it a personal thing with myself, I don’t bring it up. But everyone who knows me, know what I’m about. They all feel guilty or something when we’re eating together. They bring it up. They bring up a question. I was having lunch with some people the other day. One of them said, “I don’t know understand. What’s wrong with eating eggs if a chicken just leaves it? What’s wrong with eating it? ” And it just started a whole conversation. I’m open when people want to ask a question. But what I find is that a lot of people that are eating animals are either subconsciously or consciously uncomfortable with it. And they have to talk about it.

Charles Horn: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. I think you’re right in saying that, just the fact that we kind of exist is something that make them feel awkward. A lot of people find that when they actually go vegan, it’s important to find other vegans because a lot of people just can’t deal with it. You need those other people. I’m sure you must have friends who’ve stopped inviting you to things.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Charles Horn: As if you’re going to their home and pointing fingers, you know? It’s funny, but there’s that sense of an awkward situation.

Caryn Hartglass: I think that a bigger part of that is that most people, at least the people that I know who are really busy or a two person family, they don’t know how to prepare food. Any kind of food. They’re use to eating out or bringing in. My partner Gary and I are both into cooking our own food. We post a lot of recipes in my non-profit website: ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com. People are intimidated by us, vegan or not. We know how to make food. So many people don’t which is why when then know people who are vegan, they don’t even know what’s in their food to know what to eliminate.

Charles Horn: Yeah, that’s true too. I’m actually not in the same case as you. I’m a guy that doesn’t know how to cook very well.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, most people are like that today.

Charles Horn: Yeah, exactly.

Caryn Hartglass: so tell me, where do you go to eat and what do you eat?

Charles Horn: well, I’m lucky that I live in Los Angeles. There’s a margining number of restaurants and it’s wonderful. I actually was a long time vegetarian. Only two years ago I finally went vegan. I find that my palette has expanded enormously.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s just amazing and I laugh every time I hear it.

Charles Horn: it’s like we put ourselves in these boxes and by finally making a change, you kind of take that opportunity by saying, “Well now I’m giving myself permission to try all these new things.” And I would just rule those things out before. But now it’s like “Hey this is great, I’ll just try these new things.”

Caryn Hartglass: When you don’t have the crutch of grading salty fatty cheese on everything, all of a sudden your taste buds get clean and you’re open to new flavors. Now you talk a little bit about the excuse that people give to themselves whether they’re vegetarian or flexitarian. What were you telling yourself when you were vegetarian?

Charles Horn: Well, basically, a lot of it I think was similar to a lot of vegetarians who are ethical vegetarians. They don’t know better. Here’s somebody like me, who has five degrees, I got a PHD from Princeton. I did not know that you have to get a cow pregnant to get milk, I mean, that’s embarrassing.

Caryn Hartglass: But you know, I remember watching Sesame Street as a kid. I was about 9 or 10 and I was watching with my baby brother. I still enjoyed it at that age. I’ll never forget this, but there were these beautiful images of cows and it said, a cow makes much too much milk for her young calf to drink.

Charles Horn: Ahh.

Caryn Hartglass: I’ll never forget those words, exactly those words. And we were taught that that milk was extra and it was for us.

Charles Horn: Yeah. Cows give milk.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmhm.

Charles Horn: Not that we take it. Cows give milk.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so how did you discover that cows needed to become pregnant and all those things associated with that, that isn’t so nice?

Charles Horn: I don’t remember the exact moment. I know that as a vegetarian, I basically knew that I want no part of this. I didn’t want to think about it any further because I felt that I can’t win this fight. So you know, I don’t want to think about this every day. I want out and didn’t want to think about it anymore. That’s how I was for so many years. I guess more recently I’ve been feeling that things are starting to move and I kind of wanted to be apart of that and I wanted to push it in the right direction, however little I can. So then I was more open to learning more. Looking at how to replace the remaining fusions vegetarian in my diet.

Caryn Hartglass: Where are your friends and colleges in this? Are they bummed out that you’re becoming more of a drag or are they happy?

Charles Horn: I definitely have lost some Facebook friends.
Caryn Hartglass: Hahah.

Charles Horn: You know I guess a part of me just thinks it’s necessary. If that’s what’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. It’s more important for me to speak the truth. I think that we are getting closer and closer to the point where more people are being more open to hearing it. I think that, that is more important to me at this point. So whatever consequence there is, that’s what still worth it. I’m also looking for more ways to turn it into a positive in other ways, for both my self as well. for example, I’ve been writing comedy so maybe I could find a way to do some entertainment.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. I think that’s really important to do that. I was going to say when we were originally talking in the beginning, how you decided to make your book serious rather than comedic. There’s a place for the comedy too. We need message everywhere.

Charles Horn: Yeah absolutely. I think it’s important for things I want to do. Obviously it’s something that take funding and all of that.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh that.

Charles Horn: Yeah I haven’t fully figured it out. I’d love to do one of those Stephen Colbert types of shows where you are just showing the insanity.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah you need that. We’ve been playing with the idea too in my non-profit site ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com so we need more of that. We need to read.

Charles Horn: Another thing I wanted to do, we write a lot of sitcoms as well, and I kind of wanted to do a comparison to The Cosby Show where I just want that family that’s normal but they’re vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh! Love it, yeah.

Charles Horn: So I want to do that as well.

Caryn Hartglass: For me, it’s a big picture. I’m against racism, homophobes, Speciesism, and all those isms whatever. I want to eliminate pain and suffering. Let’s get away from exploitation. With the big picture, everything applies. Unfortunately, history has shown us that we take baby steps. And we’re not even there in places where we think that we’ve gotten far. Like with women’s rights or civil rights. We still have slaves around the world and in this country. Although it may not be apparent to people, there are semi slaves. People recognize it as horrible, but these things still exist. So we move slowly in improving women’s rights, and people of color where ever we can and animal exploitation seems to be last because they don’t have a voice.

Charles Horn: yeah. That’s true, but there is one important difference. We’re kind of seeing it in terms of how we speak. The LGBT. We could see in our lifetime, of how they’re not fully there, it’s turning the corner where it’s not going to go back. Like did you get that sense that we have turned that corner?

Caryn Hartglass: It’s inevitable. It’s frustrating but inevitable. Television, and the sitcoms have helped that.

Charles Horn: Hahah that’s true, that’s true.

Caryn Hartglass: I need you to write one!

Charles Horn: I have one that needs funding.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh funding. I’m so tired of that. We created so much for nothing just because the funding is so hard. Yeah, all right a few more minutes. So tell me about some of these things in your bio. Robot Chicken. What’s Robot Chicken about? Is there any good veg messages in there or is it just a nice funny story?

Charles Horn: No, it’s like these other projects, like I’m one writer on a team of writers. So I’m not in charge of these. Robot Chicken, Seth Green is one of the people behind it. It’s basically a stop motion animation sketch comedy show. So they take little puppets and move them frame-by-frame.

Caryn Hartglass: Love that.

Charles Horn: Yeah, and they just make pop culture jokes and all that. So it has a really strong cult following. You know, it’s on Adult Swim at night for adults.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay.

Charles Horn: So that’s a lot of fun, but no unfortunately most of the writers are not there yet.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. I remember hearing, I may get this wrong, and something about the movie Finding Nemo was the most popular video or most watched something or other. And I was surprised to hear it was as popular as it was. Officially because whether people realize it or not, there was that subliminal or not so subliminal vegan message with the sharks trying to not eat other fish.

Charles Horn: Yeah there are. I remember hearing that they changed the script where they were going to end it at Sea World and they actually changed a script where they took that out because they realized that where they were going long term. Sea World just won’t stand up to history.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Sea World is not very nice these days or any of those days, but they’re getting a very bad animal treatment reputation.

Charles Horn: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, because fish have feelings too, and sea mammals have feelings too.

Charles Horn: I know. There are still a lot of missed information out there. There’s still a lot of work to do, but more and more people are getting to that point where they know something is wrong and they realize that it’s time, it’s time.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. So we’re pretty much at the end. I wanted to run through the table of contents of your book just to wet people’s appetite about what they could find in your book in terms of the information that they need when people are going to hit them with some of the responses that you talk about.

So you’ve got:

Biased and Misconception,

The Philosophical Bases for Animal Rights

A Few Problems with the Arguments for Speciesism

Animals are Just Things; Animals Don’t Feel Pain

Animals are Dumb

Animals aren’t Human

Humans are Omnivores

(There’s some good ones here)

We’ve Been Eating Meat Since the Beginning of Time

You talk about the Paleo diet. (Which is so amazing to me, all of the excuses for Paleo and it’s not a good diet. Hello! The only thing good about the Paleo diet is it gets people away from eating processed food and junk food, but the rest of it, forget about it. )

Bacon is one of your chapters

The Role of Farmed Animals is to be Eaten

Death at Slaughterhouse is Better than Death in the Wild. (Who thinks of these things? A lot of people do!)

I Was Brought up Eating Animals; It’s Tradition. (I certainly know that one.)

And – The Animal is Already Dead

God Gave Us The Right to Eat Animals. (Please!)

Yeah, so very good. You hit them all pretty much and thank you for writing it.

Charles Horn: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. All right Charles, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food.

Charles Horn: Thank you very much.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad to meet you.

Charles Horn: You too.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay have a good day.

Charles Horn: You too, bye.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome. That was fun. Meat Logic: Why Do we Animals? If you are eating animals, maybe you could give me your logic as to why you are because I would like to hear about it. Let’s have a nice conversation because the only way we’re going to move forward is to communicate and communicate with each other. You may remember, I recently spoke to 250 cattle ranchers about climate change in Nevada. It was so powerful because here were two groups of people. Well, me the lone vegan, one person, and 250 other people. We were going back and fourth and sharing our thoughts and ideas. The only way we are going to move forward is when we talk, communicate, and stay open.

Transcribed by Jo Villanueva, 7/28/2014


TRANSCRIPTION PART II:

Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody. I’m back. It’s the second half of our July 1st, 2014 show, It’s All About Food. Now, I didn’t mention a few things before I left for the break, and that is, if you do want to have a dialogue with me about meat, the logic of eating meat, or anything else about food, you can email me at info@realmeals.org. info@realmeals.org.

Also, I talked about talking to those 250 cattle ranchers the last time I was on this show, two weeks ago, I mentioned that we have just released our documentary, and as Charles Horn and I were just talking about, it takes – it takes a lot of funding to do stuff and to make things happen. And I just want to say, we created this 70 minute documentary with no funding, no help from anybody, but we just thought that this story of one lonely vegan going to talk to 250 cattle ranchers was too important not to tell. And if you have seen it already, thank you very much for watching; please let me know what you thought of it. And if you have not seen it yet, please find the time to take 70 minutes and watch it. Join our community. Come into our living room, listen to our conversation, and let us know what you think. I would really, really appreciate it. So, to find the film, you just go to responsibleeatingandliving.com, that’s my non-profit website, and the link’s right there on the homepage – The Lone Vegan Preaching to the Choir. And then once you’ve seen it, share it! I’ve gotten so many wonderful responses about this film already, and what I love most is hearing people’s ideas, their thoughts, their dreams, of what they would like to see in the world – communities of people growing fresh, locally grown foods, supporting each other, finding ways to make that happen and make it work for so many people, and where more people can benefit. We’ll see where that goes.

Okay, so last week, I missed a show and I’ll tell you why – I was in Boston. And I wanted to tell you about my trip to Boston, but it starts actually in New York, where I come from, where I live. I had purchased a Groupon not too long ago, which was, what was it – it was 30, no it was 15 dollars for 30 dollars worth of food at Westerly. Now, Westerly is a health food store in Manhattan – it’s one of my favorites. They have a great selection of dark, leafy green vegetables, my favorite foods, and what I did was I just went over there with my Groupon and I stuffed my bag with dark, leafy green vegetables and came home. And then, I realized that I was heading up to Boston, because I had a friend from Costa Rica who was bringing her sons to some summer program in Boston, and I had a friend from France who was bringing her daughter to a program – a summer program – in Boston, and I had all these fresh dark, leafy greens to deal with. Well, the first thing I did, I realized I was going to take one of these buses from Manhattan to Boston, and maybe you know about them, but some of them are really inexpensive, so I took a 13 dollar Bolt bus to Boston, which was really quite pleasant, and it’s a four and a – it’s like four and an hour fifteen minute ride, but I had taken the subway first to get there. I knew I was going to be hungry, I made a giant, and I mean giant big bowl of fresh arugula and water crass, with some chopped, black, wrinkly, dry olives, flaxseeds, and a lovely tahini dressing. And, I took this big bowl – it’s light, but big – and on the bus, I ate this giant salad, actually I had some in the beginning of the trip, like a breakfast, and then I finished it up towards the end of the trip. Well, I’m bringing it up, because the entire day in Boston, walking around in the warm, hot weather – no humidity take note – I was so satisfied. I wasn’t hungry all day, it was incredible, because I had filled myself up on these nutrient dense, dark, leafy green vegetables. And I eat a lot of salads, but I – you can always eat more! I think…And I – it always surprises me how powerful they are at energizing, at giving you what you need for so little calories. It was spectacular. So I was fueled for a wonderful day, and I walked around with my friend, and I didn’t need to eat until later in the evening, it was great.

So then, I met up with my friend from Costa Rica, and then later, I met up with my friend from France, and just – it was so wonderful being in Boston. I’m always delightful to discover wonderful food. Since I was with my French friend, who’s not vegetarian, I wanted to be respectful of her and her choices, so I kept telling her she can go wherever she wants. And also, we weren’t in a very touristy area, and after walking around in all the heat, you don’t want to go and look for a new restaurant. So, a couple of times, we ended up going to very touristy kind of places, but every time, I was so delighted to discover great food, and I want to just tell you about some of them. So, one place was Sweet Green, and I discovered it’s a chain, maybe you’ve heard about it? So, this is in the back bay area of Boston, where there was a lot of students, and what was so exciting about this place – ok, this is not fine dining, but this is a place where there’s a long queue, this long line of young people, online, ordering big salads. I was so excited! Young people wanting their greens and eating their vegetables, how exciting is that? I thought that was great. So, we got our big salads and ate them, they were fresh – this isn’t a vegan place, you can put your cheese and animal toppings on top, but there were lots of wonderful options and some really creative flavors. This was great. Now, I personally prefer when I’m eating either in my home or at a picnic or anywhere at a party, I’m not into throwaway dishes and forks. When we have a picnic or something, we bring cloth napkins and reusable plates and things. I just have a thing against throwaway stuff, because it’s not so environmentally friendly, and I just think it gives it a quality feeling, when you’re using real plates. And certainly at home, when we have parties, we’re always using real plates – real! I’m about real, right? Responsible Eating and Living – REAL. Well, this particular place had, what looked like, plastic bowls for the salads and plastic utensils. So, when one of the young managers came over and wanted to know how we were doing, and I was saying how wonderful everything was, I did mention that I wasn’t so excited about the bowls and utensils. And he said, “Well they’re compostable.” The bowls, which looked like plastic, were made from sugar cane, and the utensils were made from cornstarch. So, not the ideal, but pretty good, and that was some – that was fun to learn about, and also kind of a reflection of myself – assuming the worst and getting a little annoyed and trying to contain my frustration, and then learning that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Always learning.

Then, someone at the hotel – we wanted to experience some of the Italian area, the northern part of Boston where there’s big Italian spaces, lots of Italian restaurants, and very touristy. Again, I wasn’t going to give my input – we went to a place that the manager at the hotel recommended, a place called Bricco. Bricco. And we were sitting there and I was looking at the menu thinking, oh my goodness, there is nothing for me, and the waiter came over – he was quite pleasant, but the entire time I spoke with him, I just felt that he didn’t understand me. You ever get that? When you’re somewhere in a restaurant or somewhere, either they have an attitude that they’re not paying attention, or that what you’re saying doesn’t compute? He always had a smile on his face, but I just thought, oh, what I’m saying where I don’t want to have eggs or dairy and can he make me a vegetable plate and make sure it’s not sautéed with chicken broth. I rarely have to have that conversation these days, because there’s vegan food everywhere, but – and when we finished our order, I said to my friend, “I’m not sure what we’re going to get here.” But it turned out perfectly. I was served this beautiful, beautiful plate of very, very lovely fresh vegetables, which included broccoli raw and asparagus and some gorgeous mushrooms – I think they were porcini – they were just so fabulous. And there were a couple of – I’ll call them schmears – a couple of dips for the bread, and one of them was like a hummus, and the waiter came over very quickly and said, “You can’t have this one because there’s pork in it.” And I was a little disappointed that he couldn’t have it, but so delighted that he took the time to tell me. And I knew at that point that I was so wrong. He heard me, and he understood me, and I’m just glad that whole time that I kept a very courteous, friendly demeanor, and didn’t get angry at any point, because that’s not the way to be, and you can be wrong. So, twice, during this trip, I really read people wrong.

We also ate at a place called City Landing, which is also kind of a touristy spot near the pier, near the Long Wharf, and they have a beautiful menu – they have vegetarian and vegan items, and gluten-free – it’s all spelled out on the menu. And the other place was a place called Sail Loft, and this was one of these typical seafood on the water type of places, dark wood and rustic, and they had a very friendly stir-fry vegetable dish with a rice pilaf, and they guaranteed to me that it was vegan, and it was great. So, there are a lot of things to rejoice about. Our message is being heard around – more restaurants are including, if not one, more than one healthy, vegan item on their menu. And that way we can all get along together. Ah, so that was a really nice trip. And I’m reminded that I really like to have big, green salads for breakfast, because they’re so, so satisfying.

Now, the other thing I wanted to talk about today is the Linden tree. Are you familiar with the Linden tree? One of the things that I love about June – I know it’s July 1st, but it started in the end of June – is the Linden tree bloomed, and it lasts for about a week, and it usually happens here in New York City in June. And what I love about it is, the fragrance of this tree is, in my opinion, intoxicating. I’ve been drunk all week, just high all week, on the fabulous fragrance of the Linden tree. And one of the things I just discovered – I was with my friend from France in Boston, speaking French for two days, reminiscing about the lovely times when I lived in the south of France in the early 90s – when I did live there, in the Provence region, whenever you would go to a restaurant and asked for a herb tea, there were three flavors – either mint, verveine, which is verbena, kind of lemony flavor, and something called tilleul. And the tilleul was typically, in most restaurants, not a…

 

Hi there, everybody! Well, I just got lost in my Linden tree love conversation, and I’m not exactly sure where I stopped, but I was talking about the Linden tree and how I used to drink the tea, tilleul, in the south of France. It was a very popular herb tea, and I never knew that the tilleul tea was actually the flowers from the Linden tree. And this was so exciting for me to learn just the other day. Now all I want to do – there’s a Linden tree right outside from my terrace, and it’s got there wonderful flowers, and like I said, it only lasts for about a week, and I think today is probably going to be the last day, or tomorrow, where we get this great fragrance. But, what I really want to do is to clip some of those flowers from the tree and use as tea. I’m not quite sure how to do that, because the tree is kind of tall, and it’s not close enough from my terrace to grab. If anybody has any recommendations, let me know. But there’s some wonderful qualities in the Linden tea, which I now know is tilleul in France. It’s considered a light and lively blend of fragrance flowers and leaves – the actual tea – and it’s caffeine free, it has a mild digestive quality, and it has sleep benefits. So, it’s sort of, I guess, like chamomile. So, not only does it have this phenomenal, intoxicating fragrance, but you can have the tea all year long, and it has some nice health benefits. So somehow, I’m going to try and grab those flowers from that tree and make some tilleul tea – Linden tree tea. Mm!

Ah, just a few more minutes and I wanted to give some hot weather tips, things that may be obvious to you, maybe some things you’re doing, maybe you have some tips for me, again you can email me at info@realmeals.org. First, number one, drink, drink, drink – we want to keep hydrating in this weather, for those of us who are in hot weather, and you know me, I like clean water. So, here at home, we’ve got a filter system, where we’re regularly changing the filter, and then on top of that, I distill my water. I really believe in drinking clean water, distilled water, and if you want information about distilled water, it’s always there at responsibleeatingandliving.com – a link to distilled water and the company that makes the one that I recommend most, AquaNui. And you have any questions, you can always email me, at info@realmeals.org about water, but what we do here, is we distill our water – filter and distill our water – and put them in glass bottles. I don’t like plastic, even if it’s plastic made of sugar cane. And, most of them I store in the refrigerator in the summer, so the water is nice and chilled whenever I want it, and I like to store things in glass. Just recently, I was given a wonderful gift, which is a glass bottle that has a – kind of like a rubbery holder on it, so if you drop it, it doesn’t break, and this, I take with me whenever I’m going somewhere, instead of bringing water in plastic. This way I have my phenomenally clean, delicious water, and I can take it with me all around. So, if you see those, I highly recommend them.

And for fun treats that are cool – frozen blueberries. Have you ever just popped a frozen blueberry in your mouth? It’s the best, frozen popsicle, but they’re like in little bites, and they’re just blueberries. So, if you ever see a great deal on blueberries at a farmer’s market or wherever you are, it’s certainly great to have them fresh, but if you get a lot of them, you can freeze them and they’re wonderful frozen. They’re great in smoothies and all kinds of things, but I just, like, pop them. Kids like them, too – great little treats, frozen blueberries.

And the other thing is frozen melons, so if, when they’re ripe and when they’re ready and when they’re inexpensive, this is a great time to buy a lot of them and you can take the melon meat, blend it up in a blender, and pour them in popsicle containers, or any little containers that you can have. Even in an ice cube tray, they make great, little fresh, refreshing, sweet treats – all natural, minimally processed –delicious.

One more thing, maybe one more thing, I think I may have a few more things – but nuts. Raw nuts and seeds – they’re really important, they have a lot of great minerals, a lot of great nutrition, and we want to eat some every day – not a lot, but just enough. An ounce or two, they make everything taste better – a little sprinkled on your oatmeal or sprinkled on your salads, but you want to keep them in your refrigerator or you have a lot of them in your freezer. They go rancid, and you want that to happen. You want your nuts and seeds fresh. And how good did they taste when they had that fresh taste? They are so good. Please, keep them cool, so that they don’t go bad. Now, in the summer, for those of experiencing summer, if your house isn’t air conditioned all the time, it’s important to keep those foods that are affected by heat or warm weather, keep them cool. And that’s the same with grains and flours – I keep all of my grains and flours in the refrigerator, in glass jars – hello?

And I was just talking about water – I have to admit, I’m not a fan of plain water. The only time I eat – eat? The only time I drink plain water is usually when I’m at a restaurant and the food is too salty, so I have to wash it down all the time. When I’m eating at home, I don’t usually drink water, when I’m eating, because I don’t salt my food, and I don’t seem to have a need for it. But when I do drink during the day, I like a little flavor in my water. I use a number of things to flavor – squeezing a little lemon juice is great or a little lime juice, but sometimes I’ve used lemons, lemon juice and lime juice, for something else – I save the skins. Now, I always buy organic, but if you save the rind of the lemon or the lime, or an orange, they’re great twisted in water. You can leave them for the day, and it gets a lovely flavor, and you get some of those great flavonoids and things that are in the rind that are really good for you, and they taste great.

And then another thing, which I got from the French, and it’s the last thing I’m going to say before I go, is herbs are lovely in water, either hot or cold. I love fresh, thyme tea, and it doesn’t have to fresh, it can be dried, where you make a tea of just thyme and water. It can be – you can have it warm or you can have it cold – why not? We drink – we put mint in water sometimes, and mint is great, but try some of the other herbs, so good. Just a nice suggestion, it’s just a lovely experience. All right?

Well, that’s all for today, that’s the end of the program, and next week, we’ve got two wonderful guests I wanted to let you know – Jeffrey Cohen, from the Jewish Vegetarians of North America. He’s known as the Beet Eating Heeb, he’s got a blog called theBeetEatingHeeb.com. Then, we’ve got Steven Wise, who’s the founder of the Non-Human Rights Project – he’s been in the news quite a lot, and he’s got a wonderful legal process going on where he’s working to get rights for chimpanzees and other animals, and it’s so exciting, his work, and we’re going to hear a little bit about that next week. Well, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food, and remember to watch the Lone Vegan documentary at responsibleeatingandliving.com, and have a delicious week.

 

Transcribed by Dorene Zhou 7/18/2014

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