Tom Regan, Subject-Of-A-Life
Tom Regan, an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights theory, died at the age of 78, on February 17, 2017. Caryn spoke briefly about Tom and aired a rebroadcast of her interview with him back in 2012.
Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dieticians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hi Everybody, I am Caryn Hartglass. Six days ago a dear friend and colleague, Tom Regan, an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights theory, died at the age of 78. I interviewed Tom back in 2012 and I want to rebroadcast that program day in his memory. His work and his message are timeless and vital in today’s world.
My partner Gary De Mattei and I met Tom Regan and his wife Nancy Regan in 2012, at Candle 79 after the memorial service for Marti Kheel on April 1, 2012. Marti’s memorial took place at the Roosevelt House in Manhattan. She was a vegan, ecofeminist, activist, scholar and founder of Feminists for Animal Rights. I knew of her work and writings and had wanted to interview her on my radio show It’s All About Food. Then I learned she had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I had the good fortune to spend a few hours with her while she was staying in Connecticut to be treated. I shared whatever I could about what I had learned about healing during my own cancer experience. This was not how I had imagined engaging with such an iconic figure in the ecofeminist/animal rights movement but I was grateful that she would share a few hours of her too brief life with me.
There were many notable vegan, ecofeminist and animal rights activists at the memorial for Marti. It was a sad day, but the love in the room was inspiring. Afterwards, many of us went to Candle 79 for dinner. Here, celebrating Marti’s life, we reconnected with old friends and made new ones. Gary and I were seated across from Nancy and Tom Regan. I could not believe it! I had read his groundbreaking books on animal rights. He was so influential to many of us. For a brief moment I was awestruck but I quickly relaxed when we were introduced. Tom and Nancy had a gentle nature and a wonderful sense of humor. We were in contact a few more times since then.
The last time I saw Tom was at the memorial for vegetarian historian and author, Rynn Berry in 2014 at the home of Victoria Moran. We were all in shock learning about Rynn’s death. I sat with Tom for awhile and we discussed his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I made a note to email him with some supplement suggestions that might help. We spoke about Rynn, his writing and Rynn’s prolific book collection. Tom told me that he would be bringing much of Rynn’s book collection into the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive at North Carolina State University for safekeeping.
Quoting from this week’s article in his memory, Cody Fenwick writes in patch.com: “Regan’s revolutionary argument was that rights — in particular, the right not to be killed — could be sensibly applied to animals.”
The Blackwell Dictionary on Western Philosophy includes the term, Subjects-of-a-life: “introduced by Tom Regan for individuals who are more than merely alive and conscious. Subjects-of-a-life are characterized by a set of features including having beliefs , desires , memory , feelings , self-consciousness , an emotional life, a sense of their own future , an ability to initiate action to pursue their goals, and an existence that is logically independent of being useful to anyone else’s interests. Such an individual has inherent value independent of its utility for others. Because of this inherent value, a subject-of-a-life has rights to protect this value and not to be harmed. Other subjects have a duty to respect these rights. Regan then argues that all mature normal mammals fit the conditions for a subject-of-a-life; so they have inherent value and have rights. We have natural duties toward these animals, and should treat them equally and not interfere with their normal life course. Being a subject-of-a-life is his criterion for inclusion of an individual in the moral community.”
“Those who satisfy the subject-of-a-life criterion themselves have a distinctive kind of value –inherent value – and are not to be viewed or treated as mere receptacles.” Regan, The Case for Animal Rights
Before proceeding to the 2012 interview I would like to read a short version of his biography. You can find out more about Tom Regan at http://tomregan.info/.
Tom Regan was Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (USA). During his more than thirty years on the faculty, he received numerous awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching; was named University Alumni Distinguished Professor; published hundreds of professional papers and more than twenty books; won major international awards for film writing and direction; and presented hundreds of lectures throughout the United States and abroad. In 2000, he received the William Quarles Holliday Medal, the highest honor NC State University can bestow on one of its faculty.
Among his books, two (The Case for Animal Rights and Bloomsbury’s Prophet: G. E. Moore and the Development of his Moral Philosophy) were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
The Case for Animal Rights was immediately recognized as a “modern classic” when it first appeared in 1983. “Unquestionably the best work yet to appear in its field,” one reviewer wrote; “beyond question the most important philosophical contribution to animal rights,” wrote a second; “(b)y far the best work on the subject, and will continue to be the definitive work for years to come” wrote a third. Already translated into Italian, Swedish, and Dutch, The Case for Animal Rights was issued in German and Chinese editions in 2003.
Other of Tom Regan’s books that touch on the topic of animal rights are All That Dwell Therein: Essays on Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics (1982); Animal Sacrifices: Religious Perspectives on the Use of Animals in Science (1986), The Struggle for Animal Rights (1987), The Thee Generation: Reflections on the Coming Revolution (1991), Defending Animal Rights (2001; University of Illinois Press) and (with Carl Cohen) The Animal Rights Debate (2001; Rowman Littlefield).
Empty Cages was published in 2004. It was described by Jeffrey Masson as “the single best introduction to animal rights ever written.” In a style at once simple and elegant, Regan dispels the negative image of animal rights advocates perpetrated by the mass media, unmasks the fraudulent rhetoric of “humane treatment” favored by animal exploiters, and explains why existing laws function to legitimize institutional cruelty.
Written by the leading philosophical spokesperson for animal rights, Tom Regan’s shocking exposé of animal abuse makes an essential and lasting contribution that will significantly impact the history of animal rights advocacy in America.
He is universally recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement.
Tom Regan’s major film awards include the Silver Medal for We Are All Noah (International Film Festival of New York, 1986) and the Gold Medal for Voices I Have Heard (Houston International Film Festival, 1988).
Tom Regan and his wife Nancy co-founded The Culture and Animals Foundation. They have two wonderful children, a son, Bryan, who is a photographer living in Raleigh, and a daughter, Karen, who is Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Nancy and Tom are the doting grandparents of Hannah, Brooke, Anna Drew, and Miles.
Now here is the 2012 interview with Tom Regan.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Welcome to It’s All About Food.
TOM REGAN: Oh, it’s an honor to be on your show.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Oh no, no, no, no the honor is all mine. In fact I was so honored when I got to meet you earlier this year and I am so glad I did. Of course it was kind of a bitter sweet experience as you may remember, we both went to the memorial of Marti Kheel who was a phenomenal author and activist.
TOM REGAN: She was a wonderful person.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And a wonderful person. I want to say that I was fortunate to meet her shortly before she left this life and the wonderful thing about that memorial, all of us who gathered afterwards, it was really a wonderful experience to be together with so many people who share the same dream of making this world a better, more kinder place.
TOM REGAN: Yeah, it was an inspiration to me I can tell you and to Nancy as well. We went home fueled with the compassion that we felt at the memorial service and also at the table, so we were better for having gone there.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I agree and inspiration is something that all of us to get continually because it’s easy to lose focus, we’re depressed because we are continually focusing on what is wrong.
TOM REGAN: Well that’s an astute observation. The movement goes forward despite those who leave it every day, despite because they are dispirited, despite because they are impatient. Because they give up hope and it’s like a revolving door, people come in and people go out. Our first obligation to the animals and to the earth is to stay in the movement, to keep making a contribution in our several ways and our separate ways. But the enemy wins if we go out the door.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s right. We have to stay with it and stay fueled and stay inspired. I like to keep things as positive as we possibly can and we will be focusing on both the good and the bad and hopefully leave with a lot of good.
If somebody saw you walking down the street, I don’t think they would think, oh that’s an animal rights activist.
TOM REGAN: No, I don’t think so either.
CARYN HARTGLASS: The unfortunate thing is there are many different stereotypes all around the world for many different kinds of people and kinds of characters and the animal rights activist is no different, there is a stereotype. I don’t think it’s true. There might be a smattering of people who fit whatever the stereotype might be. But you are a lovely, friendly, kind, soft spoken, intelligent, person.
TOM REGAN: Well that’s very kind of you to say, I think that, of course, the public’s image of the animal rights activist is what the media feeds them. And the media loves a plane crash, the media loves vandalism and violence. Just look at the front page of any newspaper in the world and you’ll confirm that for your self. So our great struggle is to get past the media so to speak, and the way we do that is by the example of our lives. Everybody makes a contribution to the struggle just by being compassionate in their life and we must never forget that because the animals depend on us for their safety and for their survival. We must not abandon them. That’s our first obligation.
CARYN HARTGLASS: People may or may not realize I just want to briefly continue on the media concept, that what we see very often in mainstream media is the sensational, the violent. We have so many great editing capabilities today that people don’t even realize when they are watching maybe some live coverage or something, very often a picture is spliced in to and may not even have been from that event but it there to give us some subliminal thoughts and guide us along in one direction. We don’t even realize very often what’s happening.
TOM REGAN: No, I think you are correct about that. I am not a keen student of the modern media but I do know that subliminal messages can be placed out of context.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It happens all the time. Just a quick little history about what inspired you to get where your thinking is today and what inspired you to write your animal rights books.
TOM REGAN: I was a butcher when I was in college. I sliced, I diced, I minced, I ground. And as I’ve said in the past, their cold flesh gave way to my cruel will. The pieces of meat I was working with might as well have been blocks of wood. I was so distant from any kind of identification or any kind of spark of compassion. Not that I was intentionally cruel to the compassion animals in my life, they were always special. But the other animals were like blocks of wood. And it may have stayed that way in my life except for the head and heart. The head was I was involved in the anti-war movement in the Vietnam period. My wife Nancy and I founded North Carolinians Against the War, a state wide, grass roots organization. I thought, I am a trained philosopher, I should be able to make a contribution, a philosophical contribution to the anti war movement and I remember this as clear as if it happened yesterday. I was in the university library and I took down a book and it was by an author of whose name I recognized but I had never read anything by him and the title of the book was My Experiment With Truth and it was written by Mahatmas K. Ghandi better known as Mahatma Ghandi.
Ghandi had an enormous influence on me. Basically he said, not that he literally said this, I wasn’t hallucinating, it was as if he said to me from the pages of his work, “I understand Professor Regan you are against unnecessary violence.” And I said. “ Yes, that’s why I am campaigning against the war. And he said, “Well what are those dead body parts doing in your freezer, then?” That was like a lightning bolt of thought. Of course, these animals met a violent end and I was living my life according to my commitment to nonviolence and there were dead body parts in my freezer. That had an enormous influence on me. And the second part, the heart matter, we had a dog who was hit by a car and died because of someone’s irresponsibility. It just awoken my heart in a sense that I thought that if any other dog was in my life as this dog had been I would have felt just as bad, just as hurt, just sorrowful. It was a short step for me to say but by golly, if I knew a pig as well, or a cow as well or a chicken as well, I would have felt the same way at the loss of this creature. It was a combination of the head, my thoughts with Ghandi, an the heart with the death of a dear friend. That was 40 years ago when that happen. We’ve seen a lot of water go over the dam since then. That’s how I got interested.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s a good story. That’s why I think it is important to tell the individual stories, because we relate so much more. We are so overwhelmed with the numbers. We hear 60 billion land animals, plus or minus a few billion, are killed every year around the world – that’s just an overwhelming number. But when we can look into the eyes of a hog or look into the eyes of a cow, or a chicken, I think it’s a very different thing, to see the individual personality and the life.
TOM REGAN: The thing is, my way of thinking over time has really become simplified. They are somebodies, they’re subjects of a life not a life without a subject. The other animals that are in the world, they are aware of the world they are aware of what happens to them, and what happens to them matters to them because it makes a difference in the duration and in the quality of their life and in this respect they are fundamentally the same as you and I. So it is from my perspective we should not do to them what we would not have done to us. It is really the application of the Golden Rule. We don’t want to turn them into meat, turn them into clothes, turn them into competitors, turning them into performers, turning them into tools in laboratories, we wouldn’t want that done to us. Given our subject of equality we should not be doing it to them. It’s really very simple to me.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Yeah, it’s simple to me too and it’s so hard to find the ways to get that message across to as many people as we can. It’s amazing how difficult it is. We live in a very violent world. We are violent to the people around us, whether we know them or not, we are violent to the Earth in many ways, we exploit so many things, people, animals, resources. It is kind of part of human nature.
TOM REGAN: Well it does seem to be, for sure. I think that our mind is pickled by the violence that we see around us. It is almost an act of will to keep the true violence alive in one’s mind rather than to deny it or bury it or to forget it or whatever it is very important to keep our sense of violence in the world alive. And what I mean by that is if you see tens of thousands of chickens in a battery henhouse and you don’t see the violence you don’t see the violence being done to these animals, you are not really living in the world. It’s our obligation to keep our sense of violence alive in our life. Not that we practice it, but that we are aware of it, aware of what others do not see, that’s the case, they don’t see what’s being done.
CARYN HARTGLASS: There are horrible things going on every day, all around us in the world. I remember when September 11, 2001 occurred many of us were feeling it because it was so close to home, especially here in New York City. One of the things I kept saying to everyone I possibly could was you are feeling overwhelmed, we don’t know what to do, the thing we can do is get the violence out of our own lives. And we do that by what we eat and the products we use.
TOM REGAN: I couldn’t agree more. There is an image that I sometimes use when I am giving talks and it is the image of this web of evil. You have this picture of an enormous complicated web. As long as we are alive we are going to be some place in that web. We are going to be imperfect creatures in an imperfect world, we are going to contribute to the evil that is being done by actively or passively accepting it. But what we can struggle to do is to get as far from the center of the web as we can. Because that is where the people who are perpetrators or viewers of evil don’t recognize the evil that do or see. Those of the people in the center of web and we have to struggle to get as far from the center as we can. Knowing that we are not going to be perfect in any way shape or form we are just going to be imperfect creatures in an imperfect world. But we can make a difference by trying to get away from the center. There is another image, if I may, I sometimes picture this enormous wall, that represents the oppression of other sentient life, the ecosystem and so on. Of course what we would like to do is bring that wall down, at once and whatever. But we know, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we can’t do that. But what we can do is we can take the wall down a brick at a time. That takes enormous stamina and courage just to take one brick down. Just to end greyhound racing in Texas. Just to get chimps out of laboratories. It’s one brick but it takes enormous amounts of time and effort.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I fight it. You are right about this brick concept and I always try to get people to see, the whole picture, to see the whole wall, and it’s hard.
TOM REGAN: We are so used to seeing some things that we no longer see them. We are so used to seeing animal abuse in factory farms and in laboratories and in marine display. We are so insensitive because it’s part of our daily diet in the world. But that’s why we have to, the people listening to your radio show, we all have to, keep our sense of anger alive in response to the evil that we don’t see,
CARYN HARTGLASS: Now you mentioned to me this war analogy. Can we talk a little bit about that?
TOM REGAN: Yeah, when people try to find an analogy, the two most common ones are the slavery analogy and the holocaust analogy. The slavery analogy has a point up to a point. But it seems to break down. It was normally in the interest of the slave owners not to kill their slaves. But it is in the interest of hog farmers to kill their hogs. And in the holocaust analogy, the purpose was to exterminate various groups of people, homosexuals, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, I think that it were, to obliterate them, to take them off the face of the Earth. But that’s not normally what happens when humans dominate other animals. It may sometime happen but rarely, it’s the exception, not the rule. And again when you think about what’s in the interest of furriers and what’s in the interest of pork producers, it’s in the interest to have more animals, not to exterminate them. I’ve been thinking about what would be a better analogy it’s the war analogy, what are the characteristics of war. Individuals are injured, they are killed, they are imprisoned and weapons are used, and if we think about how animals are exploited, for example in animal agriculture, they are imprisoned, they are injured, they are killed, and weapons are used. The interesting thing is, of course they’ll say, we use tools, we use stereotactic devices and rat guillotines for something. Once you adopt a war analogy that kind of thinking, you think, no, they are weapons, that’s what they are, they are weapons, carried on, used by the perpetrators of the war. The other thing about it, this seems to put all the blame on all the producers and the consumers get off scott free. But no, if you think about war again, there is a group of people called mercenaries and the mercenaries are the people who are paid to wage the war. In the United States, the war for our independence from Great Britain, the Hessians, were used. But that’s what we do, We pay people to carry out the war on our behalf, if we are meat eaters or use cosmetics that have been tested on animals and wear fur and all the rest of that. We are paying people to carry out the war. That’s what the consumer is, a consumer of these products.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Our hands are not clean.
TOM REGAN: No, no, for sure, for sure. At the same time, it is just so very important. I remember and experience I had, a person came up after I gave a talk, a person said, well what about plants. And this woman who was with me, a very accomplished philosopher, just went ballistic. She said, “I’ve heard this question a thousand times and I da, da, da” And she stormed off in a huff. And then later she came back later and she said, I have to apologize I am so disappointed in my behavior but I really have heard that question a thousand times.” And I said to her in an uncommon moment of insight, I said to her, “Yes, but that was the first time that person asked me that question.” That’s what we have to remember. People can’t hear you when you are shouting at them. It’s a paradox. They can’t hear you when you are shouting at them. That’s why Ghandi, part of the reason Ghandi had such an impact on my life, he was so meek of a man and yet so tough and resilient and committed. And he won his country’s independence. You can imagine that, this man when he died had a doti, a pair of sandals, some glasses and a bowl. He brought down the might of the British army.
CARYN HARTGLASS: With nothing but his own integrity, very powerful.
TOM REGAN: He’s still an inspiration to me.
CARYN HARTGLASS: We just have a few minutes and I wanted to talk about the animal welfare versus the animal rights debate. Is that a brick versus wall scenario?
TOM REGAN: Yeah, I guess so, no, not quite. There are incremental abolitionist steps. Greyhound racing, you can end cosmetic testing and you can end toxicity testing, you can end dog labs for example as PCRM has successfully done. So there are abolition issues, it’s not like you are reforming a practice and keeping it and making more welfare respecting but you are actually ending things. I give a list of all sorts of campaigns in my book Empty Cages. I think from my point of view as long as, we view other animals as a culture, as our resources, welfare reform simply makes it more acceptable to view other animals as resources, they are treated better, they can turn around, whatever. But they are still our resources. I am opposed to welfare reforms because they don’t really address the problem and at the same time it makes meat consumption more acceptable.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Everybody pats themselves on the back, saying, okay we are doing a good thing, we are giving a bigger cage to the chickens, there is really no improvement.
TOM REGAN: No that’s why I have always said empty cages not bigger cages. Empty cages means there is no animal who is our resource in that cage. And that’s where we want to get and I don’t think we do get there by making welfare reforms.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Okay you have been active in animal rights for several decades, are we making headway?
TOM REGAN: Well in some ways we are, in some ways we aren’t. In terms of body count, 1975 when I published the Moral Basis Of Vegetarianism, there were roughly 6 billion animals destroyed in the United States. Today there are in excess of 10 billions animals. In terms of body count, no, we are going in opposite directions I would guess. But in other terms, when I retired from the university, they presented me with the highest honor. They also invited me to establish the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive at the university library. I don’t think that was thinkable when we started in 1972. It was impossible. And if you look at the growth academic course in literature, in philosophy, in law, in sociology, in anthropology, in biology and so on, there was a point when we would think of the university as the castle and we were outside the moat, now we are inside the castle, That really is an amazing turn of events, an amazing change.
CARYN HARTGLASS: We are definitely inside the castle. I wanted to mention we have publications like LA Weekly saying that vegan is mainstream. I was reading this online BeefMagazine.com blog post recently that said that vegan and vegetarian is mainstream. I don’t know if it is mainstream but we are in the castle.
TOM REGAN: We are in the castle, we are not outside the moat.
CARYN HARTGLASS: So people can hear us and that’s a good thing. Okay the last thing I wanted to talk to you about is your favorite foods.
TOM REGAN: Oh! Pasta, pasta, pasta. I am the luckiest person, I am like Lou Gehrig, I am the luckiest person on the face of the Earth, because my wife is a marvelous cook. I always say, I am married to Nancy Regan and it’s been the best of times and the worst of times, being married to Nancy Regan. I am blessed. I haven’t done anything to deserve it and she is a committed chef. She loves the challenge of making wonderful vegan food and she basically makes everything fresh.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s the way to do it. Thank you for joining me, so much, on It’s All About Food, Tom. I look forward to seeing you and Nancy again and enjoying some wonderful plant food.
TOM REGAN: Oh, let’s look forward to the day. I am honored to be on your program.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Thank you for everything you have done, Empty Cages, A Case For Animal Rights, all of your great writing, you have made a great difference on this planet. Thank you.
TOM REGAN: I hope so. I hope I have made some anyhow.
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn: And that was my interview with Tom Regan from back in 2012 and in hindsight I wish I had spoken to him a lot longer on that day, or had him back for another interview. But, we do have all of his books and his great writings to refer to. They are timeless and I think we who know about his work should do all that we can to spread his writing and some of his critical thoughts including the term he created, subject of a life. Now many of us know that, or are aware of all of the billions of animals that are raised in factory farms and are treated horribly and go on to become food on many people’s plates, and how devastating to the environment factory farming is. There have been numerous books and articles written on this subject. We’ve talked about factory farming on this program. I used to make in an annual resolution to hope that factory farming would be gone in the next year or at least in my lifetime and it’s a very frustrating thing that’s going on and how we treat non-human animals in this world and we also treat human animals as poorly in many cases.
Then there are some that have a solution and their solution is to raise animals for food “humanely” and I always put that in quotes, “humanely.” I was having a discussion recently with someone about it who raises pigs in what they consider a humane way and I’m fascinated about how people can believe that what they’re doing is really a good thing. They talk about how happy these animals are on the farm, they’re treated so wonderfully and they love being there and they imply and sometimes even say, that the pigs would choose to be there. Then I naturally ask the question, “Do you really think they’re happy? Giving their lives, being slaughtered, being murdered, so that they can end up on your plate. Is that what they lived for? Do you think that they’re really happy doing that?” Then the response is some sort of vague, non-answer, because the answer is obvious. These subjects of a life as Tom Reagan has called non-human animals who are exploited for food and other human purposes. They don’t want to be slaughtered, they don’t want to be murdered. No life does. No mammal life at least, as we know it. These non-human animals, the ones that are raised on factory farms, even as they are going to slaughter from a horrifically terrible life in a factory farm- they resist being slaughtered! They don’t want to die to become food on someone’s plate! For those who say that animal rights activists care about non-human animals and not human animals, I think if we are able to treat non-human animals in this vile way, especially on factory farms- confining them to these dense conditions, these filthy conditions where they can’t do what they’re meant to do naturally, spend time with their family and their friends and roll around and enjoy the sun and the dirt and the water and nature and the food that they like to eat.
We also confine our fellow human beings! Right now in the United States we have the highest number of people in prisons then ever before. Many of them on charges that are relatively insignificant, or some of them who are actually in prison wrongly! Wrongly accused. Of course we have so much corruption going on today in our government and in corporations. Where people that are in high-level positions of power and influence and affluence are killing other people, in so many different ways. Either by approving regulation that allows for toxins to leak into out environment in one way or another, or for hiding information that shows that pollutants and toxins are released one way or another into our environment, creating products that are not healthy for us, using marketing to encourage people to consume foods, “foods” that are not healthy for us that lead to deadly chronic diseases. All these people get away with it!! There’s a tremendous imbalance in this society and like Tom Reagan said before, I’m going to repeat it again because it really moved me, “Our first obligation to the animals and to the Earth is to stay in the movement, to keep making contribution in our several ways and our separate ways.” I encourage you to do that in any way that you possibly can because it is so important. We need all of us together making a difference.
I’m really excited about all the protests that are going on today, the rallies around the country, people going to town hall meetings, sending post cards, writing letters, making phone calls, all of this really matters and if you’re keeping on top of the news you see that people are listening and it is making a difference. We need to keep the heat up continually. I’m actually looking forward to a particular parade or rally or protest or whatever you want to call it, but coming up in a little over a month, I think it’s on April 2nd in Manhattan- The Veggie Pride Parade. It will be the 10th annual Veggie Pride Parade and I’m hoping that this will be the biggest one in Manhattan ever because more people are coming out then ever. The last 10 years, people have been marching in the streets of Manhattan with signs about veggie pride and being a vegetarian and the importance of eating vegetables and not eating animals. After the parade, many people give talks. 07:37 was a frequent speaker and the year that he died his partner was there giving away many of his books especially the Vegan Guide to New York City which is a wonderful little book that 07:56 put together and continually updated on an annual basis of all of the eateries in Manhattan and in the other boroughs in New York City that serve vegan food. That was a challenging project! It’s a small guide but New York City is a dynamic place with a lot of wonderful restaurants and the guide continually changed. Unfortunately some eateries would drop off because they didn’t make it, but I think more and more were being added. New York’s a great place for food and for eating vegan food and we’ve been in California now for about 6 or 7 weeks and I have to tell you, I’m missing New York. I mean, we’re doing fine here with the very fresh produce that we buy here in California, and the few eateries that we like to go to, but you know what? There’s no place like home. We will be at The Veggie Pride Parade on April 2nd in Manhattan. You can find out more at veggieprideparade.org/.
We just have a few minutes left and I want to talk about delicious food! We’re staying in a pool house in Northern California. It’s raining a lot, I’m sure you’ve been hearing about that on the news. If you’re not in the California area, it’s very wet here! There are mudslides and trees falling, roads closing, it’s all very exciting. We’re staying cozy in a little pool house here and I’m trying to make more meals here because I like homemade cooking rather than going out to eat all the time. One thing we’re having a lot of fun with, and I have to give Gary a lot of credit for this, is using the Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas. We’re putting everything in them. You might want to try it! We started with a snack, which was to take one tortilla, and they’re kind of large, I don’t know maybe 8 inches wide? Spreading it with some peanut butter, sliced or mashed bananas, and topping it with another tortilla. You can add a little agave if you want to sweeten it up a little bit. Then warming it up for a few minutes and it’s like a gooey, creamy, quesadilla. What do people like about quesadillas? They like that they’re fatty and gooey and runny and warm and so we’re doing a variation on it being here, so at first it was with peanut butter and bananas. Then, Gary made a savory one! I had cooked up a big batch of red lentils. I’m a big fan of red lentils and especially if you cook them long enough, and they don’t take long to cook, but they get soft and then if you cook them a little longer they get, they just melt really and become this soft and creamy, luscious tasting food that you can blend up if you want or just mash up and make into sauces and all kinds of things. Red lentils are just spectacular. Well, Gary took some of them and spread them on a tortilla, added some nutritional yeast, some arugula, a little mustard I think, and covered with another tortilla and warmed that up, sliced it up in some triangles and there was another variation on a quesadilla. A pizza quesadilla? I don’t know, you can call it whatever you want but it was absolutely spectacular. Then we thought we would try another one. I bought some dark chocolate chips, vegan chocolate chips, and melted a little bit of them to make a creamy paste that I spread on a tortilla, then I sliced some bananas and kind of mashed them into the chocolate- doesn’t this sound good? Yeah. Then I took a little peanut butter, maybe a tablespoon and added a little water to it and beat it up, like I do when I make tahini dressing- you add the water in to make the peanut butter creamier like a sauce. Then I poured that on top of the bananas, covered that with a tortilla and warmed that up for a few minutes and then sliced that and this was a spectacular dessert. So simple! So easy! That’s what I’m going to leave you with. All kinds of great ideas to use quesadillas, vegan quesadillas, using Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas. What do you think of that? Wait! Here’s one more thing you can do with those Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas! You can use any tortilla you like, we just happen to like the Ezekiel ones. If you have a gluten intolerance or need to eat gluten free, I’m sure those brown rice tortillas will work just as well for any of these. But, I learned a trick recently using those brown rice tortillas; you really need to follow the instructions, which we weren’t doing for a long time. It helps to put a little water on them before you heat them up and that keeps them from cracking. Little tip that I learned by reading instructions on the package. Very important!
One more thing- we occasionally buy some prepared food in the stores and we like the Field Roast brand and we bought their Field Roast Deli Slices, the smoked tomato variety. It’s really a fun product. Gary made some wonderful wraps using the deli slice, the smoked tomato deli slice and some lettuce, mustard, and rolled them up and cut them into smaller pieces and it was a great thing to bring along, put it in a little container. We’ve been doing a production of Fiddler on the Roof. We’ve been in rehearsals and the performances are coming up the first weekend in March. We’re at rehearsals for hours! Sometimes like 6 hours and we need to bring food along. This was a great lunch to bring along. Great wrap with the Field Roast Deli Slices. So, there’s another thing you can do with tortillas that’s kind of fun.
Thank you for being a part of the It’s All About Food audience. Thank you for caring about food. Thank you for caring about the Earth and animals. I’m so glad you’re out there! Now go out and do more activism because we need a big, strong, loud voice out there more than ever. I’m Caryn Hartglass, thanks for listening to It’s All About Food. Remember you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our work at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Adella Finnan, 2/24/2017