Friday, June 9, 2017

Redress - JUNE 2017

                                                      by Fireweed for the Island Word, JUNE 2017 edition 

2nd floor window of Vancouver Island pub
     “It's all in good fun,” claim supporters of the red-dressed mannequins beckoning hungry travellers from the pub's second story windows. But other locals begged to differ when the newly renovated watering hole/restaurant started advertising in online community forums. After being labeled “creepy,” offensive” and “stereotypically sexist” the so-called 'saloon ladies' were removed from their prominent posts overlooking the ocean-side highway in British Columbia. Owners of the Vancouver Island business were swift to reverse that decision however, encouraged by customers entertained by objectification of the female body. 

     It may be true that these kitschy representations of women in the 'old west' were never intended to appear to romanticize prostitution. And if the bikini-clad, real life women posing on motorcycles that the same pub has been hosting recently on so-called 'customer appreciation days' feel empowered by showcasing their sexuality this way, that is entirely their business. Let's just not pretend that these publicity stunts have nothing to do with peddling flesh.

click HERE for examples of the above
         It's really no surprise that a biker bar dedicated to propping up patriarchal ideas about women should boast a typically meat-centric menu and hold regular 'meat draws'. The relationship between the objectification, fragmentation and consumption of women's bodies and that of non-human animals exists all around us. “Patriarchy is a gendered system that is implicit in human/animal relationships,” explains Carol Adams, in The Sexual Politics of Meat.  She argues that male dominance and animals' oppression are linked by the way that both women and animals function as 'absent referents' in meat eating (also in dairy production). Behind every meal of meat, for example, “is an absence: the death of the animal whose place the meat takes.” The function of the absent referent, elaborates Adams, is to keep meat separated from “any idea that she or he was once an animal, to keep something from being seen as having been someone, to allow for the moral abandonment of another being.” Similarly, once a human female is objectified, fragmentation easily follows. Reduced from whole, complex beings to their body parts we know all too well how women are routinely treated like consumable objects themselves, “without a past, without a history, without a biography, without individuality.” 

     Given that male violence against women stems from the same hierarchical mindset that denies agency to animals, it is heartening to see more and more men these days rejecting the alleged 'necessity' of animal product consumption as a complete ruse right alongside other demonstrations of machismo that limit their own unique sense of personhood. For anyone with the privilege of choice, there is no shortage of adequate protein and other vital nutrients available on a well-balanced 100% plant-based diet. Veganism is a conscious act of resistance for many that happily turns patriarchy on its head.*                                              

     Socially ingrained habits may die harder for some than for others, but this Father's Day there is absolutely no reason not to fire up an exclusively cruelty-free barbecue. Cooking meat at a high temperature creates HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) – carcinogens linked to changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. Switching to plant-based options on the grill avoids this risk because HCAs and PAHs form in muscle proteins. On the other hand, phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables may actually reduce certain types of cancer.  Besides tasty veggie burgers and meat-free sausages, you can't go wrong with marinated tofu on shish kabobs. Options are really as varied as one's imagination though, so why not mix it up? Grilled peaches, pineapple, watermelon, avocado and artichoke hearts are delicious. So is grilled sweet potato, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, eggplant and corn on the cob! Cauliflower steaks are all the rage these days, so here's a simple, spicy recipe to experiment with on the grill this summer. Bon appetit!

[*AND FYI: here's another Transition Kitchen column from a couple of years back where I also touch on the subject of 'the sexual politics of meat': "Plant Powered"  For lots of great recipe ideas and related food for thought, visit Denman Island's Virtual Vegan Potluck page right HERE!]

Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks (with thanks to Faith Durand for the original recipe)

2 large heads cauliflower

1/4 cup olive oil
2 limes, zested and juiced 
2 cloves garlic, finely grated 
1 tsp. agave syrup, more to taste 
1 T. paprika 
1/2 T. chipotle powder 
1/2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves 
Lime wedges, to serve 

Remove the leaves on each cauliflower head and trim the stem end until you can set the cauliflower flat on the cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to trim off the sides, then cut the cauliflower into 3 or 4 thick “steaks.” Reserve the florets that fall away for another recipe. 

Whisk the olive oil with the lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk in the grated garlic, agave syrup and nutrutional yeast flakes. Add a bit more lime juice if the mixture is a bit too thick. In a separate bowl, mix the lime zest, paprika, chipotle, and salt.

Heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium. Brush one side of each cauliflower steak with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle generously with the chipotle powder mixture. Place the seasoned side down on the hot grill. Brush the tops with the olive oil mixture and season with the chipotle mix. 

Cover the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and carefully flip the cauliflower. Cook covered for an additional 5 minutes or until done to your desired texture.  Final cooking time will depend on how thick you cut the steaks and the level of heat on your grill. 

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side. Enjoy! 

1 comment:

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