Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Vegan Night with Jana Kohl and Rory Freedman

Holy cannoli! I have been M.I.A. for quite a while! No, contrary to popular belief, I have not been smuggling coke from Tijuana where I joined forces with the drug lords to bring down the Mexican government. No instead I have left the ranks of the gainfully unemployed and rejoined the work force. Readjusting to the working life has taken some time. Gone are the days of soaking up vitamin D while swinging around in my hammock all day and here are the days of driving east side to west side in rush hour. Oh well, at least I get free lunch again!

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a unique event hosted by First Tuesday Los Angeles. FTLA describes itself as "a women's group dedicated to creating and sustaining a sense of community with like minded women through social connectivity, professional networking, and social service." The theme of the group's February meeting was animal rights and when I heard that Skinny Bitch author Rory Freedman would be there I signed up to attend right away!

The event was staged at a gorgeous home in Pacific Palisades and began with a vegan dinner catered by Great Taste Catering. The food was good, but to be perfectly honest, it was very Vegan Version 1.0. The menu included pesto asparagus, a very basic salad, an under seasoned wheatberry salad, some vegan cookies from Trader Joe's, and a tofu dish that made me chuckle. This casserole was just so obviously made by someone who has no experience with tofu at all. It was whole blocks of tofu covered in tomato sauce, served with roasted potatoes. The tofu hadn't been marinated at all, so you can imagine how plain it tasted.

With that said, everything was tasty and god knows I ate everything on my plate. It's just a tad unfortunate that everyone probably left thinking that veggie food has to be bland. It probably would have been a better choice to have a vegan restaurant like Real Food Daily do the catering but everyone seemed to enjoy the food.

We all packed into the living room--there were probably about 50 ladies there--to hear from the night's speakers. First up was Jana Kohl who wrote A Rare Breed of Love about her adventures with her three-legged pup Baby and their trek across the nation to promote pet adoption. Baby was rescued from a puppy mill and had to have her leg amputated because it deteriorated so much in the mill. As I am already vegan and an advocate of pet rescue, I didn't really learn anything that I didn't already know about the horrors of puppy mills and eating meat. But one thing Jana said that I was not aware of was that rescue groups that are based around one type of breed (like poodle rescues, lab rescues, etc.) sometimes buy dogs from puppy mills--which is good because it gets the dog out of that cruel environment, but it still lines the pockets of the puppy mill owners. The lesson there is to do your homework before adopting a pet. Here is a cute shot we got of Jana and her Baby:

And just for shits and giggles, here is one of Baby with Monsieur Obama!

Mama pajama I would KILL to get a picture of my Hayley (who, by the way, I adopted from an awesome rescue group in my old North Carolina, the BBCRA) with our awesome new prez. In the meantime I'll have to settle for this shot of Hayley with The Food Monster.

Next up was Rory Freedman. I have talked about how much I liked her Skinny Bitch before. I forced my lovely boss Canada to read it at work one day and I suspect it was major factor in her becoming a pescatarian this year. Anywho, Rory was great. She started by admitting that choosing such a sassy title for her book was a total ploy to make people read a book about animal cruelty. Again, I didn't hear anything I didn't already know, but it was obvious that most of the people there were hearing about cruel farming practices for the first time. She ended the night by asking everyone to do a 30 day veg pledge. The April First Tuesday meeting is also going to be vegetarian because hopefully a lot of members will be trying to take meat out of their diets for at least a month! Here's a shot of Rory and I at the end of the night.

I had a great time and met a ton of really cool girls. I definitely recommend checking out both Jana and Rory's books and if you want to hear all about First Tuesday's many events, check out the site!


Kirby! said...

Yay! The Yo Soy returns!! God knows I have on pins and needles for the past month!!

That sounds like a really cool meeting. I definitely have a special place in my heart for animal rescue groups, as I got my sweet Pepe from one!

Vegyogini said...

Welcome back! It's good to know you're back in the world of the gainfully employed and I'm sure you made great use of your down time. :)

Vegan food 1.0 aside, it sounds like you attended a really great event. Hopefully, a lot of the women will stick to the veg pledge.

Anonymous said...

Skinny Bitch was an interesting read, even for us non-vegetarian/vegan folks. The event sounds really awesome. Sorry the meal was not as awesome...perhaps you should email them some of your recipes for next year's affair!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

what a fun event! It's great to hear that people are getting the word out on cruel animal practices.

Candy at VeganBride.com said...

Oh Yo Soy I hear your pain!! I went through the EXACT thing when trying to find a vegan caterer for our wedding!! Because the entire success of the wedding (being that I walked away from a completely no-headache wedding budget, on the strength that my father refused to pay for a wedding w/vegan food) depends on the food being fan-freakin'-tastic, I stressed to the high heavens about finding the BEST vegan catering, & it was no easy feat!! Sooo many caterers I contacted were comin' at me w/some vegan 101 stuff, it was scary 9when again, I'm playing to a 90% carnivore crowd!) A-N-D veg-friendly usual suspect vegan caterers never returned my calls/emails!! So funny, you experienced my veg catering 101 for an event w/carnivores worst nightmare....but I too went to an event w/Rory at UCLA not too long ago & she knocked my vegan socks off! Now you've so intrigued me, I have to look into this organization as well!! :)

¡Yo Soy Liz! said...

Bummer about the wedding situation! What ended up happening? Did you find a decent vegan caterer? Just out of curiosity I have looked into vegan caterers in LA in the past and there is at least one that sounds good, but damn its pricey!!!