Category Archives: food

VegNews Magazine Using Stock Photos of Meat Dishes

This story is practically old news by now, and I had no intention of publicly weighing in on the matter, but for some reason, I am very bothered by this situation. So, here it is:

April 13th, 2011 – Blogger QuarryGirl received an email tip from a reader who realized that a photo on the VegNews website of a veggie burger was actually a picture of a real hamburger from istockphoto.com. Both he and QuarryGirl left multiple comments on the VegNews site notifying them of the “mistake,” all of which were immediately deleted. In fact, the reader was told that his “inappropriate and mean-spirited commenting has violated the  policy of VegNews,” and that VegNews moderators would continue to remove his comments. After further investigation, it appeared that this was a fairly common practice on the site, and that images were even doctored to remove any meaty elements, such as the bones in the picture of spare ribs below (courtesy of QuarryGirl):

Before

vegnews realribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues   

After

vegribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues

April 14th, 2011 – VegNews released a statement in which they neither apologized nor promised never to use stock photos again (not even non-vegan stock photos). The statement begins with, “The entire VegNews community is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours.” Uhh…sorry? Wait…what? Are we supposed to be apologizing to them?

It continues with a sort-of sob story about how expensive it is to publish a magazine and trying to compete with mainstream mags and nobody was vegan eleven years ago, oh-my-god-how-sad. Oh, and they won some awards from Oprah and Martha Stewart in the process! And basically, they couldn’t have done all of this without using stock photos. Hey, that’s just “industry standard.”

It’s not like I have a problem with using stock photos, in general, but it seems pretty obvious that a vegan audience isn’t going to be to happy when they find out that they’re actually looking at a picture of chicken breast soup and not seitan stew. I think VegNews knew that, too, or they wouldn’t have kept it secret. Usually, if you feel like you have to hide something, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. Another thing that I’ve been wondering about is whether or not these photos, which are supposed to correspond with a specific recipe in the magazine, even look anything like the actual dish. I mean, when I make meals from my favorite vegan cookbooks and sites, like Vegan Dad, the dish I prepare actually turns out looking something like the picture posted on the site.

Which brings me to another point: there are many vegan food bloggers who take their own mouth-watering pictures to go along with the recipes they’ve created. If they can do it without making any money from what they post, it can’t be that difficult to get a decent point-and-shoot and some white plates and snap a picture of the actual dish. There’s no one on the VegNews staff with even a bit of cooking or photography experience who would be willing to make the dish at home and take a picture of it? Even if no one at VegNews could cook or take pictures of food, which would be really strange since that’s such a major focus of the magazine, I would rather go without a picture than see a picture of a dish made of meat that probably looks nothing like the actual creation. Seriously, you don’t need a picture of every dish. Most cookbooks don’t even have pictures for all of their recipes. Same goes for Vegetarian Times, another popular veg mag.   

Is anyone with me on this? Because I was shocked at how many bloggers and commenters defended VegNews’ actions. I first saw the story on Vegansaurus, but I wasn’t terribly surprised with their wishy-washy response because one of their writers also works for VegNews. Pretty apparent conflict of interests, although they don’t seem to think that it’s clouding their judgement. A lot of people think this is akin to airbrushing images of models and celebrities, but I don’t agree. I feel like most people who like to spend their time looking at  celebrities actually WANT to see them airbrushed and made up and wouldn’t like what they saw if the person wasn’t wearing any make-up. In short, people want to be fooled when they see that celebrity, and they allow it to happen. And anyway, when you look at a doctored picture of Jennifer Lopez, you still recognize her as Jennifer Lopez. As someone who loves to cook, yes, I love to see pictures of beautiful food, but it’s just as important to me that the picture is an accurate portrayal of the dish that I am so excited to make. If you have to sacrifice a little bit of the “beauty” to do that, which I don’t see why you would unless the food is just ugly to begin with and then you shouldn’t photograph it at all, then do it.

As a final note, a lot of people are also saying that this issue is distracting from the important matters; that is, animal cruelty, political issues that affect animal matters, etc. Maybe so, but is that the fault of the vegan public or the perpetrator? People were probably assuming they could hold VegNews to a higher standard and wouldn’t have to police a company with ethics as its main focus. To be sure, they are not the first ethics-touting company to screw up, and they are certainly not the last, but I think we have the right to be disappointed that we can’t even rely on people who supposedly share our values to represent us in the way that we would like to be represented.

More takes on the matter:
QuarryGirl
Vegansaurus
The Discerning Brute
This Dish is Veg

The Best Vegan… CUPCAKES!!!!

So Natalie threw this article in my lap today. It’s about some babe who goes by the name of Chloe Coscarelli. And that’s not all!!! It’s also about VEGAN CUPCAKES!!!

So… basically… Chloe went head to head with three of “the country’s top bakers” in the MOST ULTIMATE CUPCAKE CHALLENGE EVER! All three of these “top” bakers decided to be boring and make tried and true, traditional SNOOZEVILLE cupcakes, but our brave hero, Chloe, made all vegan cupcakes. AND DESTROYED THE COMPETITION! According to one judge, “[The cupcakes] were delicious. It was everything we were looking for in a cupcake.” So there.

Here’s the best part… Chloe posted the recipes to some of these award winning desserts (as well as other mouthwatering delights) on her blog. For example…


Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes


Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Maybe I will try to make these soon. I’ll make sure to let you all know how they turn out.

scott

marcel the shell with shoes on.

i am loving this short film called marcel the shell with shoes on. voiced by jenny slate (of SNL) and directed by dean fleischer-camp. so great!

via one of my favorite websites, VIDEOGUM.

nataliebeth

Lollapalooza 2009: Day 3

chocolate-chip-cookies

cookies

doggie-cookies

Cookies!!!!  yeah, I’m too tired and I think my eye is dying…and there aren’t many bands playing that I want to see.  So, I stayed home and made cookies.

AP

Public Art: Japanese Farmer Style

Crop art. A bit more advanced than what those worthless UFOs do. These pieces were created in rice fields by planting various types of rice in intricate patterns.


this napoleon and warrior can both be found in the Aomori Prefecture


these cute little ducks are hanging out in the Niigata Prefecture


Doraemon and some “Deer Scarers”.

scott

info/pictures stolen from Pink Tentacle

My Favorite Foods: Rainier Cherries

cherries-bowl2-500

This is important news: Rainier cherries are delicious!  Their insides are  juicy, yellow, sweet and probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted.  They were bred in a lab in 1952 and are a cross between Bing and Van cherries.  I read they’re super hard to grow and since they’re a relatively new fruit and probably have a lower production, they can be as much as a dollar a cherry (says Wikipedia)!  Their red and yellow skins are almost as pretty as they are delicious.  Best fruit of the year.  F pomegranates! 

-ninjagarden

5/3 Burger

53burger

  • 4489 Calories
  • 1.66 pounds
  • $20
  • Available at the West Michigan Whitecaps concession stand.
  • Free t-shirt if you finish it by yourself.

The Consumerist article here.

ninjagarden

Bacon Explosion, etc.

bacon650_331

The New York Times posted an article about the recipe for Bacon Explosion, which has 5,000 calories and 500 grams of fat.  See above.

_45397932_doner226getty1

Since I’ve mentioned one ridiculous food, I might as well mention Doner Kebabs, which have disgusting amounts of fat, saturated fat and salt.  Also, according to the BBC article, 33% of doner kebabs are mismarked for the type of meat they contain.

- ninjagarden

Austria Vs. Japan: “The Cannibal Of Japan”

i think this fits in the series?! probably a little more appropriate than the halloween costume edition

have you heard of Issei Sagawa? he’s the “godfather of cannibals”. if you don’t know him by that title, you might know him as THAT GUY WHO KILLED AND ATE A WOMAN IN FRANCE, ADMITED TO IT, AND NEVER WENT TO JAIL!

issei sagawa

in 1981, while attending the sorbonne academy, sagawa killed a fellow college student by inviting her over to his apartment and shooting her in the back of the neck. the obvious next step was to eat her butt.

” Suddenly a lot of sallow fat oozes from the wound. It reminds me of Indian corn. It continues to ooze. It is strange. Finally I find the red meat under the sallow fat. I scoop it out and put it in my mouth. I chew. It has no smell and no taste. It melts in my mouth like a perfect piece of tuna. I look in her eyes and say: ‘You are delicious.’ “

after eating some raw butt, he got out the old electric carving knife and sampled quite a few other parts of her body as well, trying a handful of cooking techniques. now, for most of us, becoming a cannibal would probably be good enough, right? well, not for issei… he decided this night was a good time to also become a necrophile. but don’t worry! issei isn’t just about fucking, mutilating, and eating humans, he also has a sensitive side – when he got tired, he brought the mangled corpse to his bed and lovingly slept along side it.

the next morning, he got up and decided to continue his feast. he would keep removing and preparing parts of her body until the flies buzzing around it became too much for him. when this happened, he began chopping her up into a bunch of little pieces that he would fit into his suitcase. this is the point where you would think the story would start to fall in line with other “chopping people up and putting them in containers” tales, but no, this one is special because most of those other stories don’t include a section where the killer gets aroused by his dismembment and uses a severed hand to masturbate. WOW!!

he fit all of the remains, minus some select pieces that he stored in his fridge, into a suitcase, got in a taxi, and went to a park to dispose of them. when some people saw him having issues with the suitcase, he panicked and ran off. human body parts were seen protruding from the suitcase, and the cops were called. a couple days later, sagawa was arrested and found to be TOO FUCKING CRAZY. he was put in an institution for a couple years, eventually being deported back to japan, where he spent aproximately one and a half more years in an asylum. then he was released. but don’t worry! this isn’t one of those cases where the disgusting murderer ends up living the rest of his days in squalor, shunned by society. no sir! issei is a regular damn celebrity; appearing on tv programs, writing restaurant reviews, and starring in softcore porn. he’s currently living in an apartment in tokyo, but has a passport to germany. THIS IS GOOD!?

issei sagawa

oh yeah. and he’s a painter:
issei sagawa painting
issei sagawa painting
issei sagawa painting

MORE INFO: 1. 2. 3.

you can find a documentary from 1993 on youtube right here. (i haven’t watched it yet, so i dunno if it’s worth it)

here’s a short piece about/staring sagawa:

and

here’s the video for “too much blood” by the rolling stones. the song was inspired by sagawa:

scott

related posts:

Jan Svankmajer – part 3

here are parts 1 and 2: J.S.PART.1._____J.S.PART.2.

and here is old jan’s food trilogy:

food – breakfast

food – lunch

food – dinner

 

scott