Tag 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):


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


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:
The Discerning Brute
This Dish is Veg

Bacon Explosion, etc.


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.


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

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



Iowa State Fair: Food

I am just sitting in Des Moines, bored and unemployed, waiting for the fair and anxious to leave, but right now, I am mostly waiting for the State Fair. So, let me make use of my extra time to tell you about my favorite fair foods….

Cheese on a Stick: I got this at Urbandale’s 4th of July Carnival and it wasn’t nearly as good as it is at the State Fair, BUT I really enjoyed how the carney put my cheese back in the fryer AFTER I had taken a bite out of it. The best place to get cheese on stick at the State Fair is near the front gate in front of the Grand Stand.

Dairy Barn Ice-cream: I love ice-cream and the ice-cream from the AE Dairy Barn is very fresh and delicious. One year, they had cherry chocolate chip, but I have not seen it since, so I usually get strawberry. The AE Dairy Barn is located next to the horse pavilion and there is a booth in the Agricultural Building. I would not recommend purchasing Dairy Barn ice-cream and then walking through the animal barns b/c the fans will blow hay and dung on your ice-cream.

Salt Water Taffy: I prefer butterscotch, but any flavor is pretty great. I also like the robot man that stretches the taffy.

Whole Dill Pickles: So whole, so crisp, so delicious.

Cheese Curds:

Turkey Drumstick: Sorry, veg. These are pretty good.

i really like octopi

i love octopi

this guy is the best!!


europe trip: chapter 8 (stealing our way)

ugh: april 10th!!!


here is april ten…

fist thing… april 10 is molly’s birthday. if i don’t mention this, i’m sure there will be problems later… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

our WHOLE plan for the day was to go to the pompidou and eat a FALAFEL. alix knew of “THE BEST!!!” falafel place in all of paris, and, as a testament to our good fortune, it was very close to the pompidou!! l’as du falafel. it’s in le marais, the jewish quarter of town. we walked around eating falafel, looking for a good place to sit. WE FOUND A PARK!!! in this park were 2 kids, one lady with a stroller (minus baby) taking pictures, and a lot of people sitting and eating falafels. we felt right at home.

after devouring our israeli lunches, alix NEEDED cheesecake, so we got snacks. then we passed a gelato store, and we had to get that too. while walking toward the metro, eating gelato, natalie and alix were stopped by two korean ladies. turns out these ladies were taking photos for some korean fashion magazine and wanted to included my companions. i was looking great too, so i can only assume it was a magazine for GIRLS!!!

we said ‘farewell!’ to alix, sending her away to paint, while we ourselves turned on our heels and walked into the POMPIDOU. upon stepping foot inside this museum, we immediately got confused. after looking at some spinning thing and another of louise bourgeois’s large spiders, we found the line to get tickets. deciding this line was too long, we walked into the middle of some highschool field trip and gladly followed them through the two ticket taker gates.

let me tell you about the museum… natalie HATED it. well… i think she just got annoyed at a lot of the stupid art, and then got tired before we got to the cool art. i like the place, though. it’s another place i would suggest to paris visitors. especially if you can get in for free!!

being the seasoned veterans we now are, we walked back to alix’s apartment, hung out for a while, watched the ‘groove is in the heart’ video, and then went to various markets, shopping for dinner. natalie and alix also bought hairdye. the wailing wall’s new album kept us dancing while we cooked some beans and rice and vegetables, and after dinner, we began the HAIR DYEING PARTY!!! it consisted of an itunes party shuffle and two girls sitting on a bathroom floor, getting messy. you’re all jealous.

this was april 10.

gettin’ pwetty!

dangerous art.

dangerous art part2

this is our class

RECOGNIZE THIS??!!!!! not cool. stop stealin’ des moines art you !

natalie’s favorite piece.

from the back

this is what nightmares are made of

this wheel would turn every so often, making the monster twist slowly and noisily

natalie’s favorite piece

kinetic art makes your eyes bleed

paris is cute

that church in the background is the guy from montmartre!!! wow!

walk on art.


yes i will

practicing our model faces

natalie’s submission


alix and lelu

successful poses!


i found a chapeau!!!

viva la

dyeing party!!!!


europe trip: chapter 7 (the city of the dead)

here is april ninth:

april 9.

we spent the WHOLE DAY with alixandra’s family: ann, brad, zoe. they are cool people. brad and zoe showed up to the house shortly after we woke up. we warmed up all the leftovers in the fridge and ate a small meal. i’m not sure what ann was doing, but we were going to meet her later, near alix’s school. after lunch, we did just that!!! alix showed us where she paints and we got to see her paintings and all of the paints and painty-things, and other homemade concoctions they use there. THEN we went to a restaurant nearby where the waiter brought us 2 menus, 4 glasses, 3 napkins, and a cold crepe with nutella accidentally smeared on the outside of it (it was supposed to be a REAL nutella crepe. i.e. warm and with nutella INSIDE. plus, at no point were there less than 6 of us).

our plan for the day was to see pere lachaise (also known as “the city of the dead” because of it’s size and all the roads/districts) and montmartre, so after the quick snack, we went across the street to the cemetary. if you like cemetaries, you will like this place. lots of old graves and monuments and all the cool stuff you would ever want to see in a cemetary (minus zombies, skeletons, mummies, vampires, werewolves, ghouls, etc.). also… there are some famous people buried here. i don’t remember any of them except jim morrison and oscar wilde. we took a fun picture of alix and her family looking forlorn in front of a tomb. it’s going to be next year’s christmas card! after finding old oscar’s grave, we headed back to the entrance to meet stephanie. stephanie is one of alix’s friends.

NEXT we took the metro up to montmartre. tourists EVERYWHERE!!! the church looked really really cool, but neither brad nor zoe were feeling the steps, so we didn’t climb them. natalie and i will go back later and run them like rambo or whoever that guy was. we walked around and hung out in a park for a bit before riding back to alix’s apartment.

it was the family’s last night in paris, so they took everyone out to eat at “hotel du nord”. it’s not a hotel. it’s a restaurant. i know… confusing. it was very loud and there were lots of people, but it was fun. melissa, another one of alix’s friends, joined us there and we ate and ate and ate and ate for 3 hours. i said it earlier, but let me emphasize; alix and her family are cool dudes!

that’s about all that happened on april 9.

the sign translates to “fear street”

a normal intersection in the city

looking for housing?

sorry that last caption was so bad

this dude was all glass and iron. very cool. most are made of stone.

looks like a face?!

precious people!

axel peterson’s relative, i’m sure

this guy wins the spookiest statue award!!

same dude with a friend

just actin a ghoul!

eh? not bad!

this is oscar wilde’s grave.

i guess it’s tradition to kiss this. with LOTS of lipstick. i guess cuz he was a dandy?

another beauty!

okay. the pic is a bit small: two boys, man standing with dog, bust of some dude. YES!!!!

this is what i imagine my father’s grave to look like: man holding book.

i didn’t know we were supposed to be sad :(