Special Blogging Against Disablism Day Post

1 May

Today is the 9th annual Blogging Against Disablism Day!

 You may be aware that many members of the Naked Vegan Cooking crew have disabilities and/or mental health problems and that we are often involved with disability activism.

 Together with some of our friends we have collected some examples of discrimination and oppression that we face as disabled people along with explanations of why it happens and some solutions that you can help us work towards.

 

Greta with their wheelchair.

 

Experience: I get shouted at in the street for taking a few unaided steps because I usually use a wheelchair.

Why this happens: Some people have the perception that if somebody uses a wheelchair they are never able to walk, so if they do walk they must be ‘faking’ needing a wheelchair. In reality most people who use wheelchairs can walk short distances or can walk some of the time but it is painful or unsafe for them to do so all the time.

Solutions: Don’t ever assume someone is ‘faking’ a disability or illness. Don’t shout at people in the street. Spread the word that there are many different reasons that people use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.

 

Experience: I have been told, ‘you don’t seem autistic, you seem really smart and articulate’.

Why this happens: Some people believe that no autistic people can be smart or articulate. In reality autistic people have a range of smartness and articulateness. Some people also think that ‘not seeming autistic’ is a compliment. In reality many people don’t see their autism as something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.

Solutions: Don’t try to compliment someone by telling them they don’t seem like they have a certain disability. Don’t assume people are ashamed of their disabilities or would rather not have them. You could just say ‘you are really smart and articulate’ and that really would be a compliment!

 

Experience: People often randomly touch me, hugging me or patting me on the head, when I am out in my wheelchair.

Why this happens: Some people view people who are in wheelchairs like children, or assume that they must having a learning disability (although it is also totally unacceptable to hug or pat people with learning disabilities without their permission!). They feel inclined to touch wheelchair users in a way that they would not touch people who don’t use wheelchairs. In reality it is never OK to touch someone without their consent.

Solutions: If you want to hug, pat or otherwise touch anyone, then be sure to ask them first and if they don’t seem enthusiastic then back off. This also applies to touching someone’s wheelchair or other mobility aid without permission, some disabled people see wheelchairs/canes ect. as extensions of their body and will be rightly offended at them being picked up or pushed without permission. Spread the word that nobody should be touched without their consent.

 

Experience: When I watch films, music, sound effects and adverts are always much louder than dialogue, forcing myself and other people who experience mild hearing problems to either turn the volume on our devices up so background noises are too loud, or to strain to hear the dialogue.

Why this happens: Some filmmakers are not aware or do not care that loud background music or sound effects mean that people with hearing problems cannot enjoy their films.

Solutions: If you are making a film then ensure that background music and sound effects are significantly quieter than dialogue. If you watch a film that seems to have this issue then write to the producers letting them know.

 

Experience: Almost every day people on the train refuse to give me a seat, despite my cane, because I ‘don’t look disabled’.

Why this happens: Some people think that all disabled people will look a certain way, for example having a missing limb or using a wheelchair. In reality any person you come across during your life may have a disability, you will only know if they tell you.

Solutions: If someone asks you for a seat on public transport (or you think that they might need one) then you should assume that they need it and give it to them, unless you have a reason (for example disability or pregnancy) that means you are less able to stand. It not your job to police who is and is not disabled.

 

Experience: Sometimes I will spend lots of my time and energy getting ready to go out to an event, only to be told when I get there that there is no wheelchair access, then everyone at the event stays inside and I just feel stupid and go home to bed.

Why this happens: Lots of event organisers do not consider wheelchair access during the planning process, and many venues do not have wheelchair access.

Solutions: If you are organising an event ensure you choose a venue that has wheelchair access. If there is no way you can make sure the event does have wheelchair access, then be sure to publicise this well in advance. If you own or run a venue then prioritise making sure your venue is wheelchair accessible.

 

Greta next to their wheelchair.

 

While many of our friends wanted to share examples of the oppression and discrimination they face as disabled people, we also had friends who wanted to express the joy and hope they experience as part of their disability. Such positive experiences do not lie in contrast to negative experiences, or represent a binary consisting of people with optimistic or pessimistic perspectives, being a disabled person is a complex thing that all of us experience in multiple ways.

 

Experience: I’m proud of who I am. I am lucky to still be here. I have a wonderful family and I am joyous. Every day is a gift. People need not be so afraid of disability, after all that is the root of hatred. We are all stronger and more resilient than we know until faced with challenges. I’m so alive and still as awesome as anyone else.

 

If you would like to learn more about disability and disablism I would recommend starting with this excellent article about the social model of disability:

 http://www.xojane.com/issues/i-am-not-a-person-with-a-disability-i-am-a-disabled-person

 You can find out more about Blogging Against Disablism Day and other blogs taking part here:

 http://blobolobolob.blogspot.co.uk/

 If you have have more experiences of disablism you want to share then please leave them in the comments!

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Penne al Pomodoro e Vodka / Pasta in Vodka Sauce

27 Apr

This delicious pasta sauce is the perfect. The vodka cuts through the creaminess of the coconut milk and gives the sauce a “clean” feeling. I piled the chilli’s into this dish (I always tend to use more than listed in recipes because I’m a chilli fiend) and the vodka made the heat of the chilli feel cleaner and more bearable for those housemates who aren’t so keen on chilli. Definitely making this again, it is delicious!

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Ingredients: 500g of penne pasta, 200ml of tomato passata, olive oil, two fresh tomatoes, 1 white onion, 3-4 cloves garlic (add more if you like!), basil leaves, 200 ml coconut milk, 2 shots of vodka, 60 g of vegan marg, 1 tsp crushed chilli, 1 fresh red chilli (optional), salt and pepper, vegan parmesan (optional)

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To make the sauce, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil on a low heat until soft. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, passata, coconut milk, basil, and chilli. cook for 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water with a pinch of salt and some olive oil until al dente.

Heat the marg in a large pan until melted and toss the pasta in until all the pasta is coated in marg. Add the shots of vodka to the sauce and season with salt and pepper, mixing well. We served the sauce onto the pasta topped with some wilted purple sprouted brocolli.

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Baba Ghanouj with White Chocolate

14 Apr

The wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings. The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others. When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we willingly hear the other’s truth, and most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love. – All About Love, bell hooks

This is delicious. You should definitely eat as much of this as you can.

Ingredients: 5 cloves garlic, 3-4 medium aubergines, 75 ml fresh lemon juice, 150 ml tahini, 120 g white chocolate, 1½ tsp. ground cumin, dash of salt and pepper, 1½ tsp. smoked paprika, finely chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds to garnish.

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Stick the whole aubergines under the grill until the skin is charred and blackened and the flesh is soft. This should take about half an hour to 40 minutes, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, fine chop the garlic and parsley and break open the pomegranate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and let cool for a bit.20140225_184230

When the aubergine is soft, take it out from under the grill and let cool. Peel the skin off the aubergine, retaining the soft flesh. Add the aubergine pulp, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, chocolate, tahini, lemon juice, and paprika to a bowl and mash up with a fork or blend with a stick blender. Check the seasoning, and serve topped with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds.

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Thoughts on the “Single Man Problem” in naturism

9 Mar

(For those of you who haven’t come across the term, the “single man problem” basically refers a perceived gender imbalance within naturist spaces, with men outnumbering women.)

I’ve been thinking a bit about how we as a community conceptualise this gender imbalance issue within naturist spaces, and what this particular conceptualisation tells us about the naturist community as a whole. I find it interesting that the problem is couched in terms of it being a problem with single men, rather than simply male dominance on the whole. It’s as if no matter how overbearing an individual man may be, as long as he brings his wife along than his impact of the gender dynamics within the space is neutral. Whereas a single man, who could potentially be an awesome feminist who calls out other men if they are lecherous, overbearing, or talk over women is seen as less welcome because he doesn’t have a woman companion. As such, I don’t think the problem is with “single men” but rather, men in general, or the behaviour of some men (regardless of relationship status).

I appreciate that for a lot of clubs it would be impractical to base it on behaviours instead of numbers, especially when most of the problematic behaviours aren’t necessarily creepy just mildly annoying, or somehow difficult to call out. However, I do think the focus on numbers over changing the behaviours of men within naturism is focusing on the symptom not the cause; a concerted effort amongst naturist men to change the way that they behave is a necessary part of addressing this problem, and one that currently isn’t really being discussed.

Another aspect of the “single man problem” is it sets up this sense of compulsory heterosexuality within naturist spaces. By making the problem of male dominance specifically about “single men” it assumes that all naturists are heterosexual, and by extension, that all naturists should be heterosexual. How does this impact on gay, lesbian, or other queer-identified naturists wishing to access these spaces?

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Easy Rainbow Salad for 100, Spicy Rainbow Salad and Pasta with Tofu, Kale and Apple

19 Feb

This last weekend the naked vegan cooking crew were cooking en masse for 100 people for the Radical Routes gathering. For those of you who do not know, the NVC crew live in a Radical Routes housing co-op. This means we are part of a network of housing cooperatives, working cooperatives, and radical social centres which seek to offer help and support to each other, and to grow the cooperative movement.

The gathering was 2 days long stretched over the weekend, and Jess and Xen were tasked with cooking the Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch for approximately 100 attendants. On Saturday we cooked a veggie chilli with jacket potatoes, a rich black bean and dark chocolate mole, a simple tomato salsa and a rice salad. On the Sunday we cooked a Sweetcorn Chowder, accompanied with simpler version of the Potato and Dill Salad  and a rainbow salad. Below you can find a recipe for the rainbow salad we served, plus a spicy version we made just for our co-op the day after. Also we are sharing a great quick and easy pasta recipe that goes great with either version of the rainbow salad. 

Rainbow Salad for 100

This rainbow salad was a delicious accompaniment to the sweetcorn chowder, and managed to feed about 100 people (with each person taking a serving spoonful of salad).

Ingredients: bunch of fresh coriander, bag of carrots, half a big red cabbage, half a big white cabbage, red onion, couple of cloves of garlic

Fine chop the cabbages, red onion, coriander and garlic, and grate the carrots. Assemble in a big serving bowl.

We served this with a dressing made from whizzing up olive oil with hemp milk, mustard seed and dates.

Greta with Rainbow Salad

Spicy Rainbow Salad

Jess modified some of the leftover salad for a spicier version. The basic recipe (for an amount which would fill the average salad bowl) is:

Ingredients: about 1/8th a red cabbage, about 1/8th a white cabbage, 2 carrots, half a bunch of coriander, 4 tomatoes, couple of garlic cloves, 1 chilli (we didnt de-seed because we are hardcore chilli fans, but you might want to)

Assemble as above, basically fine chopping everything and adding to the grated carrots.

Spicy Rainbow Salad

Pasta with Tofu, Kale and Apple

Jess served the spicy rainbow salad above with this simple pasta dish.

Ingredients: block of smoked tofu, 4-5 cloves garlic, handful of kale, an apple, some basil pesto, pasta.

For the basil pesto: whizz together fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and seasoning.

For the tofu with kale and apple: Cut the tofu into bitesized pieces and saute in olive oil until browned. Add some chopped garlic, an apple (in chunks), and chopped kale. Saute gently, adding a splash of water to ensure the kale steams slightly rather than goes dry on the heat.

Add the pesto and tofu-kale mix to cooked pasta, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Pasta with Tofu, Kale and Apple

 

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Fred’s Cranachan

8 Feb

We got this lovely veganised version of a traditional Scottish desert in from a friend of ours called Fred. The recipe is written in a narrative style which is really interesting as it takes you through the journey of creating a new veganised recipe, we have put the crucial info you need to make it in bold for easy reference. We haven’t had a chance to try it out yet but should be cooking it up soon!  

 

We used to confuse this with Atholl Brose. Apparently many people do.

Wikipedia says:

One traditional recipe for cranachan is 3 ounces (85 g) pinhead oatmeal, 1⁄2 imperial pint (280 ml) double (or whipping) cream, and 2 tablespoons (35 ml) of whisky. The oatmeal should be toasted in a pan over a high heat then dust should be sifted out. The oatmeal is soaked in whisky overnight and then added to the whipped cream, with a little more whisky added to the mixture. Some raspberries are placed in the bottom of the serving glass before adding the cream mixture. An option is to break up some of the raspberries and gently blend into the mixture. The volume of whisky used may be adjusted to personal taste, but it should be a subtle hint rather than a strong flavour.

In MeatSpace:

Pinhead Oatmeal? Yeah, right. We have rolled oats for porridge. They will have to do. (Shame!)

Three Ounces of rolled oats is quite a lot.  Roast it in a dry frying-pan or skillet over a hot flame for ten or twelve minutes. Two Tablespoons of whiskey gets lost immediately in three ounces of rolled oats, even after the dust is sifted out. There wasn’t that much dust. Try five tablespoons. That’s better. We can add more later, maybe.

We have a 200g pack of KTC brand creamed coconut. The instructions say mix this with 450mls hot water and strain through muslin.  450mls is just of 0.75 pints: so we want 300 mls and about 140g from the packet.  Oops – this stuff is solid. There is no way I’m going to separate 140g of this dense sticky stuff. In that case, we’ll make up the lot and separate it as liquid. The extra 60g/150mls can go in bread.  In boiling water, it seems to have all dissolved. I don’t think we need to strain this.

Mix it all in together and leave it overnight.  The initial taste… disappointing! The coconut swamps all the other ingredients. You can’t taste the whiskey at all! So… let’s add the juice of a lemon.

That’s more like it. That makes a nice pudding. Or dessert. Or sweet. And actually, you can taste just a hint of the whiskey.  Tested with herself, and verdict is …yes! We have a dessert! Vegan Cranachan!

Fred's Cranachan

So, to recap, there was 6 tablespoons of whiskey, 3 ounces of rolled oats, ½ pint of coconut cream, and the juice of one lemon.  Roast the oats in a skillet, and soak them in three or four tablespoons of whiskey overnight. Add this to ½ pint of coconut cream and the juice of a lemon. 

Herself was toying with the idea of adding roasted almonds and grating 87% chocolate over the top. I’ll have mine straight.

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Chocolate and Orange Cake with Chocolate-Fudge Sauce

1 Feb

Hello lovely NVC readers!

As you have probably noticed our posts have been a bit few and far between recently. There have been significant technical difficulties (broken laptops and awful internet connections) which have stood in the way of regular posts. However we are still eating vegan food and being naked (at least some of the time!) It has also been super super cold over winter which has meant we have trouble being as naked as often as we would ideally like.

Thanks for sticking with us and we should have lots of lovely recipes and articles coming to you over the next weeks and months.

Speaking of lovely recipes, here is a truly excellent cake that one of our co-op mates  kindly made for us.

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Ingredients: 250 g margarine / butter, 300g brown sugar, 400g dark chocolate, 300g self-raising flour, 100g cocoa powder, half tsp salt, zest of 2 oranges, approx 300ml orange juice, mandarin segments.

For the sauce: 200g dark chocolate, 150g fudge, splash of soy milk / regular milk

Preheat the oven to 180’ C.

Cream the butter and the sugar in a bowl. Melt the dark chocolate on the hob in a bowl over boiling water, and add to the mix. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and add in the zest. Give it a good mix, and slowly add in the orange juice, until it looks about right.

Grease two cake tins, and position the mandarin segments in the bottom. Pour the cake mixture on top. Place in the oven for about half an hour, it’ll be ready when a knife poked into it comes out clean.

To make the chocolate sauce, simply melt together the chocolate and fudge with a splash of milk. It is seriously delicious.

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