Veganism isn’t 24-7 tofu; it’s about different grains, beans, vegetables and fruits.
It’s dinner time on a spring night in Schmidt House, and the evening meal is laid out on the common-room table: a stir fry of broccoli, kale, carrots, onions and daikon (an oversized radish); brown rice; pureed spinach and potato soup; mesclun with carrots, cucumbers and mung bean sprouts; and a fruit salad of apples, bananas and oranges.
Vegans, vegetarians and other grazers have long figured in the Sarah Lawrence student population, but this year they had two houses of their own, Schmidt and Brebner. They were part of a co-op created last fall by Angelica Kushi ’05, who says that one of the reasons she chose Sarah Lawrence was its traditional support of the vegan/ vegetarian lifestyle.
“I was raised macrobiotically, which is based on Chinese medicine,” she says. “You eat local organic food; nothing too refined or from far away. It’s a way of eating in harmony and balance with nature.”
The co-op students—who are vegan—cook for themselves, and even like cleaning up. The regimen, they say, goes to the issue of how to treat time, and the human relationship to food: A meal prepared by people you know promotes relaxation, conversation and the taking of one’s time—even when conference projects, rehearsals and meetings lurk hungrily in the shadows, waiting to gobble time’s leftovers.
“I grew up on fast food,” says Elizabeth Santiago ’05. “I couldn’t afford a $6.50 salad, but I could afford a $2.00 burger. Here I spend less and eat better. Before I came here I didn’t know what azuki beans were.”
“To become a vegan you have to do it gradually,” says Manissa Maharawal ’05. Steps include eliminating obvious foods like meat, eggs and dairy products, as well as researching new eating possibilities. Eat flavorful foods, in variety. Veganism isn’t 24-7 tofu; it’s about different grains, beans, vegetables and fruits. It’s also about reading books so you know what you’re getting into.
“It’s not a restriction,” says Oakley Ogden ’05, who eats with chopsticks. “It’s a whole other universe of food.”
“It changes students at home,” she adds. “It used to be that students couldn’t wait to go home for Thanksgiving. Now, I don’t want to eat marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes.”
— James S. Bourne
Yummy Root Veggies
Courtesy of Angelica Kushi ’05
Cut up any or all of the following veggies, or feel free to use others:
- sweet potatoes
- regular potatoes
- whole cloves of garlic
Put a little oil on the bottom of a dish, then place veggies on top (dish should be deep and oven worthy).
Cover dish with tin foil; put in oven at 450 degrees for one hour.
Take out of oven, and put some butter (if you’re not vegan) margarine or olive oil on top. Sprinkle a little salt and then drizzle with either maple syrup or brown sugar.