Let me start off by welcoming you to the first day of VeganMoFo! VeganMoFo is a grassroots event that evolved from a community of vegans who love to cook, love to be vegan, and are passionate about sharing their love of vegan food with the rest of the world.
I promised last time that this post would be happy and uplifting, and I will follow through with that promise because I have a few items of wonderful news to share!
1. Remember Almost Heaven Kennels, the puppy mill about 2 miles down the street from my house? The PSPCA raided them a year ago today, and the owner Derbe Eckhart has been on and off of trial ever since then, appealing every charge and denying ever treating his animals poorly regardless of the horrible pictures proving otherwise.
About a week ago, Eckhart FINALLY pleaded guilty to counts of animal cruelty. When my dad read this aloud from the paper, I had to run out from the kitchen and ask him to repeat what he just said, because I couldn’t believe my ears! Now he can finally be sentenced and rightly punished for all the grief he’s caused the animals in his kennel.
Eckhart’s sentencing date is set for November 16. He can get up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500, and I hope he gets the full sentence possible because the man deserves it. It’s not like this has been his first time on trial for animal-related charges… it’s actually his third. Multiple animal welfare activists (including myself!) are saying they hope he gets treated in jail the way he treated his dogs in his kennel.
Now, let me ask you something. Would you want the man responsible for this cruelty to be grooming your dog? When Eckhart pleaded guilty, he asked that he be allowed to continue grooming dogs at a business in Fogelsville. Thanks to the detective work of columnist Bill White, we now know that this business is Wentz Canine, a place notorious for selling dogs from puppy mills and often targeted by the Lehigh Valley Puppy Mill Watch. The owner, Thomas Wentz, isn’t exactly advertising the fact that Eckhart is now working for him… why would he want to?
2. On to the connection of this blog entry to day 1 of VeganMoFo. My mom, the ultimate meat-eater, has been reading up on how animals are treated on factory farms (she’s currently reading “Dominion” per recommendation from a coworker). She told me that she would consider going vegan if only she could find vegan food that she liked! She’s a really picky eater, so she challenged me to find vegan foods that she will like. She requested a stew for dinner yesterday, so I made one:
She shot down any ideas I gave her for a more interesting stew (such as squash, black bean & chipotle, or roasted eggplant & tomato), opting instead for a basic veggie stew. It contains onions, garlic, celery, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, roasted red peppers, and tomatoes. She never liked beans, but for the sake of veganism wants to try incorporating more into her diet, so there are some red kidney beans in there as well. I made whole wheat biscuits to make the stew a complete meal.
Yesterday was the perfect day for me to make stew for my mother, because about 10 minutes after I started making it she came home sick from work, so it was good that she didn’t have to worry about making herself something for dinner. Instead, she had a healthy, freshly made veggie stew to help her feel better. She was napping when I finished cooking the stew, so I wasn’t there when she ate it, but I later got this text message from her:
“Stew is delicious! I’ve packed some 4 lunch. My coworkers will b jealous.”
My mom has also started eating the vegan bread I eat instead of what she used to get, and using Earth Balance margarine instead of butter! She even had me pick up some canned pumpkin so that she can make pumpkin cake with the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. She still eats meat, but has cut back drastically… she hasn’t bought any from the grocery store in two weeks!
I’m so proud of how far she’s come since I first told her I was going vegetarian, and look forward to keeping this blog updated with her vegan ventures. Although I doubt that she will ever become full-on vegetarian or even vegan, every little bit counts!