There Is Nothing Pretentious About Being a Vegan
A couple of days ago, I received a very angry email from someone in reference to an article I wrote about a restaurant. In the article, I mentioned that I wasn’t a huge fan of eating in pretentious restaurants. I also mentioned that I am a vegan. This did not sit well with the young man who emailed me. “You’re going to make fun of people for being pretentious when you’re a fucking vegan?” he wrote. “Fuck off.”
I went back and looked at the comments on the post in question. He was not alone in his sentiment.
One commenter, a man named Dante Thompson, told me that I was a “dick” for ordering vegan food. He also called me a “fucking hipster.”
Another guy named Riley Ulrich wrote, “You are a fucking piece if [sic] shit and you should be fired. Everybody hates you.”
The implication that I am a pretentious eater is odd to me. Above is an image of what I had for lunch today. A slightly miserable-looking faux-meatball sub. For breakfast, I had Doritos. For dinner, I intend to go to Taco Bell. Animal products aside, I eat like a particularly fussy child (or, at the very least, an adult skateboarder).
When I hit my 20s, I started trying to eat a salad or some other such healthy bullshit for at least one meal a day, because that feels like something a grown-up should do. But my heart isn’t in it. In an ideal world, I would eat pretty much nothing but meat and cheese served in or on some kind of gray carbohydrate.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where the best-tasting kind of foods are literally made from death and suffering.
This is why I don’t eat meat or animal products. Because meat and animal products are a giant fucking bummer. I don’t need to tell you where your meat and dairy come from, because you’ve already seen it. And you know it looks like a fucking miserable nightmare of seared-off beaks, bolts through brains, and twitching corpses on dirty floors.
And we can all agree it’s miserable, right? Regardless of whether or not you consume the end products of the meat and dairy industries, surely we can all admit that mass, industrialized death is not all that nice? There’s a bunch of other stuff I could go into here about greenhouse gases caused by the meat industry, or contaminated water run-off, or meat causing colon cancer. But that would be dishonest, because I didn’t consider any of that stuff when deciding to become a vegan.
I’m not saying that, because I try to avoid hurting animals, I’m somehow more ethical than you. Nobody is ethical. Humans are cancer. Everything would be better off if we were all dead. I’m typing this on a fossil-fuel-powered laptop that contains conflict minerals and was, I assume, manufactured in conditions that look vastly different from the conditions that I am working in right now.
I’m also wearing a shirt that cost $6. I’m not totally sure how it was manufactured, shipped to the US, and sold to me, but I’d imagine someone is getting shit on pretty heavily somewhere along the chain if the whole thing cost $6. And how awful is that? I’m wearing a shirt that probably made multiple humans miserable as it was being created, and almost certainly harmed the planet in a fairly major way, and I don’t even know where it came from or how it was made. There is no way of living in the modern world without doing morally reprehensible things on a daily basis.
What I’m trying to say is that I am a piece of shit. And so are you. And I don’t care what you eat. You can eat whatever, whenever, and however the fuck you want. As previously discussed, beyond the whole murder thing, I barely even give a shit what I eat. I definitely don’t have time to worry about what you put in your mouth.
Cannibal Cop and the Freedom to Have Fucked-Up Fantasies
As every middle schooler knows, the internet is a repository of strange shit. A few casual keystrokes can take you to Goatse, Lemon Party, Cake Farts, and a dozen other weird porn memes. A few more clicks and you can find photos of mass graves, diseased genitals, rotting animal corpses teeming with maggots, open wounds festering and dripping with pus. Most hardened internet denizens laugh (or turn away in disgust) and move on when confronted with the web’s dark corners, but occasionally, people end up curling up inside them and making a home.
That’s one way to describe what happened to Gilberto Valle, the tabloid-famous “Cannibal Cop” who just had his conviction for plotting to kidnap, kill, and eat a bunch of women overturned by a judge who ruled that all of the online discussions he had with others about murder and vorefantasies were just that: fantasies.
“Once the lies and the fantastical elements are stripped away, what is left are deeply disturbing misogynistic chats and emails written by an individual obsessed with imagining women he knows suffering horrific sex-related pain, terror and degradation,” Judge Paul Gardephe wrote in an opinion released Monday night that sided with the defense. “Despite the highly disturbing nature of Valle’s deviant and depraved sexual interests, his chats and emails about these interests are not sufficient—standing alone—to make out the elements of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.”
We Met the Girl Who Cooks in Her Coffee Maker
A few years ago, I briefly lived in Stockholm. My time there was punctuated by constant coffee breaks—fika, as they’re called in Swedish—because it’s so fucking dark all the time that you can’t stay awake without drowning yourself in black coffee. Swedes love their coffeemakers as much as they love pickled fish and IKEA and electronic music. They practically bathe in coffee; in fact, Sweden is the world’s third biggest coffee consumer per capita.
Then I heard about Katja Wulff, a Swedidsh blogger who repurposed her precious coffee maker into an all-purpose cooking machine. She still makes coffee in it, allegedly, but she’s also cooked pizza, fish soup, birthday cake, and something she calls “testicle tacos” using, exclusively, her coffee maker. Her recipes are compiled on the Swedish blog Kaffekokarkokboken (basically, “coffeemaker cookbook”) and, more recently, on its English counterpart Coffee Machine Cuisine. Both blogs are flooded with photos, taken by Wulff’s boyfriend Dan Sörenson, that prove just how weird the culinary arts can be. I spoke with Wulff about how the obsession all started, what she’s cooking on her new YouTube cooking show, and how to fry balls in the same pot you brew coffee.
VICE: So, where did this idea come from?
Katja Wulff: Back in 2009, I lived in a dorm and I shared a kitchen with lots of other students. I did not like to cook in that kitchen, because I’m not a very social person and the thought of hanging out with the other people sometimes creeped me out. They were all nice people, so that was all on me. And the other thing is that I’ve never liked to cook, didn’t know how to. There was this one day that I was extremely unsocial and tired—er, hungover—and I did not want to go to the kitchen. I thought about preparing my noodles in warm water from the sink but realized quickly that it must be much smarter to cook the noodles in my coffee maker. And it worked great! I was so proud of myself and started to think about what more I could cook with it. Soon my little experiment escalated and I never cooked in that kitchen again. I even got away from the mandatory cleaning week that each student got since I never spent any time there.
Wait, you don’t like to cook?
And yet, you write a cooking blog? It seems like the project is more about art than food.
That’s absolutely right. I think that Coffee Machine Cuisine is more of a creative or twisted humor or blog rather than a food blog. If you’re looking for great recipes, then read another blog. If you want to have a good laugh, I hope you’ll think Coffee Machine Cuisine is fun. It’s the same with the cookbook [Kaffekokarkokboken, published in 2011]. I want people to read the book from the first page to the last. You don’t do that with cookbooks, but this isn’t a cookbook. The blog and book aren’t about cooking great and tasty food—although I try all of the time. It’s about creativity and encouraging people to do whatever they like to do.