Saturday, September 26, 2009

Savor...Don't Run

"NYC Runs on Dunkin," says an ad for Dunkin Donuts. Those same words could describe the American cultural attitude toward food. Almost as important as what we are eating, is how we are eating. How can people put any thought into how their bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (for which three animals had to needlessly suffer: a pig, chicken and cow), when one is mindlessly eating it while walking down a busy street?

We run (and by we, I mean far too many Americans). We don't savor. We eat too much of foods that are bad for us, then feel guilty about it. We drink our coffee out of disposable cups with wasteful plastic lids, which will survive generations after the few moments of caffeine fix will. We get overpriced takeout in even more wasteful packaging: think plastic containers, plastic utensils (wrapped in more plastic), plastic bags. Plastic everything. We pay a premium for bottled water, but put little thought into how the food put into our body is produced, opting for the cheapest choice available. We pay $1 for value meals, but find the funds for premium cable, DVD collections and more. We eat out of convenience, microwaving $2 frozen meals to eat at our desks checking e-mail. We may hop on a treadmill to work off all of the food we shouldn't have eaten in the first place. We put little value on the real pleasure of eating. We speed through our day as quickly as possible. We repeat this cycle the next day.

This is not living to me, this is enduring. Our stomachs are full, but our souls are starved.

The disposable coffee culture is one I don't understand. I so wish we had a cafe culture in the U.S. (no, Starbucks doesn't count). I mean real cafes: think sipping cafe soy cremes in real cups (never, ever disposables), while people and dog-watching or lingering over the morning paper or the latest library book or a good chat with a friend. In a world of connectivity (e-mail, Facebook, cell phones), people seem to be oddly more disconnected from each other, I find.

I can't make it here at the moment, but I can get a soy hot chocolate, $3.50, from best thing closest to me: New York City's Macaron Cafe.

Make your own vegan hot chocolate at home for a fraction of the price. Try a version using cocoa powder, or just simply use your favorite non-dairy "milk" and chocolate syrup. Did you know the Hershey's syrup is vegan? Find out what other popular supermarket brands are too.

This friendly guy greets the cafe's visitors.

The owner here always has a friendly "good morning" as soon as you walk through the door.

Macaron is in New York City's Fashion District. As seen on Project Runway: Mood Fabrics.

I had the pleasure of hearing Project Runway's Tim Gunn introduce PETA Vice President Dan Mathews at his book discussion of Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir, in New York City some time ago. Tim even appeared in an ad for PETA. Tim, in my book, that means you're in.

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