Yes, at this point it seems like I could come up with a reason for a waffle party any time of day, any day of the year. Well, you’re probably right! However, those of us in the U.S. celebrate Independence Day today, and one element of it has a particular irony: hamburgers and hot dogs. Many Americans could not imagine a July 4th without these items on their grill. Yes, many of us celebrate our own Independence Day by consuming products linked directly to the unnecessary enslavement and suffering of other living creatures. This is already obvious to many of you, but I’ll admit that the thought never would have crossed my mind four or five years ago.
In some cases, our ceremonies take on an even more sinister tone, e.g., in the case of “animal roasts” where an entire animal will we brought out before a celebrating crowd. Is the violence-driven bonding and silent proclamation of power over another formerly living being really so different than that of say, a mob of racist people watching in delight as another human being of a different color hangs to their death, or a group of homophobic men tying another person to a fence and beating them due to their sexual orientation? Or is it simply that the recipient of violence is different? These are certainly not comfortable things for any of us to think about, let alone admit to ourselves. It may not be a coincidence that many of these celebrations also involve heavy drinking; perhaps it helps us to detach ourselves from the face that is suddenly clearer to us. And such detachment and denial leaves us at risk of the same violence through which people may turn on one another. If such concepts are entirely new to you, resources such as this clip from the documentary “Earthlings” may help to make such connections.
Fourth of July picnics are a huge economic driver, and it is one of the busiest days of the year for many food retailers. Unfortunately, many of the products picnickers and grillers purchase are far from vegan or vegetarian.
If the weather’s nice, you’ll probably want to be outside grilling some kabobs with tofu, onion and other veggies, or perhaps some seasoned portabellas or homemade bean burgers. However, should rain be expected where you live (it is here in the ‘Burgh!), break out the waffle iron, pull out a few good vegan waffle recipes, and invite a few friends over. You can even throw one the morning after the big barbecue. Just keep the firecrackers away from the hot waffle iron…