my not so blind faith

k’s new and wonderful job is in evenston and i must admit it tickles me pink. ok so actually it brings out the high-schooler in me. evenston was the town my friends and i would go hang out in for lack of more productive things to do. it was far enough away from home (20min drive) to be exciting and yet not going all the way into the city. in fact, evenston is a pretty cute little town with lots of interesting restaurants and coffee shops and was a wonderful place to hang out in as a youngtser.

i hopped a train north to evenston after work one day last week and met k as he was getting off work. then i took him out to dinner at blind faith café. this was the first vegetarian restaurant i ever went too as a young fifteen year-old, newly vegetarian me. i have vivid recollections of reading the definitions  at the bottom of their menu of tofu , seitan , and tempeh. i knew very little about these foods at this time.

needless to say, it has been years since i set a toe in blind faith. from what i remembered, the food was good but a bit on the hearty side and a little bland. how they have changed! they seem to have matured as i have and possess a bit more sophistication in their menu and flavor combos. our dinner consisted of split pea soup, roasted beat and caramelized pear salad ( both good but not mind blowing), kung Pao with baby bok coy (amazing), and peanut butter chocolate vegan cake ( double amazing!). i must apologize for the less then par quality of some of the images. k was a little embarrassed of me photographing all the food and asked that i not use a flash. i really needed a flash though and i won’t let him stop me next time!


going to blind faith got me thinking about when i became vegetarian. i was fifteen and my friend dianna carlson had a pamphlet from what must have been peta , and at that moment we decided to become vegetarians. it was such a trivial and nonchalant decision at the time and my mom was sure it was a phase that would last all of a month. It has been ten years and my decision has affected the course of the rest of my life. i am who i am and where i am today because of that little decision.

my moral, ethical, and political views and the way i live my life and the people i choose to surround myself with is all from this decision. it goes far beyond the fact that i do not eat meat or dairy products and do not wear fur or leather, affecting my entire view of the world. it affects how i treat people and everything else around me.

recently i e-mailed dianna (now living in arizona) to see if she remembered this. i was a little sad that she had no recollection of us becoming vegetarians together and is not one now. it goes to show how life’s moments can affect people so differently. things from our pasts that stick with us are funny and strange. i love dianna dearly and still consider her a dear friend and glad she was there when i made such an important change in my life.

i do not intend to make this blog an entire vegan rant, but there are a few issues i would like to touch upon. i invite further discussion from anyone that would like to have one with me.

i believe in sustainable farming practices and supporting local businesses even at a higher monetary cost. today’s american society is so far removed from the production of our food that we eat unknown items created in labs. a great movie to watch is food inc. i support the slow food movement. i like my food natural and chemical free. i also like all my body, bath, and household items this way.

i believe our current industrial farming practices are making people and the planet sick.

michael pollan  is a god amongst men to me. 

i am not a good american consumer. other then food, i buy very little. when needing to purchase things, do lots of research. objects need to meet certain standers for me in order to buy them… mainly vegan, organic, and fair labor; or i go to a thrift store.

i took some of my mom’s friends to karyn’s cooked one time. it was an interesting experience and opened up a lot of good dialogue. one of the ladies said to me “ so if I start thinking about the food i eat, then i have to start thinking about what’s in the air and my water too. it’s enough to drive oneself crazy!” i responded to her by saying that you start by making little changes and things start to come natural as new positive habits form.

please understand that i am not saying everyone has to live the same ways i choose to. i would just like all of us to question our habits and life styles every once in a while, think outside of ourselves and wonder if there is a more, social, environmentally, and ethically responsible alternative.

over the years my mother has been supportive of my vegitarianism and now veganisum. she has always kept soy milk in the fridge for when i come over and has been more than game to try any new vegan restaurant i suggest for lunch. she even indulges me by getting toufurky for thanksgiving. i always appreciate her support and have try not to take it for granted. however, i do not feel she understands why i eat the things i eat, or don’t, and live the way i live. they are hard things to understand. sometimes my mother feels i take things too far and stray too far from the norm. i say that i have not done so enough!



chicago is more known for slush then for light, white, fluffy snow. i lived in syracuse, ny when i was little and remember a winter wonderland full of sledding and snowmen. chicago snow is much too wet for a proper snowball let alone a snowman. however, last tue evening it came down, and was glorious, and broke a 125 year record . it came down and settled in a layer 12.5” deep.

at first, like most chicagoins, i was a bit less than thrilled. somehow all the project runway episodes as of late got the better of me and i made a less than sensible choice in footwear for the day. my feet stayed dry on the walk from k’s house, all through the bus and L ride. however, when the red line spit me out at north and clybourn the streets and side walk were nothing but slush and puddles; huge puddles, the kind you don’t even have a prayer of jumping over. needless to say, when i arrived at work my non-waterproof, albeit cute boots were soaked as were my socks and tights underneath. 

the heaviest snowfall started around the time i was getting ready to leave work. i was dreading going outside. i needed to make the 15 min walk to my place to see if a package from mountain rose herbs  had come and then immediately got on a bus to meet k and will at the music box  to see the imaginarium of doctor parnassus. i should just add that this could be my new favorite movie of all time and really recommend all of you run out at once and see it. no seriously. back to the point, i was not looking forward to having wet feet the entire rest of the evening and was quite cranky at the thought.

the way i take home is a series of side streets running parallel to north ave and half way through the walk is a large courtyard and a church. by the time i reached that place i was already pleasantly surprised at the fact that i was indeed walking on light fluffy snow and not slush. my thin soled boots made quiet and gentle imprints in the snow that were quickly coved by a new coat leaving no trace that i had ever been that way.

standing in the courtyard the stillness hit me. normally busy and bussing streets of joggers and people walking their dogs and toddlers were empty. it was dusk and the tungsten lights had come on from the façade of the church and everything was still. thom yorke’s harrowdon hill came through on my ear buds. to be quite honest, i stood there in the middle of that courtyard motionless until the song finished and then i played it again. i experienced a stillness that is a rare pleasure for a city dweller.

what froze me dead in me tracks was the light on the snow.  i know that photographers are always talking about the light but it is so true. i would have made that image just for the light but i was lacking a camera, which is, honestly, plain stupid. i don’t remember feeling such an urge to create an image in a long, long time and i was caught without the tools. a mistake that shall not be repeated and a good lesson.

there are no word for the image that laid before my eyes that evening. it brought me back to my first color photography class. i was hardcore into b&w and wanted nothing to do with color. boy, did color blow my mind. i learned to see light and color in ways that I feel most people don’t. c printing was some of the most enjoyable times of my life. 

thinking about this now reminds me of a conversation i had with my father around the time I was starting to learn color. i had been explaining to him that colors were more vibrant and saturated under and overcast sky as opposed to direct sun. that would be the reason i would get up at five am to go shoot. this seemed counter intuitive to my dad and he stated that he didn’t know if he agreed with me.

at that moment it was noon and harsh light. i told my father to look at the grass and remember what it looked like. at about five that evening i told my father to look at the grass again. i saw his eyes light up like a child. my father saw a glimpse of what i see and feel a lot of people don’t notice about light. i was happy to open my dad’s eyes to something new and share that experience with him. in addition, i think i was eighteen or nineteen at the time, it was the first time i was able to prove my point in an argument like that with my father. it was the first time that i had more knowledge and understanding about what i was talking about then he did. i remember being very proud of myself on that day. not a selfish pride and not in an “i beat my dad” kind of way but had gained knowledge and experience within my field and could be looked to as a credible source.

in other news:

the other day i started feeling the beginnings of a cold starting to nip at my heels. immediately i craved miso soup. i know if that sounds strange but do have an explanation, i swear. my mother is a nurse and by nature an extremely nurturing person. i had a pretty weak immune system up until i became a vegan and spent most of my childhood sick. however, my mom would always let me have sushi when i was sick (once again before i was a vegan) and to this day, i crave miso soup whenever ill.

it’s no wonder. nori is seaweed and a super food. nori is rich in iodine and iron and quite high in protein. it is also a good source of vitamin c, vitamin a, potassium, magnesium and riboflavin (b2) amongst having other benefits as most algae’s do.

so i came home and made a huge pot!





in other other news:
k made wonderful vegan chili, be joy made a wonderful raw salad, and care bear made samosas for our last souper (bowl) sunday and it was wonderful.