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Community Supported Restaurant: In Conversation With Angelica Kitchen’s Leslie McEachern

As a long-time regular of Angelica Kitchen restaurant in New York City, I’ve come to consider it a “second kitchen,” a place I feel good about supporting because it shares the values I keep in my own kitchen: High quality ingredients that provide a fair income to farmers who are working to protect the environment–and which provide nutrition without sacrificing any of the flavor–all for the reasonable cost afforded by buying direct.

And I am not alone. Since it opened its door in 1976, Angelica Kitchen has cultivated a loyal following, and their sustainable business model–maintained without serving alcohol (you can BYOB)–is a case study for success outside of the mainstream restaurant industry. Angelica’s is also one of the most popular vegetarian restaurants in New York City, precisely because it attracts a clientele that includes many non-vegetarians. In honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, I spoke with owner Leslie McEachern–who is being awarded for her long-time advocacy of small, local farms by the Northeast Organic Farming Association this month–about running a restaurant built on relationships. Read more

Bill Clinton Trades Fast Food for Whole Food

Last week, when asked about his new trim physique, Bill Clinton stunned CNN’s Wolf Blitzer by revealing that he has lost 24 pounds eating a mostly “plant-based” diet.

The former President told Blitzer that he mostly eats beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit and takes a protein supplement in his morning fruit and almond milk smoothie. Clinton underwent a quadruple bypass in 2004 and had two stents put in this past February after learning that one of his bypassed arteries was blocked again. While many commentators are hung up on his dramatic weight loss and the debate about the nutritional value of veganism, they are missing the most important story: Clinton’s change from a life-shortening Standard American Diet (SAD) to a plant-based diet of whole foods. Read more

Chelsea Clinton: Hudson Valley Girl? And a Vegan, Too!

Chelsea Clinton is so definitely getting married in Rhinebeck this weekend. All the signs point to it — like the one two miles down the road from Astor Courts (the presumed wedding locale), which reads: “Chelsea and Marc — congratulations from Rhinecliff’s Morton Memorial Library! Stop in for your wedding gift — your own free-for-life library card!!!” Read more

Sistah Vegan: A Rethinking of Race & Food

Blogger, author and Ph.D. candidate A. Breeze Harper has brought together a group of black women writers to deconstruct the notions of veganism in Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books, March 2010). In this book, she and 30 writers addresses veganism, often thought of as a white construct, as a way of life for many black women and a core part of their values. This book broadens the view of the vegan from the perspective of race, class, gender and politics. Read more

Peak-Oil Prophet James Howard Kunstler on Food, Fuel and Why He Became an Almost Vegan

I grew up in Woodland Hills, Calif., a nominally pastoral, petrocentric Los Angeles suburb, so peak oil prognosticator James Howard Kunstler’s dim view of our car-crazed culture really resonates with me.

Kunstler’s relentless skewering of suburbia, and his penchant for apocalyptic predictions have landed him a reputation as a cranky Cassandra. But as Ben McGrath observed while strolling around Saratoga Springs with Kunstler for a recent New Yorker piece, “Far from the image of the stereotypical Chicken Little, he was more like an amiable town crier whom the citizenry regarded fondly, if a bit skeptically.”

So, when a friend and I found ourselves headed to Kunstler’s neck of the woods for a conference recently, we arranged to have dinner with Saratoga Springs’ resident soothsayer. Contrary to his contrarian reputation, Kunstler proved to be an affable, upbeat guy. Read more