The Peaceable Table

A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith

The Peaceable Table is intended for the mutual support, education, and inspiration of people of faith in the practice of love for our fellow animals and observance of a vegetarian diet

The Witness of Vegetarian Friends

The affirmation of the presence of the Divine Light in every one is undoubtedly the foundation for the Quaker commitment to peace and nonviolence. On rare occasions throughout the history of the Society of Friends, and increasingly in the last twenty-five or thirty years, individual Friends have spoken up urging us to recognize that presence also in nonhuman life, particularly the "higher" animals, and to condemn the exploitative and violent treatment of them that is the norm in our culture (and most other cultures).

Since most people, including most Friends, relate to animals primarily as the unrecognizable chunks of flesh that animals have become after being killed--their negation as conscious beings--it is crucial to this abolitionist program that we are vegetarian. For vegetarian Friends and other vegetarians of faith, to abstain from animal flesh is not only a matter of an individual's choice for health care, but follows necessarily from our recognition that animals are our kin, bearers of the Divine Light. It becomes a Concern about a cultural evil that violates three or even all four of our Testimonies. We cannot be easy in our own lives while our defenseless animal cousins are being abused and killed. Our commitment to Peace/Nonviolence is violated when we participate in their exploitation and killing by eating their flesh. Simplicity is also violated; in our affluent society we have plenty of plant foods available, and for virtually all of us, flesh-eating is not only unnecessary to health, but contributes to the risk of degenerative diseases. Animal agribusiness contributes in major ways to world hunger and the ongoing destruction of our planet's web of life; clearly, flesh is a luxury item out of keeping with simple living. Truth/Integrity is violated in more than one way. The misery and anguish of animals in the factory-farm system are hidden behind windowless walls, behind euphemisms (people eat "meat," not corpses), and behind cute, deceptive drawings in advertisements, because if the truth were known, many consumers would be repelled and stop eating the products. Furthermore, professing nonviolence as we do, we are in violation of our integrity when we insist on the right to have blood on our plates. Finally, some Friends hold that as bearers of the Light, the higher animals do not differ from us in any way that is morally relevant, and thus Equality is also violated.

The case against buying and eating animal flesh, particularly from the multiply-destructive animal agribusiness system, is clearly an overwhelming one. Some individuals and Meetings have been responsive, but in other cases, Friends with this Concern have been painfully surprised at the degree of resistance they meet. It is as though many listeners decline to look at the destructive situations to which concerned Friends point, and instead look only at the finger. This they perceive to be pointing accusingly at themselves and disrupting the liberty and good feeling of the Meeting community. Others remain as affable as before, but continue to eat flesh, even at Meeting events, as though nothing had been said.

We have long taken for granted that Friends are friends to those on the underside, the exploited and the victims of violence. To find one's religious community instead largely untouched by accounts of violence and unwilling to stop supporting it can be profoundly disturbing, leading to anger, depression, and alienation. We cannot stop such feelings, like intrusive relatives, from occupying our guest room for a time, but we can prevent them from taking over our house and pushing us onto the porch. We must remind ourselves that the vision of the Peaceable Kingdom is from God, and its realization is ultimately the work of the Spirit present in all. We need to encourage, teach, and inspire one another so that we will continue to turn to the Light and follow its leadings with courage and unconditional love for every being.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood


Hearty Peasoup

1 & 1/4 cup split peas
2 & 3/4 cups water or veg broth
1/2 teas. salt
2 teas. worcestershire sauce (can be omitted if vegetarian is unavailable)
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chopped veg sausage or franks
Sprig of rosemary
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

Put peas and water on to simmer; add salt, wor. sauce, rosemary and half the chopped onion. When peas are soft, in about 45 minutes, put through blender with the rest of the onion and the sausage. Return to saucepan. Add another half-cup or more of water as desired (useful for getting the last bit out of the blender). Reheat. Just before serving add the celery and garlic. Serves three.

The original of this recipe is from the The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. I made it vegan simply by exchanging chopped veggie franks for pork sausage. I also made a few other alterations. Note for those who are gluten-intolerant: "Tofu Pups" veggie franks are gluten free.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood

Spud Stir-Fry

1 & 1/2 medium potatoes, diced fine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup peas
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
2 teas. worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of paprika
1 teas olive oil

Stir-fry potatoes first with oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. After a time add the onion. If peas are raw, add at the same time as onion. Add seasonings. Wait until nearly done to add thawed peas and bell pepper; taste for doneness of potato. After removing from heat, add garlic and stir. Serves three.

Breakfast Fruit Puree

Five ounces tart berries (about 2/3 cup), fresh or thawed
Medium to large banana

Mash together, preferably with fork to save as much fiber as possible. Blender may be used if berries are too firm.

Spread on hot cereal and enjoy. No sugar needed. Serves one person amply. For those who would like to like oatmeal but have trouble with the consistency, this puree goes a long way to make that healthy dish not only palatable but delectable.

Mother-Approved Spaghetti

3 oz. spaghetti per person (whole-grain spelt tastes better than regular whole wheat); cook in purified water if possible

Sauce: (or use ready-made sauce if pressed for time, and add a handful of raisins)
2 onions
firm tofu, cubed
2 cloves of garlic
cup of mushrooms, sliced
2 cans tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can sliced olives OR handful of raisins
pepper and oregano to taste

Saute first four ingredients in a little olive oil. Simmer the second four in a separate pot; add sauted ingredients, stir. For weight-loss, all may be cooked together without oil.

1/2 cup ground nuts (walnuts and almonds are especially nutritious) for topping.

Serve over drained spaghetti. The raisins and nuts make it so interesting that cheese is not so much missed by beginning vegans. The mother of the title refers not only to the human being who created the recipe, but also to those of the bovine persuasion....

Quinoa and Millet Pilaf

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion
1 large carrot
1 teas gound cumin
1 cup millet
1 cup quinoa
5 cups water
1/2 teas sea salt

Chop onion finely, dice carrot. In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent; add the carrot and saute for 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the cumin, stir for another minute, then add the millet and saute for 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, saute for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the water and salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Fluff before serving.

—Maria Elena Nava

Review: The Peaceable Kingdom

The Peaceable Kingdom. Produced by Tribe of Heart, 2004. 77 minutes.

The Peaceable Kingdom is actually a tale of two kingdoms. This stirring documentary takes an honest look at the world of factory faming; it also introduces viewers to Farm Sanctuary, a safe haven for abused, neglected, and abandoned farm animals. The founders of Farm Sanctuary, Lorri and Gene Bauston, began taking mistreated farm animals into their yard and home in the 1980s. The organization they founded now owns a 175-acre farm near Watkins Glen, New York, where the group continues to provide care for more than a thousand rescued animals, as well as offer lectures and workshops. There are cabins for overnight guests to stay in while they learn about factory farming, eat vegan meals, and visit with the animals. (The group has a second refuge near Orland in central California.)

This video has a number of painful scenes depicting cruelty to animals. In grainy, sometimes shaky footage with washed-out colors, we see the treatment of chickens, pigs, cows and calves in stockyards and slaughterhouses. Faceless workers prod animals with electric rods, beat them, de-beak baby chicks, separate baby calves from their mothers, and drag crippled animals by one leg. These dreadful scenes give an important look at the reality of the system that abuses and destroys living creatures for gain and for the satisfaction of human appetites.

These views of hell contrast startlingly with paradisal scenes of profound hope and overwhelming compassion. Rescues of distressed animals, scenes of healthy and happy animals in the vividly green fields of Farm Sanctuary, are featured prominently. The film also features interviews with both Lorri and Gene Bauston, Howard Lyman, the cattle farmer turned animal activist, and others who speak candidly about a past in which they condoned maltreatment of animals but who have now opened their eyes and hearts to the suffering created by animal agribusiness.

Though this film is difficult to watch at times, it was without doubt even more difficult to make. I commend the people of Tribe of Heart, Farm Sanctuary, and all other people and animals who helped make the film a reality, It is a valuable contribution to the bettering of the world we share with all of God's creatures.

—Fay-Ellen Ellwood


Marjorie Emerson and her new friend Lindy

...Compassion and Do No Harm seem so basic...

...For years I chose to "not think about the suffering of the animals" as I enjoyed the taste of meat and had been taught meat was needed to build a healthy body. Of course, I have since learned this is not true, but a hoax perpetrated by the meat and dairy industry. Finally, at the Theosophical camp Far Horizons, I was challenged by Jennifer Raymond—vegetarian nutrititonist and cook, author of The Peaceful Palate. She asked me how I could be so compassionate as to take my dog to the vet for minor surgery and yet allow other warm blooded, sensitive animals to suffer. I saw the "error of my ways" and have been vegetarian every since. When others ask why, I explain, "It seems unkind to animals to kill and eat them." Another factor in my choice was effort to raise my vibrations to be a better healer. Each higher level of training required a "higher" level of food intake—strict vegetarian diet for those at highest level.

My experience with family and friends has been that they thought (maybe still think) my choice to be vegetarian is "weird." At first, some made jokes about it. I didn't respond, but continued to demonstrate my commitment by my food choices. Eventually they got used to it. There have been occasions when someone "new" served something with small amounts of practically undetectable meat mixed in. Since I don't get physically sick, as my healer friend in London does, I blessed it and ate it. It seemed rude to make a big deal out of it. In my healing training we were reminded that allowing negative emotions to take hold is worse for our vibrations than eating meat. Anger is the worst.

When I'm seriously questioned, I try to give short, polite answers suggesting at the very least that those eating meat should recognize that a sentient being's life was taken. Could they not pause to give thanks and bless the animal?

I think insensitivity and ignorance lie at bottom of many people's eating choices—as well as most of what is going on in the world today.

Keep up the good work.

—Marjorie Emerson, Ojai, Calif. Worship Group

The Peaceable Table is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1983 and 1995. Following its example, and sometimes borrowing from its treasures, we hope to have articles for toe-in-the-water vegetarians as well as long-term ones, poetry, letters, book and film reviews, and recipes.

The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the August issue will be July 31, 2004. Send letters and articles to or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023; send reviews to We hope to operate primarily online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy will be available for interested persons who are not online. The latter are asked to donate $12 (USD) per year after this first issue, which is free. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name, server and advertising notices are welcome.

Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Review Editor: Fay-Ellen Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Maria Elena Nava
Technical Service: Richard S. L. Ellwood