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A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom animal-friends-40-photos-1.jpg “So what’s so strange about having a best buddy that looks a little different from me?” Editor’s Corner Essay: Spiritual Pollution? Greek.jpg Several years ago, my family and I had dinner at a pleasant Greek restaurant by the ocean. We ordered promising-looking vegan dishes and, when the waiter brought them, tucked in. I was a little puzzled by mine, which seemed to have a major ingredient that I couldn’t recognize; I thought it might be a mushroom new to me. When the waiter returned to ask how we were doing, my daughter Fay-Ellen asked “Does my dish have cheese in it?” A suspicion popped into my mind: my mouth partly full, I asked “Does my dish have meat in it?” The answers were yes and yes. We hadn’t noticed that the two vegan dishes we had ordered had Greek names very similar to dishes centered in cheese and hamburger. The waiter had mis-heard us, and because I hadn’t (intentionally) eaten meat in decades, my memory of the taste had grown dim. With a feeling somewhere between faint queasiness and vague horror, I excused myself as best I could and disappeared into the women’s room to spit it out and flush it away. Often I say a prayer for an animal whose mutilated flesh I see, but I was too disturbed to think of it. Barbara, a friend of mine who has been veg for an equally long time,, has even stronger reactions to such mishaps: she becomes physically sick. Such an incident happened to her on one occasion when we were dining out together with our spouses; learning from the waiter that she was eating meat, she became alarmed and anxious as well as queasy. We visualized surrounding her with healing light, and to the relief of all, she did not become sick. Another friend, Norma, who had grown up in a household that kept kosher, said that her mother would likewise become sick if she found she had inadvertently eaten something in violation. As many of our readers who are ethically-motivated long-term vegans or vegetarians know, when we accidentally eat animal flesh, many of us feel polluted, whether slightly or deeply. The feeling is akin to guilt, yet intention, crucial to guilt, isn’t there; the violent acts that put the meat on our plates were totally against our will. It is as though we have violated a taboo, yet it is one that we ourselves helped to bring into being. It is akin to--or an expansion of--that taboo which virtually all persons and cultures accept, against eating the flesh of our human kin. That horror has an element of awe in it, as though it were somehow akin to the Holy, although it’s a polar opposite. Our taboo has analogies; there are already taboos in our Western culture (milder than the cannibalism one) against eating certain animals, especially dogs, cats, and horses, who, as companion animals, are felt to be honorary humans. Most Westerners are shocked to hear that many Chinese eat dogs and cats (while they themselves see no problem with eating cows and chickens.) For vegans, having learned that all animals, whetherdog26n-3-web.jpg Dogs being delivered to Chinese market furred, feathered or scaled, are also our kin, the taboo has expanded to cover all flesh. But we know that other animals are not honorary humans; rather, “living by voices we shall never hear,” they are worthy in themselves of our respect and care. They are like us, and yet not like us. Our position is not quite the same as, say, that of Indian Brahmans, who have been part of a large vegetarian subculture for centuries. Ours is a more radical departure in that eating the “meat” of certain farmed animals not only obtains among more than 95% of the (US) population, but until recent decades has been been believed essential to human health by virtually all laypersons and professionals. Many still believe it. What do we make of the appearance of what appears to be an essentially new taboo in the midst of a context which resists it? Taboos have often been seen as ancient, deluded ideas among primitive tribes; but all cultures have them, and some are in flux. In the history of anthropology, scholars have varied a great deal in their understanding (or incomprehension) of taboos, and more recent ones have tried to correct misunderstandings arising from their forebears’ cultural and subcultural prejudices. This is an area where all but experts should fear to tread--and my field is not anthropology but religious studies. Issues of taboo do figure in it, but are secondary in my particular area. Thus without venturing anything based on a general theory, I will restrict myself to a few elementary comments on their ethical / spiritual implications. The central point is that taboos, in our own as well as in other cultures, must be questioned in regard to the moral impact they have on the individuals who observe them, on the sentient beings targeted by them, and (when relevant) on the earth; they should be subject to all-encompassing compassion. Some are obviously very harmful to everyone involved: those against female equality; those against interracial equality, friendship, and marriage; and those against same-gender sexual relations and marriage. These three taboos are all in process of losing, to some extent, their earlier strength and prevalence. Compassion means that the sooner they lose their hold on society, the better. At the same time, if the people who actively oppose them show contempt toward those slow to change, much harm can be done--as painful recent developments in the US may illustrate. Without charity and respect for all, reaction may build, and delay healing change. It goes without saying that the taboo against eating any flesh, in contrast to harmful taboos, is based on what is vital, life-giving; its spread is crucially important to the physical and spiritual well-being of farmed animals, of human health, and the health--perhaps the survival--of the planet’s biosphere. The wellbeing of many people in developing countries, and of wild creatures, is also involved. Since so much hangs on this, it is crucially important that we pursue it with the same respect and charity so important to working toward ending harmful taboos. The animals and the earth certainly don’t need a great surge of even stronger resistance. Of course there are taboos that don’t fit into either of these extreme cases; some, such as avoiding work on the Sabbath (as they may interpret work) by Jews, are beneficial to those affected, though not often directly relevant to others; some taboos protect from infections; some, like avoiding bathroom talk in social situations, are a matter of good manners; some are morally neutral. Taboos can conflict with one another, as in the well-known dinner situation where a vegan’s unwillingness to eat animal products on the table is taken as a violation of good manners, a self-righteous insult to the company. (Advance planning can ease the situation.) Unhappily, some common-sense taboos such as avoiding those with dangerous infections can result in abandonment and even greater suffering for the sick. FrancisSplendor.jpg We can find inspiration in the stories of great souls such as Francis of Assisi, who overcame his greatest taboo-driven fear and kissed a leper, and prison reformer John Howard, whose compassion enabled him to overcome the dangers of contact with typhus--a life-threatening infection for which there was then no remedy--and of potentially violent prisoners, in order to investigate and expose the prison hellholes of his day. (Howard’s story, from the May 2012 PT, is reprinted in this month’s Pioneer column.) Compassionate love can enable us to harness the life-giving power underlying the best taboos, and strengthen us to oppose the worst ones with Grace; it can overcome the fear of suffering, degradation, and death to bring about healing for taboo victims in a wise manner. Divine love is stronger than horror, stronger than death. --Gracia Fay Ellwood. Sources: Conflict, Holiness and Politics in the Teaching of Jesus by Marcus J. Borg Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas Unset Gems "Humans--who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals--have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them - without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us." --Carl Sagan, from Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1992 --Contributed by Angie Cordeiro Does anyone have evidence as to whether Sagan was or was not veg? NewsNotes Scotland Publishes a Ban of Wild Animals in Circuses Thanks to activists’ mobilization of widespread public opinion, the Scottish government is considering a ban of the use of wild animals in circuses; it is expected to pass. See Scotland Moves Forward --Contributed by Marian Hussenbux Cargill Sells Off Its Feedlots Cargill, the largest privately-held food and agriculture company in the world, is selling off the last of its feedlots in order to invest instead in plant-based “clean meat.” This doesn’t mean the feedlots are closing down, unfortunately, and Cargill will continue to do business in “beef.” But it does appear that they have heard the answer blowing in the wind, and are moving in the right direction. See Wind .DogRescueBus.jpg --Contributed by Judy Carman Rescue Express Keeps Busy The Rescue Express is one of several organizations that transport companion animals by car, van, bus, or plane from overcrowded shelters, typically in warmer states, to areas such as the Pacific Northwest where the demand for rescue animals is higher. See Rescue Inc. LAUSD Launches Vegan Lunch Los Angeles School District will experiment with a pilot program for vegan lunches for the children in the 2017-2018 school year, thanks partly to the efforts of a teenage activist and PCRM’s Neal Barnard. See Pilot and Program . Letters Dear Peaceable Friends, My mother’s family are from rural Indiana; they were dairy farmers, back in the 1940s-50s. We used to go to visit their farm for a week or two almost every summer. One summer in the late 1940s we were there and had just finished a typical enormous dairy farmers’ breakfast of bacon, eggs, bread and butter, cheese, milk, etc. Walking along the kitchen sidewalk with my father, I asked him “Why do we eat all of the things we just ate, when the cows, horses and other animals graze on nothing but grass and are all much larger than we are, and all of them are in excellent health? My father’s response? SILENCE I have been asking that very same question for over sixty-five years, and getting the same response. Ninety-nine percent of the general public have no idea why they are consuming what they are consuming. --Theodore Schmidkonz Theodore Schmidkonz is a longtime Friend. Dear Peaceable Friends, [Regarding] “Eternal Consequences, That’s What!” It’s interesting how you tie the subject to Near Death Experiences. I get my best understanding on such topics by reading in the Vedas [and the Gita], scriptures that address these matters directly and spiritually. From a perspective of presence, near death experiences speak of events remembered in past lives. Bhagavad-Gita, 4th chapter, 5th verse: “The Personality of Godhead said: Many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” But sometimes we remember parts of past lives, and those memories may be forms of near death experiences. --Gerald Niles Sometimes experiencers do indeed report having relived past lives, in addition to their present one; others relive only events in their present life.--Editor Pioneer: John Howard (Jr.), 1726 - 1790 john-howard-Drawing.jpg John Howard was born in London, England, in 1726, the son of a wealthy upholsterer; his mother, whose maiden name was Cholmley, died when he was five. His father, much occupied with his business and a strict disciplinarian, sent him away from home to a property he owned in Bedfordshire. Furthermore, the boy was described as "a sickly child," with severe bronchial attacks, all making for a bleak childhood. He attended boarding schools for seven years, but claimed that he learned little; after that he was apprenticed to wholesale grocers in Watling Street to learn business methods, but was unhappy there as well. One bright area in his early years was friendship. A few friends he made in his youth, including his cousin Samuel Whitbread, were friends for life. Going Veg, Getting Well The death of his father when he was sixteen resulted in his inheriting a substantial fortune. His first expression of independence was to quit his apprenticeship and take a tour of France and Italy, after which he again settled quietly in London, apparently in modest lodgings. During this time he became very sick for a long time with "nervous fever," and was devotedly nursed by his compassionate landlady, Sarah Loidore. He adopted "a strict regimen," which probably means that it was then he became a vegetarian, eating mainly vegetables, fruit, bread, and milk or tea. He followed this regime all his life thereafter. I have not been able to learn whether compassion for animals was part of his motivation, but judging from his character, it seems entirely possible, even likely. Under this sound diet and his landlady's ministrations, he recovered. Perhaps Mrs. Loidore saved his life; perhaps she was the first person in his memory to show him maternal tenderness; in any case, his gratitude was such that he married her, although he was twenty-five and she was fifty-two. This unworldly union ended two years later with her death. Howard gave her few belongings to needy neighbors and set out again for the continent, this time Portugal. A Grueling Adventure During this journey something happened which was to affect the later course of his life powerfully: the packet ship Hanover on which he sailed was captured by a French privateer, and the passengers and crew were taken prisoner. They were given no food or water during the 40-hour journey to Brest, and continued in severe deprivation for six days in a dungeon there. After further imprisonment, eventually Howard was exchanged for a French officer. The first thing he did as a free man was to go to authorities and take decisive action on behalf of his former fellow prisoners.HowardStatue.jpg This traumatic plunge through no fault of his own into the underworld of a horribly abusive system did not at once launch his prison reform career. He settled on the 200-acre estate at Cardington in Bedfordshire which he had inherited, and became a country gentleman. He was not interested in social success, fashionable clothes or events, or wielding power; he dressed simply and socialized only with his few close friends. Two years later, in 1758, he married again, to one Henrietta Leeds, also a compassionate person but this time his own age. Howard's generous views did not include female equality, but he was a kind-hearted patriarch, and the marriage was happy and fulfilling. Compassionate Country Gentleman With Henrietta's full support he set out to make their estate a little Kingdom of God. At that time, most workers were illiterate and lived wretchedly in dark, cramped, thin-walled cottages. At considerable expense, Howard bought larger ones and remodeled them to make for decent housing. He set up a school for the children (there was, of course, no free public schooling for workers). Furthermore, he was responsible for the workhouses for the homeless people of Cardington, which at that time were usually terrible places; these he also reformed, and managed them well. He was much loved by the poor whom he benefitted; for example, his gardener, when later recounting his memories after Howard’s death, could not keep back tears. Howard also took time to do scientific work in meteorology, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society. This sense of compassion and responsibility stemmed from a powerful spiritual experience consonant with his strong Christian convictions. He was a "dissenter." I have not found any particulars, but have been assured that he was a Baptist by Betty Horn, an alumna of Howard (now Samford) University in Alabama, a Baptist institution named after him. Howard was exceptionally open-minded in his spirituality, quite willing to worship in churches of other denominations during his travels when there were none of his own available. His happy married life was brief. After only seven years, Henrietta collapsed and died in his arms a few days after giving birth to a son, John III. The child grew to become a difficult and unhappy person who spent the later years of his life in a mental asylum. Howard, having lost his own mother when he was small and having received no paternal nurturance, made his father's mistake of sending his son away at a tender age--a factor that probably contributed to (though it doesn't explain) John III’s disastrous life. But he loved his son; his friend Samuel Whitbread said that "young John was never an hour out of his thoughts." Champion of Prisoners Not until age forty-seven did Howard find his primary calling. In 1773, despite being a Dissenter, he was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire. This was a merely titular position, with no duty but attending the Assizes. When he did so, one of the first things he learned was that even when a prisoner was found innocent, he or she was returned to gaol (jail) if unable to pay the gaoler's fee, because gaolers received no salary. To find out whether this crazy, unjust setup was limited to Bedfordshire, he set out to examine the other gaols of England, only to find it everywhere. Furthermore, he found that the gaols were nightmarish places, dark, reeking, and disease-ridden, often with either no sanitary facilities, or inadequate, overflowing ones. Howard made careful records of all he found. For example, he describes a gaol in Oxfordshire as follows:john_howard_Color.jpg Two dirty day-rooms, and three offensive night-rooms: That for men eight feet square, one of the women's, nine by eight; the other four and a half feet square: the straw, worn to dust, swarmed with vermin: no court: no water accessible to prisoners. The petty offenders were in irons: at my last visit, eight were women. He presented his data to Parliament, resulting in the passing of bills freeing prisoners held only for nonpayment of fees, authorizing salaries for gaolers, and dealing with some prisons’ health problems. But Howard knew that passing legislation is one thing, and getting it enforced is another. He continued his investigations, visiting gaols throughout England, Scotland, and Wales, many repeatedly. Not satisfied with laboring for reform in his own country, he made a number of journeys to investigate prisons in Continental countries as well. In 1777 he published the first edition of his book The State of the Prisons, setting forth his detailed descriptions and statistics, and recommending various changes that would not only improve the lot of the prisoners, but also the security and order of the prisons. The book established him as an authority throughout Europe. Later he investigated "hulks" (prison ships) and "Lazarettos" (plague-infested ships), even taking a voyage on one of the latter, and including this data in an expanded edition of his book. After seventeen years of grueling travels, on a trip through Russia (in what is now Ukraine) in 1790 he caught typhus in Kherson from a prisoner he was tending, and died. He was sixty-four. Modest Hero It would seem almost incredible to most that a sick, psychologically abandoned child should have grown into so caring and robust a person. He traveled many thousands of miles, usually on horseback to air out his clothes from the stench of the gaol he had recently visited (he of course preferred to change, but such was not always immediately possible). He took heat, cold, and sleep deprivation in stride. More than that, over and over to face walking through human wastes, fleas, lice, and life-threatening infection, moved by compassion for the sick, depressed, desperate, or violent prisoners there--whom he could not count on helping, and friendship with whom was itself taboo--shows remarkable psychological strength. (One is reminded of the heroic work of undercover investigators in factory farms and slaughterhells.) Howard credited his simple vegetarian diet with his ability to keep his health for so long, and there was surely much truth to this. But there was also an extraordinary spiritual power in him, something of the saint. His friends said he had an air of purpose, serenity and vigor that seemed to surround him like a magic cloak. His own comment on his dangerous work was "I fear no evil." He was quoting Psalm 23, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." An admiring public, from commoners to royalty, heaped praise on him, once raising funds for a statue in his honor, but he would have none of it, and insisted the moneys be returned. Of course he could not stop them after his death. Besides the example pictured above, there is a marble statue in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and a replica of it in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences in Samford University. A large obelisk monument (pictured) was constructed over his grave in the Ukraine, with an inscription that reads "Whosoever thou art, thou standest at the grave of thy friend." --Gracia Fay Ellwood Books on John Howard's career are not readily available. This essay is based on online sources, primarily "John Howard: Portrait of a Hero" by a member of the John Howard Society of Alberta. Book Review: Even Vegans Die Carol J. Adams, Patti Breitman, Virginia Messina, Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion. New York: Lantern Books, 2017. pp. xviii + 127. $14.00 softcover.evenvegansdie.png The well-known vegan spokesperson Dr. Michael Gregor asks, in his spirited Foreword to this work, why the author of his How Not to Die would write on behalf of Even Vegans Die. The answer, he declares, lies in a distinction between How Not to Die and a putative book How to Not Die. He does not say vegans, or anyone else, will never die, but there are ways that need not be the ways they die: from the results of eating meat and other animal products, from inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, from lack of exercise and the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, from disturbed mental states and poor handling of stress, all of which are factors in declining life-expectancy in wide swatches of the U.S. population today. Even Vegans Die is a short but essential book that makes some points, and imparts some information, that many vegans in their enthusiasm may not want to hear but which they must confront for their own quietude of mind, and in their care for animal and human others. First, how do we deal with the observable fact that someone we know who eats meat three times a day, smokes, drinks, and hates exercise, seems never to get sick and is living to a ripe age, while long-time vegans who do everything else right as well, may get cancer or MS in their forties? The response, of course, is that the better health of vegans, which has been demonstrated scientifically, is a matter of statistical average; but life is infinitely complex and exceptions there are to every average. Not only that, but as the title indicates, we will all die of something. The authors' main concern is how vegans feel about such variables, especially when they themselves are the victims. If despite veganism and healthy living we come down with heart disease or a mental ailment like clinical depression, does the supposed incongruity only make it worse? Do we fall into an inner shame and despair? Again, it's a matter of realizing that nothing is guaranteed, and that the spiritual benefits of veganism ought to make us not only more compassionate to animals, but also to other vegans who get sick, and not least to ourselves. Perfectionism, blame, and healthier-than-thou attitudes in the movement can make painful situations worse. A thoughtful reader may feel the charmed circle that some vegans set up around themselves and their kind, as though they were different and better in all ways from the rest of the human race, is perhaps a product of the sin of pride which, according to the “seven deadly sins” model, is the root of all others. The remainder of the book is largely devoted to practical, ethical, and spiritual advice on caregiving, death and dying, mourning, protecting our legacy, and the final resting place. Much of this is not particularly vegan, though it is sensitively applied to vegans both as caregivers or the ones to whom care is given. There are useful lists of things both to say and not to say, to do and not to do, in these intense and difficult human situations -- and also as applied to beloved animal companions. Many will find the advice profoundly useful. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Even Vegans Die is a concise volume with a very limited though important content. Despite "A Note of Welcome to Readers Who Are Not Vegan" up front, it is clearly intended primarily for enthusiastic vegans who need some plain talk. The words about the constraints on veganism's health benefits could almost be discouraging, unless one is ready to look them in the face and go on. Even talk of animal rights is in one place critiqued as too individualistic, and the concepts of interdependency and care preferred. The interdependence of all beings is certainly a true and profound concept, as is the imperative to care the ultimate basis of compassion. But I would say that "rights," both human and animal, are values too deeply embedded in western culture and constitutional theory since the Enlightenment to be put down. The obvious deep compassion of many activists who employ rights language is also worth mention. We might also mention that with all the talk of dying, death, and mourning, the belief in an afterlife, common to most religions, takes up only half a sentence. It is as though accepting death, rather than holding to the oft-maligned "denial of death," means no more than acting responsibly as one takes the end of this particular life to be the ringing down of the final curtain. There are many and varied views on this, of course, and the authors are entirely justified in not committing themselves here. But I might mention that the editor of The Peaceable Table, Gracia Fay Ellwood, deals with some of the implications, for both humans and animal well-being, of survival of death as based on evidence, not only on religious faith. Such treatment appears in three essays of her book Taking the Adventure: Faith and Our Kinship with Animals, which also cites the more extensive work on survival in her earlier book (based on her doctoral dissertation), The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Near-Death Experiences, put out by the same publisher as Even Vegans Die. It would have been well had our authors at least mentioned that evidence-based as well as faith-based belief in survival of consciousness can be an enormously helpful factor in making it possible to accept death, and, and, in some ways, even look forward to it as an adventure.BoyBatArnold.png Despite limitations, though, Even Vegans Die is a book strong both on compassion and common sense, and a work that belongs on any vegan bookshelf. Make sure it is on yours. --Robert Ellwood Children’s Book Review: A Boy Called Bat Elana K. Arnold. A Boy Called Bat. Illustrated by Charles Santoso. 2017.1 92 pages. $16.99 ($21 in Canada). Our sweet young hero is indeed called "Bat, "but his legal name is Bixby Alexander Tam. The family name Tam is a word in both Hebrew and Yiddish, and means "innocent," "perfect," "simple"--fits him perfectly, any way you interpret it, and points to a possible (or probable) Jewish origin. The same might be said about Israel, Bat's classmate, destined to become his friend. One day, Bat's mother, a veterinarian, rescues an orphaned baby skunk. Her assistant, Laurence. makes a sling to carry the baby animal, and Bixby volunteers to carry the little polecat. Laurence puts the sling on the boy, and announces: "Now you're a marsupial bat." (p. 110) The joke confuses Bixby a little; he is very literal-minded, and has trouble with paradoxes, puns, sarcasm, and slang. He falls inside the spectrum of the condition known as Asperger’s, though the fact is not spelled out in the text of the story (it is mentioned in one of the blurbs). A person with Asperger's can, however, be a good animal caretaker. Bixby points out, quite correctly. that there are no marsupial bats, but he has no lack of what he really needs: loving kindness towards the orphan. Bat initially wants to name the baby polecat "Stripy"--not very clever, though at least better than "Stinky.” However, his sister convinces him to name the little one "Thor,” because he was born on a Thursday (which, of course, means Thor's Day,). Bat and Israel become friends thanks to a shared interest in little Thor. Bixby not only wants to shower his invincible loving-kindness on little Thor, he also has some intellectual curiosity on the subject. So he writes a fan letter to Jerry Dragoo, PhD. Dr. Dragoo is not a fictional character, but very much a real person, as Ms. Arnold reassures us. (I guessed he was, to judge from his name: what writer of realistic fiction would invent a name like "Dragoo"?) This gentleman is interested in improving the reputation of skunks and our understanding of them. His extensive studies of the beasties established that they are a separate family, the Mephitidae. Previously, people thought them to be Mustelids, like weasels, ferrets, and the like. Unfortunately, many people who lack a knowledge of zoology foolishly think that skunks are rodents, which may be a factor in their poor reputation. (Of course the main reason for that is their olfactory weapon--but when one thinks of the level of damage done by human weapons of defense, let alone offence, these beautiful little black-and-white critters start to smell better and better!) Clearly, this book is as educational as it is heart-warming and compassionate. It is intended for elementary-school children, who certainly should read it, but it is suitable for wise grown-ups of any age. I recommend it without reservation. --Benjamin Urrutia VeganLasagna.jpg Recipe Hummus Vegan Lasagna 9 pieces lasagna noodles 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed 5 ounces hummus 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 1/2 cup chopped spinach 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 26 ounces Marinara sauce Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles until they are still a bit underdone. Crumble drained tofu with your hands until it resembles the texture of ricotta cheese. Add in hummus, nutritional yeast, spinach (squeeze out water if using frozen and thawed), garlic, salt, and basil. Using your hands, mix ingredients together until a creamy, ricotta-like texture is achieved. In a baking dish (7x11 or 8x8), pour in enough sauce to cover the bottom. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top, breaking them if necessary to fit the pan. Top the noodles with enough ricotta cheeze to cover evenly. If you made 9 noodles, you can make 3 layers with less cheeze. Or use 6 noodles and only make 2 layers with more cheeze. Top cheeze mixture with more sauce, then noodles again, then more cheeze. Top that with the rest of the sauce. It's OK if it looks like a lot of sauce. Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy! --Alexis (See Vegan Lasagna ) We Ellwoods had this dish for an Emmaus feast recently, and found it scrumptious! Poetry: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772 - 1834 Xanadu.png Kubla Khan In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round; And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon-lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail . . . . And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid And on her dulcimer she played,Coleridge.jpg Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight ’twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.