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 nonviolent diet

God Has Given Them Joy


Photo by Jim Brandenburg


The well-known farewell speech of Father Zossima in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov includes a passage in which the saint says "Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble it, don't harass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent."

Although most of Zossima's speech seemed to me full of deep spiritual wisdom, this passage always gave me pause. I certainly agreed that we should not abuse animals, but even in nature, there is endless violence and pain in the animal world. In addition, vast human crimes against them seem to make for an ocean of darkness and anguish in which our precious animal kin were drowning. How could the wise Zossima have said that God has given them the rudiments of joy untroubled?

One cannot deny or minimize the suffering that results from predation, parasitism, exposure, and unfulfilled need among animals (and in fact this suffering in nature presents an extremely grave problem for theodicy). But it is a serious error to see violence and suffering as virtually the whole picture. I was unaware of the extent to which my view of the situation was informed by the effects of the Darwinian focus on natural selection as the central principle of evolution (together with other influences such as the theology of the Fall). "Nature is red in tooth and claw," goes the saying, which seems only too obvious. "Life feeds on life." Together with this outlook usually goes the conviction that "one can't fight it."

It is the "one can't fight it" stance which feeds and justifies human violence against animals. Spokespersons for animal agribusiness, responding to activists' charges of cruelty against animals, point out that their charges are fed and housed against cold weather and predators, security that they cannot expect in nature; "They get their next meal, which is all they care about," is a typical defense. If the situation of animals in nature is nothing but deprivation, violence and misery, human treatment of them in factory farms is merely a carrying on of the inevitable, or even an improvement over nature, and one can hardly find fault.

There are at least two problems here. One is a disturbing parallel to some of the early defenses of human slavery offered in reply to the charges of abolitionists. The plight of these people in darkest Africa, it was said, is even worse than their situation here: oppression, witchcraft terrors, rampant wars, horrors unimaginable. While there may be unpleasantness in their lot here, they have assurance of food and housing (and the immeasurable privilege of being exposed to Christianity). As to the obvious pains of servitude, the lash, and family separations brought about by the slave trade, with some inconsistency it was claimed that "the negro" was an animal-like creature who would go amok without the control of his betters. Furthermore, he lacked the sensitive feelings of white people; with a plate of food, and a holiday bottle of liquor, he would soon forget his troubles. (See Marjorie Spiegel, The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery) Obviously, the choices to see violence as the heart of animal life, and animals as having only the most primitive feelings, are equally suspect.

The central problem in the "one can't fight it" outlook is that the life of animals in the wild is no more an unrelieved nightmare than was that of Africans in their own countries. Animals do have joys. Wise observers such as Father Zossima and the narrator of "The Windhover" (see the poetry section) have long known this. In The Pleasurable Kingdom (reviewed below), ethologist Jonathan Balcombe presents and supports this truth, describing many pleasures that animals enjoy, including food, companionship, attachment, touch, and the gratification of doing something one is good at. It becomes abundantly clear that by enslaving, tormenting and killing our animal kin, factory farmers and their millions of beneficiaries have indeed, in Dostoevsky's terms, deprived animals of their happiness, and worked against God's intent. But those who treat animals with respect and kindness, and encourage others to do the same, are, to whatever small degree, furthering the realization of that intent in the Peaceable Kingdom.


—Gracia Fay Ellwood

We invite responses to editorials or any other feature of PT for our next issue's letter column:

News Notes


Legal Victory in Britain

The Animal Protection Agency (APA) is celebrating a High Court decision ruling that wildlife markets are illegal. The case was brought by Malcolm Haynes, a resident of Stafford, who saw an APA film on TV showing gruesome scenes of wildlife trading. He wrote to the Stafford Borough Council urging an end to licensing such events, but his concern was dismissed. On the APA's advice he brought a judicial review claim, urging that such pet markets are de jure illegal under the Pet Animals Act of 1951. The outcome of the review was that Justice Walker ruled in his favor.

This decision is important not only to discourage the sale of wild-caught animals, with its inherent cruelties, but to inhibit the threat of bird 'flu; wildlife markets are notorious as "mixing pots" of infection.

--Contributed by Marian Hussenbux
Quaker Concern for Animals

Visit to the Primates at Cefn-Yr-Erw

On the hot sunny afternoon of June 11, '06, my spouse Khalid and I paid a lightning visit to the sanctuary where the rescued baboons, Tom and Lola, are now living. You may remember Tom and Lola’s story in the April, '06 PT, and that Quaker Concern for Animals now sponsors them.

Joelle Kanaan, of Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) who rescued the baboons, was here for a conference, so she was able to check on their progress. Tom and Lola, smaller than I had expected, are still in the spacious purpose-built quarantine enclosure, but we were allowed to get near enough for Joelle to see if Tom remembered her after the four months of contact they had had in Beirut before his flight here in January '06. She spoke to him in Arabic, which he would have heard during the course of his five years in a cage on a Beirut street. He and Lola, much smaller than he, are obviously very attached, keeping close and grooming each other.

Cefn-yr-Erw is home to many other primates, rescued from all over the world, as well as wolves and domestic type animals ranging from rabbits to sheep, cattle and horses.

--Marian Hussenbux

Review: The Pleasurable Kingdom

The Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good by Jonathan Balcombe. London and New York: Macmillan, 2006. 274 pages. $24.95 hardcover.

This is a revolutionary book about what ought to be taken for granted: that nonhuman animals not only feel pain, but play, seek pleasure, and enjoy good sensations as intensely as we humans do. To be sure, some observant humans might acknowledge that "higher" mammals closely associated with them, their dogs, cats, horses, and perhaps a few others, seem to appreciate being stroked or taken for walks. It would probably be recognized that many species may have powerful sex drives, the fulfillment of which apparently brings satisfaction as well as reproduction. But beyond that, most of us may fall back on the familiar stimulus-response model, essentially holding that while animals act to avoid pain, positive pleasure is something reserved for the dominant species and those to whom its lords deign to give it.

No longer. Drawing from a vast amount of recent work in ethology (the study of animal behavior in nature) as well as personal observation, Balcombe makes a powerful case for animal pleasure. Indeed, he begins by arguing that we over-estimate animal suffering: that most animals in nature do not live in a state of continual fear, violence, and pain, but have plenty of good days as well as bad, with time for relaxation, games, and love. (This, of course, makes all the more inexcusable the regular brutality we humans inflict on animals in factory farms and other horrors.) He also contends we often underrate animal intelligence by comparing it to that of humans rather than in terms of its suitability for the animal's own requirement. While a wolf might not score high on a human I.Q. test, she would undoubtedly keep track of her pack and find means of survival in a harsh environment far better than we humans could.

Closely related to this notion is the idea that animals, like humans, enjoy what they do well -- flying, running, stalking, leaping -- and so do it not just for the sake of some end, but for the pleasure of the action itself. (As Alan Watts liked to point out, the purpose of playing music, or doing a dance, is not just to get to end of the piece, in which case the fastest musician or dancer would presumably be the best, but the timeless enjoyment of the journey. Are flying and singing birds, or running deer, or swimming fish, any different?) Likewise, the games that young animals, like young humans, play may have developmental or even evolutionary purposes, but that's not why the kids do them -- they're fun!

(A personal example: the family of small rodents who inhabit our attic engage in a variety of noisy activities, including chases which, considering the terrain, must be real obstacle courses. "Another matrimonial tiff," my wife used to remark, perhaps wondering what they found to fight about. It never occurred to us until reading The Pleasurable Kingdom, which describes some of rats' playtime activities, that our neighbors upstairs might be indulging in a rat form of tag, in fact whooping it up)

Balcombe also discusses the pleasures of touching, being together, and sex among animals, showing that once again they are not all that different from ours. He includes a very interesting, even disturbing, chapter on what he calls "transcendent pleasures" -- getting "high" by various substances which animals, like humans, have discovered, from catnip among cats to a reindeer's love for the fly agaric mushroom of northern Eurasia, also employed by Siberian shamans. Often animals seem to prefer these substances to food. In the animal kingdom the Sixties apparently are not over! Balcombe presents evidence some may find still more challenging, though I think it is patent, that animals are capable of aesthetic pleasure, in the beauty of flowers and sunsets, and in music.

Not all animals, of course, experience this whole range of pleasures. Yet Balcombe demonstrates that the pleasure-principle is not restricted to mammals or birds, but can be found in lizards, fish, insects, even the octopus, the most intelligent of the mollusks. (Of course, it is a fallacy to think that the ability to enjoy pleasure is directly related to intelligence; intelligence may help one to devise pleasures, but can also lead to suffering, as we know all too well; the two are not the same thing.)

This is a book with an impact. Though predisposed to accept some animal play and aesthetic appreciation, even I required some prodding through this book to recognize the tremendous range of such activity, and to realize it is not just purposive in regard to evolution, connected to mating, feeding, territoriality, or development, but is simply enjoyable, as we like to think are human games, dances, parades, or paintings. Of course an activity can be both fun and purposeful. We dance both for pleasure and to attract mates or at least bond communities, and we do sports for health and excitement alike.
The upshot is that, as so much recent animal research is telling us in so many ways, we and they are kindred all the way through, which makes our usual treatment of them so much more appalling. Promote this book to help get the word out.

--Robert Ellwood

Review: Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat!

Carol J. Adams, Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat! An A-Z Guide to Surviving a Conflict in Diets. New York: Continuum, 2004. 183 pages. $16.95 softcover.

We in vegetarian circles often get the lowdown on family food fights from the point of view of a "veggie" contending with uncomprehending and difficult parents, spouse, or other kin. Now Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian's Survival Handbook, has written a manual for the other side. While there is no real doubt where her sympathies lie, she fully understands that, for people who have taken eating meat for granted all their lives, a child or teen who has suddenly decided she/he will no longer do so can be puzzling, alarming, even infuriating. Addressing the parents with understanding and gentle, compassionate humor, the author endeavors to say what the young person perhaps cannot say, especially in the supercharged atmosphere of a tense dining-room scene.

The book is organized under the main heads "Family and Emotional Issues," "Practical Issues," "Nutritional Issues for Vegetarians," "Philosophy, Peer Relationships, and Traumatic Knowledge," and "What's Left to Eat," a recipe section oriented to teens. In each chapter, the material is organized alphabetically for quick access by a busy parent unenthusiastic about reading anything on vegetarianism. It enters, as far as possible, the parent's point of view. For example, under "Family and Emotional Issues," on "Control," Adams says

"As parents, there is a part of us that wants only the best for our child or children. We feel such a deep tenderness for their vulnerability and a desire to keep them safe and happy. But there is another part that feels frustration, anger, even intolerance, with this same child's wilfulness or resistance to something we desire for him. We think, 'How could he want this . . ..?' and we may be possessed by an accompanying irrational fury. We discover a desire to bring the child under control again . . . After the controlling part of us has prevailed, treating the child rudely, unlovingly, the loving part of us may surface again and be aghast at the controlling parent who ignored vulnerability and imposed control. When this happens with me, I ask myself, . . . 'What did I think I was losing so that I had to do that?'"

Another example: under "Practical Issues," Adams has this to say about "Books":

"At some point your child may ask you to read a book--or ten--on the subject of veg*nism [meaning either vegetarianism or veganism]. She may implore you to do so. You may not trust the book's point of view, facts, or author simply because your child has thrust it upon you . . . . most people do not enjoy being forced to read anything . . . This book in your hands may be the compromise."

As these examples and her previous books illustrate, Adams is a person of wide sympathies as well as one of the best writers around on being a vegetarian in a meat-eating society. Having walked the walk as well as talked the talk--living as she does outside Dallas in the heart of Texas meat country--she knows the score. It can only be hoped that Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat! will get to the people who need it, and not circulate only among the already converted (though it also contains information and guidance many vegetarians will find useful). It is a fun read as well. The cover, with its amusing Piraro cartoon of suspicious book-toting teenager and desperate roast-turkey-toting mother, should help to increase its appeal.

—Robert Ellwood and Gracia Fay Ellwood

Ice Age II: The Meltdown

A Twentieth Century Fox animated film directed by Carlos Saldanha and written by Gerry Swallow and Peter Gaulke. Starring John Leguizamo as Sid, Denis Leary as Diego, Queen Latifah as Ellie, and Chris Wedge as Scrat.

This film, a sequel to Ice Age, would in the old days have made an excellent double feature with An Inconvenient Truth (see review below). Both films deal with global warming and catastrophic climate change. In this movie a community of Pleistocene animals finds itself seriously threatened with drowning by the imminent melting of the huge glaciers that surround their happy valley. The animals do not always get along, and whether they will be able to stay together as a family is very much in doubt.

A vulture tells them of a possible means of deliverance. This action is strange and suspicious, since (as the vulture freely and cynically admits), he and his fellow scavengers will profit from the death of the others. Probably they are calculating that the animals will fail to escape, and they themselves will profit if all the valley's residents die in one place instead of being scattered about. The carrion birds sing a grotesque but very funny parody of Lionel Bart's song "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver. It produces a very different and hilarious effect with sung by vultures flying in formation rather than cute urchins in workhouse uniforms. It is my favorite part of the movie--and I am not ordinarily a fan of gallows humor.

Besides the survival crisis facing the entire community, the individual critters have personal problems of their own. Diego the Smilodon (big sabertooth feline) has a parlyzing fear of water. Ellie the Mammoth was raised by opossums and thinks she is also a 'posssum. The biggest challenge is that faced by Scrat the sabertooth squirrel (an imaginary critter) who chases continually after a most elusive Acorn.


The frustrated Scrat dies and goes to heaven, where a choir of angelic Dodos greets him. (In real life on earth, dodos could be found only in the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, but I dare say that Dodos in heaven are not thus limited by time or space. The late lamented Scrat at last is rewarded with his Heart's Desire: the Platonic archetype of the Acorn. And then, alas, a meddling do-gooder (Sid the giant sloth) administers CPR and drags the poor squirrel back to this vale of tears. Sid is shocked by the magnitude of Scrat's ingratitude. One cannot help but sympathize with them both, but it is a treat to see a dramatized NDE of a nonhuman animal--a rare event in the movies.

--Benjamin Urrutia

An Inconvenient Truth



A Paramount Classics Documentary produced by Laurie David et. al, directed by Davis Guggenheim, and narrated by Albert Gore. Also available as a book of the same title by Albert Gore.

How real--and how imminent--is global warming? Of a total of 928 articles in serious scientific journals, 928 conclude that it is a real and serious problem, largely caused by unwise human activities. None cast doubt on these conclusions. The numbers are very different when we move from the scientific to the popular press: there, 53% of the articles surveyed express some doubt of the problem's existence or human causality. This is because over 50% of the popular press, like over 50% of the U.S. Senate, is controlled by conservative, largely anti-environmentalist, forces.

We learn from this documentary film that 40% of Arctic ice has melted away in the last 40 years. It takes no mathematical genius to figure out that this means a loss of one per cent per year, and that by 2066--probably sooner--all the Arctic ice will be gone. The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps will have melted at the same time, which means Bangladesh, Beijing, Shanghai, south Florida, and Manhattan (among other places) will be largely underwater. It will not be possible to visit the Ground Zero memorial to the victims of the World Trade Center destruction without diving equipment.

While presenting these disturbing facts, accompanied by very compelling graphics, Gore tells us a good deal about his family's tragic history: his sister died of lung cancer, mostly caused by tobacco (which was grown by the Gores until after she died) and a little about his education. At one end of the spectrum of professors he mentions a (nameless) narrow-minded non-educator who ridiculed the notion that Africa and South America were once united. At the time, this was a contemned geological heresy; now this "stone that the builders rejected" is the accepted cornerstone of modern geology.

At the other end of the spectrum was Professor Roger Revelle of Harvard, the first scientist to measure the fluctuations of carbon dioxide (an important greenhouse gas and thus a major cause of global warming) in the atmosphere. The graphs for CO2 and for global temperature match each other as closely as the east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa. The connection is clear if your ideology has not provided you with blinders. Inspired by Revelle, Gore set out to tell the world about the problem, believing in his innocence that once the knowledge was out there, the necessary action would inevitably follow.

Much of the motivation of Gore's political career was his desire to make the crisis known, and to spark the necessary action. After the electoral debacle of 2000, he concentrated on giving presentations of his audiovisual environmental message, by now over a thousand times. The film, book, and website have turned the thousand into several millions.

An excellent presentation the film is, but flawed. From the viewpoint of those of us who sit at the Peaceable Table--and not us only--there is a serious gap: the scarcity of data and images about our animals friends, and the way in which their exploitation, especially that of cows, is contributing to global warming. Some video footage of Black Angus bovines is indeed present, fleshy, gentle, harmless, hornless creatures who were raised at the Gore family farm. (By a cruel irony, the eating of the flesh of these poor beasts is just as likely to cause cancer of the colon as the inhaling of tobacco smoke was of the cancer that took the life of Al's beloved sister--a fact not mentioned in the film, but widely accessible.) But we are not told that the vast quantities of methane produced by the exponential proliferation of cows on our planet, and by the decay of logs from rainforests destroyed to pasture them, is probably an even more serious factor in global warming. According to an important essay by Noam Mohr on the Earthsave website, methane is twenty-one times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2, and its short-term contribution to global warming is very much greater. Whereas it is difficult for the average person to take prompt and effective action to cut down on CO2 emissions, it is within most people's power to stop eating cow flesh and drinking cow milk. Such a step would cause most of the methane to cycle out of the atmosphere in less than a decade. In short, the film fails to give what is probably the most important counsel of all: go vegan.

--Benjamin Urrutia



Dear Editor,

I am a friend of Gerald Niles, both of us committed vegans. He has been kind enough to share his copies of The Peaceable Table with me. I have very much enjoyed reading them, and I thank and commend you for your efforts to help spread the message of a nonviolent diet.

I have included several items in with this letter. One of them is a pamphlet that another inmate shared with me, "Why Vegan? Boycott Cruelty" produced [by] Vegan Outreach, . . I have found it to be an excellent tool in vegan advocacy. One inmate, to whom I had been extolling the values of a vegan diet, read it and immediately put in a request to be put on the vegan diet. I wrote to Vegan Outreach and requested additional pamphlets, which they promptly sent me. They also sent a pamphlet called "Honoring God's Creation: Christianity and Vegetarianism," by the Christian Vegetarian Association

I personally came to the vegetarian diet through my involvement in and study of Vedic teachings and practices. I am perhaps an overzealous preacher in trying to get others to give up their violence-based diets. I have at times been successful, and whenever that happens it brings me a profound sense of accomplishment. So I can very well identify with you and your message in The Peaceable Table.

I pray that this letter finds you with a wealth of God's blessings.

Carl Sheppard
X28160 H4
Jefferson Correctional Institution
1050 Big Joe Road
Monticello, FL 32344

Note: Carl welcomes letters from fellow vegetarians.


Dear Editor,

. . . . The chapel library here is a very small space. Two eight-foot tables and a desk take up most of the floor area. One of those big tables has become "the vegetarian table," featuring the last three issues of PT and various leaflets and fliers that Carl and I have come up with. That table is a true sanctuary for peace. Our chapel really needs that. Thanks you for producing the bedrock, the catalyst.

I've been learning what I can from Vedic literature which also reveals pleasures of animals in a natural state. To hold any creature in creation in captivity cannot be considered in compliance with universal law. Indeed, there is no such thing as humane killing. I wish the U.S. Supreme Court would decide that killing people by death penalty is inhumane and in violation of the laws of our land. . . .

Gerald Niles 122280
Jefferson Correctional Institution
1050 Big Joe Road
Monticello, FL 32344

Note: Gerald also welcomes letters from the readers of PT.

Note: The staff of PT is donating the following books to the Vegetarian Center of the Jefferson Chapel Library: Diet for a New America by John Robbins, The Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Spiegel, Saving Emily by Nicholas Read, Of God and Pelicans: A Theology of Reverence for Life by Jay McDaniel, Good News for Animals edited by Pinches and McDaniel, Created Equal by Ernie Bringas, The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle, The Souls of Animals by Gary Kowalski, and Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey. The Christian Vegetarian Association is donating Good News for All Creation by Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun.

Readers who wish to contribute to this new collection should bear in mind that all books sent to prisoners must come directly from a publisher or bookstore.


The following letter excerpt was written in response to the "Diet and Health" column in the April issue which described the 19-year series of experiments of Colin Campbell and colleagues feeding casein (cow's milk protein) to rats and mice, showing that a 20% casein diet fostered liver cancer.

Dear Editor,

. . . . All of life is sacred and all animals, insects, fish, etc. have a purpose. God did not make one creature that was superfluous.
All animal experimentation is non-consensual, as animals have no voice. It is reprehensible. The fact that rats, mice, and birds are not covered by ANY animal welfare laws is another indication that those who wrote the laws we do have, [which are very weak] are completely in error. . . . [Lawmakers] have no moral authority to make such a judgment, just as [experimenters] have no moral authority to cause immeasurable pain, suffering, and emotional and psychological damage in the name of science to any living creature.
As for the 19-year rodent experiments, I think he could have gotten superb results by asking people who were diagnosed with cancer to partake voluntarily, because he knew the rat experiments did not necessarily have the same effect on people. So, even though the China Study was important to human health in terms of influencing people to consider plant based diets, he didn't need to use all those rats and cause all that pain and suffering and deaths.
I, nevertheless, think people ought to know about the study because it does encourage people to take seriously the heinous risks dairy products pose to human health. Especially Christians who believe your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If we are indeed going to pass the word and publicize these experiments, it is imperative that a disclaimer be printed at the top of the study stating explicitly that . . . we do not in any way endorse animal experimentation, and will not encourage or condone it in the future because, simply, it is morally wrong.

If this study serves as a wakeup call to those who are taken in by the egregious lies fed to us by the dairy industry, then there is merit in becoming familiar with this study. It is essential to keep in mind that all of the rat experiments could easily have been done with human beings. . . .
This is from the heart. I abhor the inflicting of pain and suffering on any living creature.

Peace to you,
Karen Borch


"If people who eat vegetation are called vegetarians, why aren't cannibals called Humanitarians?"

--From The Lake Woebegon Joke Book,
Contributed by Gerald Hartman

The Name of the Lion
The Lion under whose loving gaze
Sheep in heaven may safely graze--
Well-known is his fragrant name:
He is Aslan of Narnian fame.

--Benjamin Urrutia
With thanks to William Blake and C.S. Lewis


Tofu Ricotta
makes approximately 3 cups

1 lb. firm - extra firm organic tofu
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. nutritional yeast
½ tsp. dried basil (1 T fresh basil, torn to small pieces)
½ tsp. dried oregano (1 T fresh oregano, chopped)
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ small onion, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in the bowl of the food processor; process until well blended. Place in a glass bowl and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

This is a staple in a vegan kitchen, especially in the spring and summer. It makes a great filling for sandwiches or tossed with fresh cooked pasta for a delightful entrée.

Passato di Ceci Spread
serves 4 - 6

2 cups dried chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled and puréed
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Soak chickpeas 12 hours and drain. Put in large pot with whole garlic cloves and water to cover by 1 inch. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat. Simmer until tender about 1 ½ hours. Drain; then process chickpeas and chopped garlic in food processor.
In heavy pot over low heat, warm 3 T olive oil, add chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until purée is rid of excess moisture. Arrange on serving plates in little mounds. Make a small hollow in each mound. Pour a little of the remaining 3 T olive oil into each hollow. Serve immediately with fresh bread.

I refer to this recipe as my Italian hummus. It is delicious spread on fresh baguettes served with a variety of Italian olives.

Penne con Ricotta, Limone, e Basilico (Penne with Ricotta, Lemon and Basil)

Serves 4

1 cup almond ricotta
zest of one organic lemon, cut into strips and finely chopped
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
generous amount of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn (one large handful)
1 lb. Penne pasta
½ cup vegan Parmesan
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

In a large bowl beat the ricotta with the lemon zest using a whisk. Add salt, pepper and basil. Meanwhile cook the pasta. Add a ladle of water from the pasta to the ricotta mixture to moisten a little, then whisk to soften the mixture until smooth.
Drain pasta and toss with the ricotta-lemon mixture. Sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

A very refreshing pasta, wonderful served with a salad of mixed leaves, fennel, carrots, scallions and the Frittata di Cipolla Rossa.

Frittata di Cipolla Rossa (Scrambled Tofu with Red Onion)
serves 4

4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. dry white wine or vegetable broth
½ lb. organic tofu, extra firm
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped (or ¼ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled)
1 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped (or 1 tsp. dried parsley, crumbled)
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Place 2 T. olive oil, red onion, and ½ tsp salt in a large skillet. Sauté over medium high heat until the onion is translucent and just begins to become golden; do not brown. Add wine or vegetable broth and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a small bowl beat tofu with herbs, ½ tsp salt and black pepper; add sautéed onions. Pour remaining 2 T. olive oil in skillet; when heated pour in tofu mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes (3 - 5 minutes) until the tofu is well heated through .
Spoon onto serving plates and serve immediately.

This is a delicious way to enjoy tofu and onions. It’s very simple and so delicious. Enjoy for lunch or a light dinner.

-- Angela Suarez

Pioneers: Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance man par excellence, is well known for his many works of genius in the fields of painting, draftsmanship, scientific discovery, invention, and music, among other things. However, most do not know that he was also a sensitive and committed vegetarian, and perhaps vegan. An independent witness to his practice comes from a letter by one Andrea Corsali to Leonardo's patron Giuliano de' Medici: "Certain infidels called Guzzarati [people of Gujarat, the same region of India from which Gandhi came] do not feed upon anything that contains blood, nor do they permit among them any injury be done to any living thing, like our Leonardo da Vinci."

Another independent witness, from one Vasari cited in a book by Edward MacCurdy, tells that while walking in the markets of Florence, Leonardo was wont to buy (or rather ransom) caged birds and release them, showing that he had no less compassion for our feathered kin than for those who go on four feet.

Leonardo himself expressed his feelings in a number of vivid passages in his notebooks. His compassion for animals led him to express hostility toward the human race who killed and ate them:

King of the animals--as you have described him--I should rather say king of the beasts, you being the greatest--because you only help them, in order that they may give you their children to gratify your gullet, for the sake of which you have tried to make yourself a tomb for all the animals. And I would say still more, if I were allowed to speak the entire truth. . . . Does not nature bring forth a sufficiency of simple things to satisfy you? Or if you cannot content yourself with simple things, can you not, by blending these together, make an infinite number of compounds, as did Platina [author of a cookbook]?

Evidently sensitive also to the anguish of mother animals and their infants due to human beings' robbing them of their milk, Leonardo says "Of the beasts from whom cheese is made, the milk will be taken from the tiny children, " suggesting that he also abstained from dairy products.

Leonardo has an answer for present-day wits who oppose the vegetarian lifestyle by protesting that cabbages and carrots feel pain too:

Though nature has given sensibility to pain to such living organisms as have the power of movement [because of their vulnerability to attack], the living organisms which have no power of movement do not have to encounter opposing objects; plants consequently do not need to have a sensibility to pain, and so . . . if you break them they do not feel anguish . . . as do the animals."

Some other passages in the notebooks "obscure the issue a bit," says David Hurwitz. Leonardo's domestic accounts record the purchases of meat, but that was probably for his students; evidently he did not insist on their sharing his diet. Among his many designs for inventions are a stove with a roasting jack for the smoking of meat. In regard to nonviolence in general, it should be acknowledged that he also designed many weapons of war. Most of these remained mere marks on paper; only his fortification designs were carried out, but since the latter are for defense, persons committed to nonviolence can perhaps view them more tolerantly.

Many of Leonardo's inventions were so far ahead of his times that it was only in the twentieth century that, for example, a helicopter similar to what he designed was actually constructed. But his sensitivity to animals and the crimes human beings commit against them is still ahead of the times in our twenty-first century.

--Gracia Fay Ellwood
from "Leonardo da Vinci's Ethical Vegetarianism," on the website of the International Vegetarian Union




The Windhover:

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level-undernearth-him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! Then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend; the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,--the achieve of, the mastery of the thing! . . . .

--Gerard Manley Hopkins


The Peaceable Table is a project of the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It 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 1982 and 1995. Following the latter's example, and sometimes borrowing from its treasures, we publish articles for toe-in-the-water vegetarians as well as long-term ones, news notes, 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, 2006. Send to or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy is available for interested persons who are not online. The latter are asked, if their funds permit, to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name and server are welcome.

Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia & Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angela Suarez
NewsNotes Editor: Marian Hussenbux
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood

Photo of wolves by Jim Brandenburg