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 Peaceable Kingdom

The familiar image of a child surrounded by animals is based on the extraordinary lines in Isaiah 11:6-8: "The wolf shall live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion cub feed together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together; the lion will eat hay like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra. . . . They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. . ." No lion and lamb together, actually, but the familiar image makes a good shorthand for the passage.

This beautiful image has much in common with the Christmas narrative in Luke of the baby in the manger, glowing with divine light. (No mention of animals in the scene, actually, but undoubtedly they do belong there.) Both passages suggest that beings whom adults have routinely considered beneath them, or even expendable--the homeless, the infant, the beasts--hold the secret of ultimate transformation and peace.

The Peaceable Kingdom has been painted many times. One of the most deeply affecting is the above drawing by Fritz Eichenberg. Unlike the tamed beasts in most other versions, the faces of Eichenberg's animals are deeply ambivalent: is that a look of sorrow, or of deep reflectiveness, or of predatory fire in this or that animal? The lamb trusts the wolf, and the wolf accepts the lamb's companionship, but the wolf is still clearly a wild beast. The bull's horns are very sharp; the bear is massive and threatening; yet all are drawn to the Child, and accept being part of his or her court. There are other ambiguities: is it winter or spring? night or day? Is that pollution above the city, or just clouds in a night sky? If truth is going to break in with its matter-of-fact--how can small child, without caretaker, live out in the wild far from the human community?

In the midst of these miracles and potential dangers, the Child holds a bouquet of flowers and caresses the rabbit with perfect serenity. One might reply that the key, of course, is that the Child is the offspring both of humanity and of the Divine. In traditional Christian language, he is Jesus, the one incarnation of God who reunites humanity with God by his birth among us and by his transcendence of human limitations, especially death. In Vedantan language the Child may be said to represent the Transcendent Self. The Child is unafraid because s/he is so deeply akin to the beasts as to be at home with them, and cannot be destroyed by even the worst that the predators (or the denizens of the city) can do.

"Be born is us today" echoes the Quaker affirmation that there is That of God in each of us, waiting to be born. It is not enough simply to know that the Child is within each of us. We must labor to give him birth, to nurse and nurture her until we become united to this Divinity in every part of our lives. This unlimited compassion, this innocent fearless delight, is to be realized in our day-by-day consciousness and actions. This process is lifelong (or requires many lives) for the vast majority of us. It takes courage, patience, humility and true self-love as we give ourselves, over and over again, to be channels of the Divine Peace.

Let us take the adventure that is sent to us!

—Gracia Fay Ellwood


Cream of Broccoli Soup

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cups peeled chopped broccoli stems
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp.dill weed
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/16 tsp nutmeg
2 cups soy milk
2 tbs kuzu or cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbs cool water chopped parsley for garnish

Saute the broccoli, onion,carrots, celery garlic, dill weed,black pepper and nutmeg over medium heat for about 1o minutes.

Add soy milk, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for another 10 minuts or until the vegetables are soft Add kuzu/water mixture to the soup and stir until thckened ( if soup is too thick, thin it out by adding a little more soy milk) Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.

—Maria Elena Nava

Cranberry Kanten

1 quart apple juice
1/3 cup agar flakes
1 tbs kuzu or arrowroot
2 apples, diced
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup roasted chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 orange, grated and juiced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple or barley malt syrup (optional for
extra sweetness)

Pour juice into a saucepan. Add agar and stir; bring to a low boil; then simmer for several minutes until agar is completely dissolved. Dice apples, wash cranberries, roast and chop walnuts, juice and grate orange. When kanten has cooked for about 20 minutes, dissolve kuzu or arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup water. Stir kuzu into kanten; continue to stir until the kuzu cooks and becomes clear.Now add the remaining ingredients. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes until the cranberries "pop".

Pour into a serving dish (low or shallow dishes work best). Allow to cool to room temperature; then place in the refrigerator. Serve with the meal or as a dessert. This dish shoul be made the day before if possible.

—Mary Elena Nava

Red Lentil Patè

2 cups red lentils
5 cups water or vegetable broth
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp sesame or extra-virgen olive oil
1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, and thyme
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
1 large handful parsley
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp umeboshi vinegar

Wash lentils quickly, drain, and place the lentilsin a 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the water or stock, bring to aboil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Chop the onions and the garlic very finely. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, onions, and herbs and saute over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and garlic are browned and fragant.

Oil a 9-inch shallow baking pan and sprinkle with half the bread crumbs, completely coating the inside of the pan. Preheat the oven at 375 F. Chop the parsley finely.

When lentils are done, stir them thoroughly to mash; add the onion mixture, bread crumbs, and parsley. Season to taste with sea salt, umeboshi vinegar and pepper.

Pour the lentil mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.

—Maria Elena Nava (from The Natural Gormet by Annemarie Colbin)

Easy-As-Pie Apple Turnover

Whole-Wheat flour tortilla

Core and section the apple. Wrap in the tortilla. Microwave for one minute.

Most pies are easy to eat, but hard to make. This one is almost as easy to make as to eat, and has a lot fewer calories than regular pies.

The sweet-toothed may want to sprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon and beet sugar or dot with maple cream. (The latter is available by mail from Adams Sugar House, 518-854-3521, a family operation. Avoid cane sugar, which is processed with charred animal bones; if package does not specify, call to inquire.) Even made with a sweetener, this turnover is much healthier than regular pie, which has a lot of fat in the crust.

—Benjamin Urrutia

Review: Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken's Soul

Veggie Soup for the Chicken's Soul by Judy Carman. LanternBooks, 2003. 280 pages, paperback, $14.00.

Although Judy Carman is keenly aware of the egregious cruelties inflicted on animals every day, and describes them, Peace to All Beings resonates with hope. Just as the negative energy that we human beings put forth into the universe has harmful effects, Carman explains, affirmative thinking and prayer contribute substantively to the healing of the world. In addition to expressing the need for hope and positive thinking, the author laces her work with inspiring stories of animals rescuing humans and other animals. The book also includes a substantial number of pro-animal quotations by various famous people. I found this collection of inspiring stories and quotations to be one of the greatest strengths of the book: Some of them are familiar, but it is helpful to have them all together in one source.

Throughout the book, Carman urges us to awaken our minds and hearts, so that we can become homo ahimsa rather than mere homo sapiens. She devotes a chapter to the many facets and meanings of ahimsa, and by the end of the chapter, I really felt a strong sense of agreement, that "no greater power exists on earth than this ahimsa or unconditional love" (115). The final 100 pages of the book contain various kinds of prayers—"For the Cow Nation," "For the Chicken Nation," and the like, including prayers for persons who abuse animals, to help open up their minds and hearts toward ahimsa. The more cynical reader will distrust the tirelessly hopeful, prayerful tone of this book. And it is true that the author does not attempt to deal in depth with the problem of moral evil. But it is written to inspire and support those willing to commit themselves to the faith that love is more powerful than evil. After spending time reading books that focus primarily on the cruelties of the animal agribusiness, I found Carmen's work refreshing. I recommend it particularly as a source for daily inspiring readings and prayers, whatever one's religious perspective might be.

—Fay-Ellen Ellwood
(A photo of Judy Carman can be found in the August-September 2004 issue)

My Pilgrimage

I made the decision to go vegetarian in 1974, while living in an Israeli kibbutz, as a result of seeing the film The Death of Trotsky. The movie included very graphic footage of a Mexican bullfight--a misleading term, since the toro is not really fought, but baited and killed--and the subsequent butchering of the poor animal's corpse. One would have to be quite stonyhearted to watch this and not give up beef for life.

The movie made a not-very-subtle parallel between the horrible death of L Davidovich Bronstein and the horrible death of the bull. (Years later I saw the same thing done in a video of Bizet's opera Carmen. Jose drove his knife into his former lover's body at the exact moment that Escamillo drove his sword into his victim.)

Making the change to vegetarianism was relatively easy while I was living in the kibbutz, since many of the members were already vegetarians, and the option was available at every meal. Outside the kibbutz it has not always been so easy. In America it is difficult to buy even a fruit pie in a supermarket, since the crust is in many cases made with fat from the corpses of murdered cows. However, there are many more tasty vegetarian foods available now than there were thirty years ago.

A friend used to tell me, "These pork and beans have only a very small amount of fat." To this I would reply: "They did not extract that fat from the pig by liposuction: they killed the pig to get it." You'd think I would only need to say this once, but that was not the case.

Some movies, like Fly Away Home and Babe have done a good job of raising people's consciousness on the matter. Babe, I've heard, has converted many people to vegetarianism, or at least to eating more kosher. I do not see how anyone could watch this movie and still be coldhearted enough to pay to have a pig slaughtered.

In 1975, one year after I made the big decision, I read an article in Scientific American that showed sound statistical evidence of direct connections in human beings between smoking tobacco and cancer of the lung, drinking black tea and cancer of the stomach, and eating "meat" (flesh) and cancer of the colon. Strangely enough, this did not have a very strong effect on me personally. I was far more impressed by Isaac Bashevis Singer's statement that he became a vegetarian "not for my own health, but for the health of the chickens."

As Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and others remind us, Adam and Eve were strict vegans in the Garden of Eden. This should be obvious to all Bible-readers, but alas, it is usually unnoticed. Yet I am certain that the diet of Paradise and of Heaven, like that of Eden, must be perfectly free of any product that is obtained by violence, cruelty or exploitation. How could it be otherwise?

Thy will be done on Earth
As it is in Heaven. Amen

—Benjamin Urrutia


Porphyry (232-ca. 305 C.E.) was a student of the mystical philosopher Plotinus, who rescued him from a suicidal depression. One of Porphyry's works which survived the book-burnings was Abstinence From Animal Food, in which he addresses a colleague, Firmus Castricius, who has abandoned vegetarianism in becoming a member of the Christian church of his day.

Socrates says, in opposition to those who contend that pleasure is the supreme good, that though all pigs and goats should accord in this opinion, yet he should never be persuaded that our happiness was placed in the enjoyment of bodily delight, as long as mind has dominion over all things. And we also say, that though all wolves and vultures should praise the eating of flesh, we should not admit that they spoke justly, as long as human beings are by nature harmless, and ought to avoid getting pleasure for themselves by hurting others. . . .

. . . it has been demonstrated that animals are rational, mind in most of them being indeed imperfect--but they are not devoid of it. Therefore, since justice is the province of beings with mind, as our opponents say, how is it possible not to admit that we should also act justly toward animals? For we do not extend justice to plants, because there seems to be much in them with is unconnected with reason. . . . We gather grain and legumes when they have fallen on the earth, and are dead. But no one uses for food the flesh of dead animals. . . unless they have been destroyed by violence. So in these things there is much injustice. As Plutarch also says, it does not follow that because our nature requires certain things, and we use them, we should therefore act unjustly toward all things. For we are allowed to harm other things to a certain extent, in order to procure needed means of subsistence (if to take anything from plants, even while they are living, is an injury to them); but to destroy other things through luxury, and for the enjoyment of pleasure, is perfectly savage and unjust. And abstinence from these things neither diminishes our life nor our happiness.

But Theophrastus employs the following reasoning: —Those that are generated from the same sources, I mean from the same father and mother, are said by us to be naturally allied to each other. And we similarly conceive that those who derive their origin from the same ancestors that we do, are allied to us. . . . . Furthermore, the principles of the bodies of all animals are naturally the same. . . I mean the seed, the flesh, and the conascent genus of humors [sentience] which is inherent in animals. But animals are much more allied to each other, though naturally possessing souls, [which alike have] desire and hostility; the reasoning faculty, and above all, the senses. . . . Some animals have them more, but others less, as we can see from the affinity of their passions. . . . but they differ in their modes of living. . . . And if this be admitted, the genus of other animals has an affinity to us and is allied to us. For, as Euripides says, they all have the same food and the same spirit, the same purple streams [blood]; and they likewise demonstrate that the comon parents of all of them are Heaven and Earth.

—Porphyry, 232-c. 305 C.E., from Abstinence from Animal Food

Poetry for Children and Grownups

A Christmas Prayer

Loving looks the large-eyed cow,
Loving stares the long-eared ass
At Heaven's glory in the grass!
Child, with added human birth
Come to bring the child of earth
Glad repentance, tearful mirth,
And a seat beside the hearth
At the Father's knee--
Make us peaceful as thy cow;
Make us patient as thine ass;
Make us quiet as thou art now;
Make us strong as thou wilt be.
Make us always know and see
We are his as well as thou.

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
He is called by thy name,
For He calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

—William Blake

If people were like horses,
How happy we would be.
No one would start an awful war
Way far across the sea.

They'd just eat grass
The whole day long
Or slumber in the sun.
You'd never see them toting guns
Or hurting anyone.
—Dorothy Scott Smith
(Her photo can be found in the November 2004 issue)

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 intend 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 January issue will be January 15, 2005. 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. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name, server and advertising notices are welcome.

Image credits: Peaceable Kingdom etching by Fritz Eichenberg; photo of Benjamin Urrutia by Shannon Cole.

Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Review Editor: Fay Elanor Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Maria Elena Nava
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood