19 Nov 2006

Vegan Celebrity-Zephaniah

A favorite Vegan of mine is Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah, a British Rastafarian who is an Internationally acclaimed poet, performer, writer, activist and cultural commentator. Often likened to a Bob Marley of today.

He is involved in many things and some organisations he is a Patron of are The Vegan Society (UK), the Vegetarian Society (UK), Uncaged (anti-animal vivisection), VIVA! (Vegetarian International Voice for Animals), Chinese Women's Refuge Group, Lifelines (Prisoners on Death Row), Blackliners (Black HIV/AIDS helpline), to name a few. He is also well known for his poetry against rascism.

He has many published books of prose and poetry for which he is held in high regard. Even though he was a 14 year old high school drop out, in 1989 he was nominated for Oxford University Professor of Poetry, but was narrowly beaten by Seamus Heaney.

Benjamin became vegetarian at 11 and Vegan at 14. His poetry books Talking Turkeys and the Little Book of Vegan Poetry are excellent for all ages. This year the poem Talking Turkeys was voted by British children as the best poem of all time.

He has an excellent video and DVD out called Truth or Dairy available from American Vegan or the Vegan Society (U.K.). It is an excellent argument for veganism, describing the dairy industry and the suffering involved in producing dairy products.

Talking Turkeys from the book Talking Turkeys.

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos' turkeys just wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
Don't eat it, keep it alive,
It could be yu mate, an not on your plate
Say, Yo! Turkey I'm on your side.
I got lots of friends who are turkeys
An all of dem fear christmas time,
Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it
An humans are out of dere mind,
Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
Dey all hav a right to a life,
Not to be caged up an genetically made up
By any farmer an his wife.

Turkeys just wanna play reggae
Turkeys just wanna hip-hop
Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,
'I cannot wait for de chop',
Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
In many ways like yu an me.

I once knew a turkey called...Turkey
He said "Benji explain to me please,
Who put de turkey in christmas
An what happens to christmas trees?",
I said "I am not too sure turkey
But itÕs nothing to do wid Christ Mass
Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be
An business men mek loadsa cash'.

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
In a plate of organic grown beans,
Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
An spare dem de cut of de knife,
Join Turkeys United an dey'll be delighted
An yu will mek new friends 'FOR LIFE'.

An excellent recent interview which you might like to read... "The road from villainy to poetry is a rough one." Juliet Gellatley Of VIVA! meets the gentle, vegan poet.

Also visit Benjamins official site at . He says it like it is.

I am what you see
I’ve got no bodies inside me
All of me is me
I will not eat nobody else
So I am what you see
I do not plan to eat dead sheep
I will not eat a hen
I’m so proud of what I am
So I will say again
I’ve got no bodies inside me
All of me is me
I will not eat nobody else
So I am what you see


Recipes of the Day are ITAL (I like them as they are simple, nutritious and generally inexpensive). An Ital diet is nearly vegan (some recipes contain honey as an optional sweetener)
and prohibits tobacco (because of the heavy processing), alcohol, and other drugs. Milk is referred to as "white blood" and is therefore not included in an Ital diet.

ITAL Omelette
From Swagga

4 green bananas
1 medium Sized Onion
½ pt Water
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 tbsp Vegetable oil

Slice the ends off the bananas and cut them in half crossways.Using a sharp knife slit through the skin to the flesh along the length of each banana half; prise off the skin using your fingers. Place the bananas in an electric blender or food processor and blend until smooth adding the water a little at a time to produce a soft consistency. In a bowl, mix the bananas with the peeled and finely chopped onion. Stir in the wholemeal flour and nutmeg. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, pour in the banana mixture and fry on both sides until golden brown. Divide into portions and serve garnished with salad. Serves 4

Rasta Pasta
From Caribseek
By Jinx and Jefferson Morgan

3 tbsps olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced
2 yellow and/or red peppers, cored, seeded and cut in lengthwise julienne slices
1 pound fettuccini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked drained black beans
2 cups cooked broccoli floweretes (just the top portion of small broccoli)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tspns fresh chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
Vegan Parmesan (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté garlic, onions and peppers just until limp. Add drained, cooked black beans. Cook fettuccini in rapidly boiling water just until cooked. Drain and toss with olive oil. Combine cooked pasta with pepper mixture, broccoli and seasonings. Sprinkle generously with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This can be served hot or at room temperature as a salad or main dish.Yield: 6 to 8 servings

From Swagga

2 cups dried beans (any kind)
2 medium Idaho potatoes
1 cup diced yellow yams
2 medium sweet potatoes
12 medium okra
2 cups fresh corn (cut kernels off cob)
3 medium carrots
3 stalks of scallions
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 small green Scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper
3 cups natural coconut milk
1 tbsp soya margarine
7-12 pimento seeds (allspice)
3 pieces fresh thyme
2 cups whole wheat flour
Fresh cilantro (garnish)

Soak beans in distilled water overnight to remove the gas. Chop garlic and thyme and dice remaining vegetables. Put beans to boil with scallions, pimento seeds, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Add coconut milk to boil along with beans until fully cooked, then add vegetables to the pot. Knead flour with a little water to make small umplings (spinners). Add spinners to pot and boil until cooked. When stew starts to thicken, add soya margarine and simmer to flavor. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with brown rice and a salad.

Carrot Salad

Grate 1 or 1 1/2 big carrots

Prepare a sauce with the juice of half an orange, pepper, a little cinammon, and a little lime juice. Mix all. One serving

Reggae Burgers
Inspired by Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons (Harvard Common Press, 1997).

4 slices stale bread (or toasted sandwich bread)
2 tbsps olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tbspn fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, or 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Using a food processor, pulse bread to make crumbs, then place them in a large bowl. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and add onions. Saute them, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, and saute for 2 minutes more. Put this mixture in the food processor, then add black beans, rice, and chopped pepper. Pulse ingredients until they are chopped but not pureed, then transfer mixture to a bowl. Add breadcrumbs to bowl, salt and pepper to taste, and stir thoroughly with a spoon. Add more bread crumbs if mixture is too wet. In a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Form mixture into 4 patties and cook about 4 minutes per side until burgers have formed a dark brown crust. Serve with your favorite rolls and lettuce, tomato, and ketchup, if desired.


bazu said...

Wow, so cool. I'd never heard of Zephaniah before but I loved reading his poems! (I love turkeys so it felt so nice to read a poem about one) We went to a Bob Marley celebration last year and afterward there was some great vegetarian food served. I think vegans should definitely expand their repertoires by learning more about Ital cooking. In New York City, there is a 24 hour vegan restaurant called the "D Ital Shack"!!

madeinalaska said...

yep, I agree w/ Bazu.. I have never heard of zephaniah either .. but, enjoyed your post..
those recipes all look very kid friendly ( I am ALAWAYS looking for vegan kid friendly recipes and links!) thanks for the post.. too many ideas! ohh my what to make first?
take care, LOVE your blog

Marion said...

Great poetry! I had not heard of Zephaniah previously either, but I really like it!

Chandira said...

Yes, Zephaniah is awesome. Good turkey poem. Turkeys are cool and do deserve to be spared the chop..

We got tofurky sausages for Thanksgiving.

Gaia said...

Thank you for introducing him to me Jackie !
I just love it. Thank you !

Candi said...

I never heard of Zephaniah before either, so thank you for this post! I envy how many groups and causes he assists in. The list is so impressive!!!

Mmmm, rasta pasta!!

Urban Vegan said...

Not only is he vegan--he's cute, too.

Thanks for all the great recipes. Hasta la rasta pastta, mon...

Candi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Candi said...

I just tried to send you a link I found, but that link didn't work, so I deleted my comment. I'm going to try again. Lol!

I found a man by the name of Zephaniah on MySpace and thought of you! I knew you had done a post about him, and was happy to hear his music and thought I'd post the link to his MySpace account that samples his music:

:) In case anyone here wants to check it out or add him as a friend. :)

Jackie said...

Thanks candi, I forgot how much I enjoyed his music. Plus of course his non Vegan writings are also excellent.