Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

To-Go Ware

veganmofo2009

Since most of my daily food intake happens at work, carrying my food on my bike has required some creative solutions. I’m trying to get away from disposable things, plastic things, but glass is too heavy and too breakable to be an ideal solution for me. Enter To-Go Ware. Though one coworker commented that it looked like a surgical kit of some sort, they’re nifty little stackable metal containers, durable, but still lightweight.

Of course they are metal, and that means no microwaving them. I asked some advice of the women working at the cute little socially conscious eco-store where I got them, and they had some solutions for me. First was to have a microwavable plate that I’d leave at work. The contents of the container could be transferred to the plate and heated up. That would work! But even easier, if there is a toaster in the office kitchen, use the toaster to heat up the contents. I also have cloth napkins on hand, because I don’t want to grab the metal to-go container after it’s been in the toaster a while.

The toaster takes more time to heat things, but I don’t mind.

My next challenge is to get in the habit of taking an emtpy to-go container with me when I go to restaurants. I rarely sit in, mostly order food to go. This results in containers. Some of them are reusable, and that’s what I’d used up until recently to bring my food to work, but some of them are not at all reusable. In either case, it is earth-expensive stuff that I can change my habits to avoid, without having to give up my occasional restaurant meal altogether.

Being environmentally conscious goes hand in hand with my veganism. It is part of what motivates me to bike commute…that is, it is primarily what motivated me to start bike commuting. The fact that I love the bike commuting is what makes it easy to continue. Of course it also means I eat a lot more.

Today it was leftover Dal Makhni from Vegan Yum Yum’s cookbook. A coworker was rinsing her dishes in the break room when I took my food out of the toaster today, and it must have smelled good, because I was afraid she was going to steal my lunch!

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8 responses to “To-Go Ware

  1. The voracious Vegan October 2, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I think I might steal that lunch, it looks beautiful!

  2. tristan October 2, 2009 at 11:38 am

    An even better way to be more environmentally conscious is not to give your money to restaurants. According to the UN’s Lifestocks Long Shadow, flesh based agriculture contributes more to global warming than exhaust from the automobile industry. Another reason not to give your money to non-vegan restaurants is because they prosper from the animals that we are trying to save. That vegan option, aLlthough easier for people, promulgates the suffering of animals. It is to me, like eating at Auschwitz while it was operating.

  3. sheryl, washington dc October 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Yes, I think most of are aware of the UN report and the negative effects of greenhouse gases from farms, tristan. I’m sure if you’ve been reading Deb’s blog for a while that you know she’s aware of those facts, too. You’d also know that she volunteers weekly at a sanctuary for farmed animals, is a wildlife protection advocate, rides her bike back and forth to work everyday, among about a bazillion other actions that make her a solid environmentalist.

    But really … eating at a non-vegan restaurant is like eating at Auschwitz? If there’s one thing I really LOVE it’s the constant comparisons of any element of veganism to Nazism. Nice work, there.

    Here’s a thought … eating at restaurants with vegan options lets the managers know that people LIKE eating vegan food and may convince them to add more vegan options thus tempting more non-vegans to try them. If we crawl into our homes and never go out into the big, scary, non-vegan world to spread our message – HOW WILL THEY LEARN?

    s.

  4. Deb October 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    @tvv – thanks! lol.

    @tristan – eating vegan meals at restaurants is not the same as eating animal products. Seems self-evident, but your comment sounded like you don’t agree.

    While you do have a point, with regards to restaurants not being the most green-friendly thing in existence (it’s always less of an environmental negative to eat vegan food that is not processed and not from a restaurant), to compare eating a vegan meal to eating at Auschwitz is, well, a little absurd. It isn’t just non-vegan restaurants that make money off animal products, it is grocery stores too. I don’t know anyone, other than people in Portland, who have access to a vegan grocery store, and even Food Fight has to make use of distributors who are profiting off of animal products (even if only the transportation of them). So really, there is only one answer: freeganism

    But while that is great from an environmental standpoint, it sucks a big one when it comes to advocacy.

    Vegan meals in any restaurant are a big deal when you’re trying to convince people to go vegan. And it is a lot more significant to get people to go vegan than for you to convince me to add “never goes to restaurants” to the comparatively long list of things that I *already* do from a vegan environmentalist standpoint.

    But thanks, you’ve successfully made the point that nothing any of us do will ever be good enough for someone out there.

    @Sheryl – thanks for your defense of me! And you bring up good points. We have to be out there spreading the word for the word to be spread. I had an interesting conversation with an omni friend today…he’s watched Earthlings, he’s slowly learned more and is definitely open to my thoughts on things, and yet he’s not “there”, or even close. In our conversation he said something along the lines of “We’re on the same page”, and I said “no, we’re not.” He agreed that we’re not, but that he does understand. When I asked him what stops him from making changes based on what he knows, he said “the convenience just isn’t there yet.”

    Meaning, restaurants, fast food, etc etc.

    I think he’ll get there. Someday. And maybe the convenience thing is an excuse. But then again, maybe if he had someone local to show him that it’s not inconvenient to be vegan, he’d see that he could make some changes in his life.

    All that to say, I don’t think we should underestimate the power of food activism, and part of that is vegan food in restaurants.

  5. Kelvin Kao October 5, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I grew up in Taiwan, and containers like these were default lunch boxes. Each class had a steamer. It was a metal box that looked like a mini-fridge. Everyone put their metal lunchbox in it and it would be turn on one or two hours prior to lunch time. By lunch time, everyone’s lunch would be nice and warm. I don’t know if they still do that (probably not), but it was a common experience for Taiwanese students our generation (and probably the last generation too). Ah, the old days before microwave ovens…

    But of course, this would not work for you. You would most likely need to keep a microwavable container around…

  6. Deb October 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Kelvin, that’s so interesting! I have never heard of a large steamer like that, but that’s pretty neat. Maybe the to-go ware was inspired by the lunch boxes of your youth!

  7. Shanna October 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I saw the To-Go Ware utensils at my local veg-friendly shop last week and was intrigued. Thanks for the link! I’ll definitely check into their options!

  8. Deb October 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    @Shanna – I don’t use them every day (yet!) but I really do like the to-go ware concept. I actually have two sets now – one is a set of 2, the other a set of 3. The set of 3 are individually smaller than the ones in the set of 2, and I find that it suits me better to have 3 smaller ones. But then sometimes I’ll have something like leftover pizza, and the bigger one fits better then. What stopped me from using them more for a while was the issue of how to heat up the food that would need to be heated up. Now that I have solutions for that, I use them more!

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