July 5, 2011

A Piece of (Vegan) Humble Pie

With my post about being vegan in the Delta from three weeks ago, I did more than ruffle a few feathers: I also offended just about every single Delta State student/Cleveland resident.

For which I will humbly say: I'm sorry. 

I'm a Southerner who has found being vegan in the South (whether in Mississippi, North Carolina, or anywhere in between) to be particularly challenging. I write this blog to help others in their own journey to health, whether it's just one recipe or the inspiration to begin a more compassionate lifestyle. Putting other people down has never been, and will never be, a part of this blog. 

Was saying that I was far away from civilization an exaggeration? Yes. Is it a fact that this part of Mississippi is considered rural? No. 

It's been almost three weeks since that post, and each day I become more and more impressed with Cleveland and it's great coffee shops, pretty neighborhoods, and Southern hospitality. Already, I've encountered some of the kindest people I've ever met, and I've lived in the South my entire life. Within minutes of walking into a downtown boutique, the owner was giving us directions to her house so that we could use the pool. An older woman pulled over and gave us a ride to church yesterday when she saw us walking in the heat. The guy who sold me my camera at Wal-Mart told me all of the best places to go out on the weekends, including the hot spots where I could get vegan food. (He was right! The waitress at Lost Pizza Co. didn't even bat an eye when I ordered a Happy Hippie with no cheese.)

I'm not here to "save poor little Southern America" like one anonymous commenter said, or the "poor little illiterate, hairlip children" like another. My summer school students are neither illiterate nor hairlipped. They are, however, fourteen of the smartest, kindest, most hardworking people I've ever met; victims of a system that's decided it's alright for them to fall through the cracks. I'm here simply doing the best I can, (frequently) falling short, and trying again. 

There are obviously a lot of stereotypes about Mississippi, the Delta, etc. that residents believe are unfair. Calling me names does nothing but help promote those stereotypes. Luckily, I've already "met" (via email) an awesome Cleveland-er name Kayla who is willing to help me understand where everyone is coming from.

July 4, 2011

Dining Hall Deliciousness

Can we give the natural light in the dining hall a thumbs up?
Happy 4th of July everyone! A few of us TFA-ers stayed in town this weekend because Cleveland was having a big BBQ/fireworks show last night. (With $1 beers. Can we say A-W-E-S-O-M-E?)

Thought the typical dining hall brunch fare is sausage, bacon, and eggs, they have enough great stuff on the salad bar for me to make a "tofu scramble". Here goes:

Omelette-y veggies (mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, green scallions, olives, etc)
Lots of salt and pepper

Sounds gross, tastes delicious. Add some home fries from the hot bar, and we're in business. I'm seriously going to keep making this when I get back to ol' North Carolina.

Oh, and did I mention that the dining hall has had soy milk EVERY DAY this week? Ensley + coffee that's not black = a much happier world.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday!


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