Thursday, August 25, 2016

#VeggieDag Thursday: Of veggie dogs and baseball: striking out at Turner Field.

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and ecological issues.

The root (pun intended) of "vegetarian" is "vegetable," made vernacular in the 19th century by Mancunians but modified to distraction in the 21st. And, yet, the kernel of meaning survives: eat your vegetables!

At modern baseball games, eating such has not been easy, constrained, amidst carnivores, to French fries, wilted iceberg lettuce salads, or greasy ilk. But then, "on June 19, 2000, the Chicago White Sox made baseball history when they began selling vegetarian hot dogs during games at Comiskey Park."

Vegetarian hot dogs are usually based on some sort of soy protein. [But not all. *] Unlike traditional home-made meat sausages, the casing is not made of intestine, but of plant-based ingredients. [Some contain egg whites, which would make them unacceptable to vegans.] The history of the vegetarian hot dog is not clear, but Worthington Foods' Veja-Link meatless wieners claim to have been the world's first vegetarian hot dogs in 1949.

Since Comiskey's innovation, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has made a tradition of ranking sporting arenas for the vegetarian accommodation of their food concessions. In 2011, Turner Field — home of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team— was third above all on PETA's baseball list.

The Braves have a strong heart of the order, and Braves fans can have a strong heart by enjoying delicious cholesterol-free fare at the concession stands, such as veggie burgers, veggie dogs, meatless burritos, vegetable sushi, veggie pasta, and dairy-free smoothies.

By 2015, however —with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles tops, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, number two, and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., at the third spot— Turner Field had completely fallen off the list (and the Braves team, rebuilding, far off the game's leaderboard.)

And this year, vegetarian options are few at Turner Field. Even finding a veggie dog has become an elusive mission and a hungry workout, a search throughout the stadium. Don't even ask at Guest Services. They'll send an explorer to five unstocked concessions, such as this one, the, ahem, All Star Lineup.

Veggie Dog? Nope!

---> I'll have a veggie dog, please.
We don't have them.

---> But it's on your menu board.
We haven't had any veggie dogs all season.

Ah, but the sixth location: the Gluten-Free Cart at Section 102! There, the 'dog' is steamed to a rubbery consistency and served naked on a spongey gluten-free roll (the only option). On top: no onions, relish, jalapenos, veggie chili, no nothing, but that other vegetable, ketchup, can be squeezed on top to add some flavor. Yum? A mission accomplished, but not appetizingly so.

Naked dog

Vegetarian fare is, fair to say, a limited experience at Turner Field. Your best bet? Bring your own veggies, or stick to peanuts and beer. Of the last, a look, tomorrow, at its sad state of affairs.

Ballgame grub (02)


VeggieDag Recipes

The tomatoes of summer: you won't find these at the ballpark, but you can, at home:
  • Capellini with pomodoro sauce.
    —Via Joe Yonan at Washington Post.

  • Panzanella: Tuscan bread-and-tomato salad.
    —Via Tim Carman at Washington Post.

  • No-cook Beefsteak-tomato veggie burger.
    —Via Jose Andres at Washington Post.

  • Summer gazpacho
  • Gazpacho and salmorejo: Spanish-inspired tomato-based chilled soups.
    —Via Gabriela Llamas at Washington Post.

  • 'Creamy' vegan (hot) tomato harvest soup.
    —Via YFGF.

  • How to buy, store, peel, seed, and freeze tomatoes.

  • No-recipe flashback of 2005: a Tomato Harvest Beer Dinner, in Washington, D.C. (The dessert course was unique and delicious.)
    —Via YFGF.


VeggieDag News

  • Good news...

    The United States National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary today.
    On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible NPS for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established.

    The "Organic Act" states that "the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations…by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

    Today, the National Park Service administers four hundred and twelve parks (including one for the performing arts), wildernesses, seashores, and other areas comprising more than eighty-four million acres.

  • Not so good news...

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the July 2016 global temperature of 62.01 °F (16.67 °C ) was the highest ever recorded since global records began in 1880.
    For the 15th consecutive month, the global land and ocean temperature departure from average was the highest since global NOAA temperature records began in 1880. This marks the longest such streak in NOAA's 137 years of record keeping. The July 2016 combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average, besting the previous July record set in 2015 by 0.06°C (0.11°F). July 2016 marks the 40th consecutive July with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.

    Since July is climatologically the globe's warmest month of the year, the July 2016 global land and ocean temperature (16.67°C / 62.01°F) was the highest temperature for any month on record, surpassing the previous record set in July 2015. July 2016 was the 379th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984 (-0.09°C / -0.16°F).

    Averaged as a whole, the global temperature across land surfaces for July 2016 was 1.10°C (1.98°F) above the 20th century average—tying with 1998 as the highest July temperature in the 1880–2016 record. July 2016 marks the 24th consecutive July with temperatures at least nominally above average. The last time global land surface temperatures were below average in July was in 1992 (-0.15°C / -0.27°F).

  • * This is not a paid endorsement, but YFGF prefers Field Roast Frankfurters as its choice for veggie dog. Vital wheat gluten rather than soy is Field Roast's primary constituent, and the remainder of its ingredient list is non-chemically slanted. Unlike soy-based 'dogs,' Field Roast franks can be skillet-fried or grilled without burning and blistering.
  • Yes, I know. No self-respecting Chicago Cubs (or White Sox) fan would slather ketchup on her hot dog. It's mustard! But Turner Field's veggie dogs were so tastelessy rubbery, that maybe I could be forgiven my philistinism?

  • Why the name VeggieDag Thursday? Here.
  • Read all the posts: here. Follow on Twitter with hashtag: #VeggieDag.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs, writers, and home-cooks welcomed! Contact me here.

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