Saturday, April 28, 2007

Movie Review: Year of the Dog

Last night, my boyfriend and I ventured downtown to see the new movie "Year of the Dog" starring Molly Shannon (of SNL fame) as Peggy, an animal-lover who is about to embark on a journey of self discovery. The movie began with some light-hearted humor as several of the quirky movie characters were introduced; including her gossipy office mate, a roll-your-eyes boss, a nimrod neighbor, her control freak brother and sister-in-law, and of course her beloved and adorable dog Pencil. Pencil is her closest companion, humans had always seemed to disappoint her in life, but never animals. Sadly, Pencil dies and Peggy is left feeling alone in the world. That is until she meets an ASPCA volunteer who helps her adopt a new dog and discover veganism and animal advocacy. She then becomes an active volunteer, gathering signatures to stop animal testing, trying out new vegan foods, taking her niece and nephew to a farm sanctuary, and finding homes for abandoned dogs. Through this point of the movie, I was both thrilled and touched. It was so exciting to see someone else's journey to veganism played out on the big screen! And of course, the audience was getting exposure to compassion and the concept of veganism. Too bad the movie didn't end there. After that, several events occur that set Peggy off and she goes....well....crazy. While I realize that a lot of these scence were for comic relief, I think they further engrained the belief that mainstream America has of vegans, that we are extreme and irrational. The movie did end on a positive note, but it was hard to forgive some of the earlier scenes. That being said, I would recommend that vegans and non-vegans alike see this movie. It was both funny and heartbreaking, exciting and frustrating.....and especially touching if you love dogs.

Before taking off for the movie, I whipped up the last of my homemade seitan BBQ style using Annie's Naturals Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce (note to self, halve the recipe for the seitan next time!). Served it as an open-faced sandwich along with a simple spinach salad (grated carrot, mushroom, avocado, grapes tomatoes, and roasted sunflower seed with simple vinaigrette made of flax oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some whole-grain mustard) and some sliced peach. I snuck some Endangered Species chocolate (the Koala bar, dark chocolate and cherries) into the theatre for dessert during the movie.
A few of the other meals this week include: "cheesy" bean and cheese enchiladas from vegweb, pecan-crusted seitan from the Candle Cafe cookbook with french green beans, cashew-buttered sweet potatoes (modified from Vegan LunchBox almond-buttered sweet potatoes), some of my mom's homemade bread, and some sweet strawberries and mango. Also, this morning after a long run with my boyfriend and stopping by the farmer's market (yes! I did it!) I whipped up some french toast with the last of the bread and had some fresh Texas blueberries, grown less than 150 miles from Houston. All of this topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar and a glass of cold vanilla soymilk. I felt I deserved a little treat after running 5 miles. Have a happy weekend!

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