Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Body and Soul

That's a great song done by Coleman Hawkins, one of my favorite saxophonists. But that's not what this is about.

Spent part of the afternoon going back and forth in my usual decision-making style as to whether to spend a long day (6:30 AM to 10:00 PM by bus) going to the Cities tomorrow for a few errands and delights but after writing up a schedule of plans decided to let it wait for a month when I'll have to go down for an overnight anyway to take a job test rather than rush through things tomorrow. Whew, that sentence (or was it a fragment?) was almost as long as the day would have been. And I deliberately didn't use any commas. So there.

Trying to make a decision involved checking some websites and I kept surfing once I'd decided. Found this article about where I'll be soon:

Seeds of change
Boston Vegetarian Food Festival gives fresh look at meat-free eating
By Kerry J. Byrne |
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | | Food & Recipes

Just because something is labeled “vegan” “doesn’t mean it’s health food,” insisted Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in a telephone interview from her San Francisco home. If you want something healthy, eat broccoli, she said. If you want to spoil yourself with a savory snack or decadent dessert, eat her textured corn bread or her chocolate cake sweetened with plenty of sugar and vanilla.

Patrick-Goudreau is the author of the recent “The Joy of Vegan Baking: Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets” (Fair Winds Press, 2007). She’ll be in Boston with scores of other vegetarian vendors on Oct. 20 for the 12th annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival at the Reggie Lewis Center (

The event is an attempt to “demystify” vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and to shatter the myths that surround the diet, said Evelyn Kimber, president of the Boston Vegetarian Society, which sponsors the festival. Stereotypes abound: vegan and vegetarian diets are bland, limited - all about health and not about flavor. Not true, argues Kimber and other local proponents of the vegetarian lifestyle.

“Look at our menu,” said Cuong Van Tran, owner of the Original Buddha’s Delight, a vegetarian restaurant in Chinatown, pointing to a thick menu of more than 200 items. Meat-substitute proteins, such as wheat gluten flour and a variety of soy products, are marinated in spicy sauces for 24 to 48 hours, giving them plenty of flavor. Tran also offers scores of additional vegetarian options at My Thai Cafe in Brookline.

“I look back on my prevegetarian diet of meat, potato and vegetable as boring and bland,” said Kimber. “There are only a handful of meats you cut out of your diet. There are thousands of plant-based foods to discover.”

Many foods derive flavor from spices, fats and oils. Spices, naturally, come from plant products. But people forget that “there are plenty of fats and oils that come from plant-based foods,” said Patrick-Goudreau. “The vegan diet is healthier than a meat-based diet,” she added. “But you can still spoil yourself.”

Buddha's Delight is the restaurant I long for when I think of my Boston days. I first ate there 20-25 years ago when its edge of Chinatown was still surrounded by the famous Combat Zone, Boston's adult entertainment district which is gone now except for the one strip club whose entrance you can check out from Buddha's upstairs windows. The stairs going up to Buddha's have probably scared many people away. Let's just say people don't go there for the decor. The My Thai Cafe is new to me but I expect to eat there a couple times as well as having my first meal at Buddhist Tea House which is located at a temple in Cambridge.

Surfing onward, I found a couple blogs where people had taken the following test to discover their most appropriate religion:

My results:

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
3. Liberal Quakers (83%)
4. Theravada Buddhism (79%)
5. Nontheist (72%)
6. Neo-Pagan (64%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (60%)
8. Taoism (57%)
9. Orthodox Quaker (50%)
10. New Age (50%)
11. Mahayana Buddhism (47%)
12. Reform Judaism (42%)
13. Jainism (37%)
14. Bahá'í Faith (36%)
15. Scientology (30%)
16. Sikhism (28%)
17. New Thought (27%)
18. Seventh Day Adventist (26%)
19. Hinduism (23%)
20. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (22%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (21%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (16%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (15%)
24. Islam (15%)
25. Orthodox Judaism (15%)
26. Roman Catholic (15%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (11%)

Naturally, being the cranky sort I am, I have some issues with that. As far as I remember, I've always been an atheist (at one time a very passionate one who belonged to atheist organizations, hated religion, and had an extended newspaper debate with the head cheese of the Massachusetts Moral I'm pretty indifferent to the whole issue) which may be what they mean by nontheist at #5.

But I've never considered myself a humanist. In fact, one of the books I consider most important is The Arrogance of Humanism by David Ehrenfeld. Humans are not my God any more than God is, and the ideas that we're the most important part of the universe or the planet or the ecosystem, or that we can and should do anything that occurs to us, or are capable of fixing all the many things that we've somehow screwed up in all our omnipotent majesty in the past and present...well, frankly they're all repulsive to me. And more important than my repulsion, I think those ideas and values do enormous damage.

As for the rest of the top ten, the only church I've attended which I enjoyed was a politically and socially active UU one, the only religious woman I've dated whose religion I felt at all comfortable with was a Quaker, I've taken classes in paganism and enjoy the nature-centered theme of many of those groups, and I feel a pretty strong attraction to Taoist views. Based on what I know of it, I would have expected Jainism to score higher, but I'm not at all surprised to see my childhood indoctrination of Catholicism down near the bottom of the list. As far as I can recall, I never believed one bit of it for one moment. I did however keep going to church weekly well into my teens, but that was mostly to check out Ellen Smith's ass a couple pews forward. Body and Soul indeed.


Oboe-Wan said...

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (94%)
3. New Age (88%)
4. Liberal Quakers (86%)
5. Mahayana Buddhism (84%)
6. Scientology (78%)
7. New Thought (73%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (73%)
9. Jainism (69%)
10. Reform Judaism (69%)
11. Secular Humanism (66%)
12. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (66%)
13. Hinduism (65%)
14. Taoism (61%)
15. Sikhism (61%)
16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (57%)
17. Bahá'í Faith (52%)
18. Orthodox Judaism (50%)
19. Orthodox Quaker (48%)
20. Islam (45%)
21. Nontheist (41%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (28%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (25%)
24. Jehovah's Witness (25%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (13%)
27. Roman Catholic (13%)

Hmm..... I was interested to see NeoPagan as #2 for me. Upon reading it compared to my #1 it made more sense. Personally, I like the idea of not "having" to worship at a church. I don't think God or gods care where we are sitting when we act out whatever devotional rites we may have.

I laughed to see Roman Catholic as dead last!! LOL! I was raised Catholic and then declared myself NOT a catholic 12 years ago, at the ripe old age of 21. Gee... I wonder why it ended up last on my list!!

This was great. thanks for posting the link.

greentangle said...

Thanks for posting your's interesting to see a comparison. Some similarity at the extremes and you have generally higher scores across the board which seems right based on what I've read on your blog.

The raised Catholic with it winding up at/near the bottom of the list syndrome seems common. One of the blogs I saw told the same story and that was from a Libertarian so there are three very different people with the same result.