Cafe Reviews

Second Helpings

How Green Is My Valley: Too bad Phoenix does not yet have a delicatessen support group, where deli-starved folks like me can find a sympathetic ear for their cravings. ("Hello, my name is Howard, and I love knishes.")

Another hugely disaffected set of Valley diners--vegetarians--is much better able to soothe its misery with company. That's because it can contact the Vegetarian Society of Phoenix.

Started a little more than a year ago, the group began with fewer than ten participants. Now it has about 100 dues-paying members, says spokeswoman Pat Zahn, as well as another 300 on the mailing list.

What do members get for their $15 annual fee? They get a tee shirt, a bumper sticker and a button stamped with the message "Veg Out." They get to mingle with like-minded people at vegetarian-friendly restaurants, potlucks and the group's monthly meetings.

And, according to Zahn, they get to spread the word about the virtues of vegetarianism. The Vegetarian Society identifies three issues with its cause, hoping to make the meat-loving public aware of what the promotional literature calls the pernicious "social costs of a meat-based diet."

First is good health, which, members say, a meatless diet promotes. Benefits go beyond lower blood pressure and cholesterol readings, says Zahn. She reports that even her minor health problems, like headaches, have gone away since she abandoned meat. Vegetarianism, declares the society, is "a key component in achieving wellness."

Second, the group focuses on animal rights, calling for "the moral and ethical treatment of all living creatures." This means not eating them.

Third, the Vegetarian Society links meat-eating with environmental destruction. Giving up animal protein would stop wasteful overgrazing and the chemical poisoning of land and animals, the group claims.Zahn emphasizes that the Vegetarian Society's members span the full range of vegetarianism, from strict vegans who won't touch dairy products or eggs to people who just aim to wean themselves off Quarter Pounders.If you're interested, you can get more info by calling Zahn at 569-3092.

How Green Is My Valley, Part Deux: The Vegetarian Society of Phoenix is not the only meatless group in town. CAARE--that's Concerned Arizonans for Animal Rights and Ethics--also preaches the vegetarian gospel.

CAARE will be sponsoring seminars on vegetarianism over the next two weeks. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the group will bring in experts to discuss environmental and farming issues. On October 23 and 25, Jennifer Raymond, author of The Peaceful Palate: Fine Vegetarian Cooking, will speak and give a cooking demonstration.

The October 17 and 23 programs will be at the Memorial Union at ASU in Tempe. The October 18 and 25 programs take place at LaSala B on the ASU West campus in Glendale. The seminars run from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but you need to reserve a spot. Call 241-9778 for more info.--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,