Weekend Reading, 11.23.13
November 24, 2013

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

We had almost a 50/50 split on the question of whether I should work some product finds/reviews into Weekend Reading or not. In the end, I think I agree with a bunch of my readers that the weekend reading series is pretty complete on its own. So from now on, close to the start of each month, I’ll share 10 new finds–be they products, recipes, books, or whatnot. Should be a fun new addition to the blog!

For now, another edition of weekend reading.


Janae’s “the works” five-minute salad looks fresh, easy, and satisfying. I love giant bowls of green like this.


Jackie’s smoky pumpkin bisque has me drooling over my keyboard this morning. Is it lunchtime yet?


Ashley’s tofu stuffing quiche would make an incredible vegan (and gluten free) brunch dish–just in time for holiday entertaining!


I love stirring spices, like turmeric, curry, and cumin, into my warm grains lately. Christine has a lovely recipe for anise seed quinoa that I’d like to try.


Laura’s gorgeously photographed good energy drink sounds like a perfect pick-me-up! (When I’m not clutching my coffee, that is ;-))


1. I’ve mentioned a few articles lately that deal with the decline of biodiversity. This article is yet another troubling look at the way monocropping and insecticides are injuring insect populations, including the majestic monarch butterfly.

2. This article, published in the MIT Technology Review, tells the story of two pharmaceuticals, Kalydeco (used to treat cystic fibrosis) and Zaltrap (used to treat colorectal cancer). The article explains how the drugs get priced, and the details thereto are complicated, troubling, and eye opening. A really interesting read.

3. Brendan Borrell’s article about herpetologist Edward Taylor and his legacy has it all: a good yarn, exotic locales, whispers of espionage and adventure, and a fascinating look into the world of herpetology. It, too, touches upon biodiversity as it relates to amphibian species in the Philippines. Totally engrossing.

4. Also from Nature, an interesting article about the use of SMC–also known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention–to treat malaria. The struggle is between an effort to use anti-malarials in regions where the disease is endemic each season for prevention, and the fact that resistance to the drug is ultimately likely if the practice is adopted widely. In other words, does the opportunity to save lives here and now justify the prospect of losing the drug to resistance in the future? I think this is an interesting question not only in the context of malaria, but as part of a broader public health conversation as well.

5. Last year, I read about the work of photographer Traer Scott on Our Hen House. Scott’s book, Shelter Dogs, features intimate and moving portraits of dogs that she took from within America’s shelters. Many of the dogs she photographed were ultimately put down, which makes the images almost unbearably poignant. The collection is a powerful testimony of the plight of shelter dogs, pit bulls especially, throughout the country.

Now photographer Shannon Johnstone has created another series, more jubilant in nature but still tremendously affecting, called Landfill Dogs. I read this profile of the series and of Johnstone, who explained her choice to use a landfill backdrop thus:

It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures…These are not just cute pictures of dogs…My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance.

The dogs in the portraits are described as either looking for a home, found a home, or never found a home.

It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking to read. I highly recommend looking through the profile of Johnstone’s work on My Modern Met and also checking out the site itself. And of course, if you can do anything to help a homeless dog in need, perhaps these images will help you to take action. While I’m not in a position to foster/adopt, the series really stayed with me, and got me thinking about what I can do: volunteer at a shelter, spread awareness about art like this, and simply play a more active role in bringing happiness to fostered companion animals. Two very close friends have adopted dogs this year, and I’d like to make an effort to spend some time playing with them in the coming months.

Before I go, and on the subject of things you can do to help animals, I wanted to take a second to tell you about Tulip the turkey:

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 8.51.01 AM

Tulip fell off of a truck that was on its way to slaughter two years ago. She now lives at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. She’s described as sensitive and kind, and her favorite foods are cranberries and grapes.

This year, Tulip is my adopt-a-turkey sponsoree. The adopt-a-turkey program, put forth by Farm Sanctuary each year at this time, is a wonderful way to do something positive for farm sanctuaries and the animals they protect in the spirit of Thanksgiving. For a one-time donation of $30, anyone can sponsor a turkey who lives at one of Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters. You receive a certificate of adoption, along with some sweet details about your turkey. Adoptions make lovely gifts, and they are one way you can show gratitude to organizations like Farm Sanctuary and the work they do on behalf of farm animals all over the country. If you’ve been looking for some sort of Thanksgiving gesture for animals, this is a fun one to explore.

I’m excited to say that I have finally perfected an almost raw, vegan pumpkin pie (I have a few versions on this blog, but this one is the winner), so that’ll go up tomorrow. On Tuesday, a last minute Thanksgiving recipe roundup. And in the meantime, happy Sunday to you all.


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  1. Thanks Gena for sharing your adoption of Tulip with is–you just inspired me sponsor one myself and 2 others as gifts. I’m a vegan and a fan of Farm Sanctuary, but still… I feel so much gratitude for you and for the Farm Sanctuary folks <3

  2. Those doggies! Breaks my heart. I wish I had the means to adopt a rescue dog. In the mean time, maybe I will volunteer at a shelter…

  3. Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book, Flight Behavior, is a fictionalized story based around the Monarch butterfly saga. The book itself is definitely a novel, and doesn’t claim to be an accurate portrayal. That said, it is a beautiful read and can serve as a gateway for people who may not realize the importance of the butterflies to an ecosystem.

    Thank you for including the Times piece.

  4. Wow – never thought I’d see the word herpetologist on your blog – my worlds collide (I’m a herpetologist) 🙂 That was an interested story. I’d never heard of Taylor, but recognized many other names in the story. Museum collections are something of a conundrum for me; they document biodiversity like nothing else, but that individual animals have to die to document their existence really bothers me.

    • That is very cool!

      I know what you mean about museum collections. I’ve heard a similar sense of tension about zoos — a lot of the intention is animal conservation/public education, but the result is a lot of really sad and unjust conditions for the creatures kept in captivity.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading all of these pieces throughout the week. In my biology class, I have to bring an article related to science every Friday, and ever since you started this series, I use one of the interesting articles that you’ve posted here. They always spark great discussions, so, as always, thanks for sharing, Gena!

    • Oh, that’s great, E! I’m happy the articles have interested you. This series is compelling me to read more, which is fun and keeps me engaged.

  6. Thank you so much for pointing out so many very important topics that don’t get enough attention! I shed tears reading about the shelter dogs. Ugg…too early for that really but my goodness it just touches my heart. You are a soul sister! I am truly looking forward to this ‘Weekend Reading’ series. Have a wonderful holiday Gena…many blessing to you and yours! 🙂

  7. Oh hey, my twin sister and I both (independently) chose Tulip to sponsor as well! Clearly she speaks to a certain personality type…:) I really love the Adopt-a-Turkey event–I sponsor a turkey every year, and it’s a nice way to feel like I’m doing a tiny bit to push back against what Thanksgiving means to most people. I put my adoption certificate up on the wall by my desk at work, and it’s sparked several conversations about veganism with co-workers, which is an added bonus.

    • I love the event, too, Meghan. It’s such a great way to approach this particular holiday. Happy to hear that it has led to some good conversations for you!

  8. Great list and thanks for linking my recipe. 🙂 I look forward to this list too because of the powerful articles listed. Just wow on the dogs, I’m so passionate about finding homes for unwanted pets and it breaks my heart to think how many never get to experience a loving relationship.

  9. I agree with Janet! I don’t follow enough science (or medicine news) & I appreciate you filtering through articles & sharing the top reads. Thank you for sharing about the adopt-a-turkey program. I think I’m going to do that with my kid’s involvement–a great way to make Thanksgiving more about compassion!

  10. Gena – I look forward to this series every week. Thank you for sharing the shelter dogs piece. Like you said, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Additionally I didn’t know “sponsor a turkey” existed. As a vegetarian of 16 years I am super excited to participate in this!

  11. Always love your food and fodder recaps, Gena.. definitely those with the scientific twist. I don’t follow enough of the non-medicine science news. I mostly become pretty jaded with the popular press but these seem like great reads. 🙂

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