Friday, June 3, 2011

Plant and Dracula

Well, I've been away from this blog long enough to have forgotten how to sign in...  The end of the semester nearly killed me (it often does), and I'm just now surfacing from beneath it.  It was the year of service for me: I directed the Graduate Program in English, served on the Liberal Studies task force, the International Studies advisory committee, both the college and university Program Prioritization committees, and was the Secretary of the Faculty, which means that I was also de facto on a bunch of other committees...  And I directed two fabulous MA theses and have been a reader for several more.

I won't be secretary of the faculty next year, so that's a huge obligation lifted.  I hope to be able to start researching and writing again, as I've pretty much taken the whole year off (wrote one book review during 2010-11).  So far, this summer I've written an article on Margaret Atwood's Surfacing -- a piece for which I'm getting paid (!) -- and that's it.  The vegan body project is my next priority, though, and I've just finished reading an article called "Love at First Beet: Vegetarian Critical Theory Meats Dracula," which was written in 1996 by J. E. D. Stavick.  If I'm going to write about our contemporary vampires' less bloody diets, it seemed wise to start with Dracula, the bloodiest progenitor of all his touchy feely descendants.

Stavick's essay is the only scholarly thing out there that looks at Bram Stoker's Dracula from the perspective of vegetarian critical theory, and this piece is also heavy (if not particularly adept) in its use of postcolonial theory.  Take the following statement, which pretty much sums up the argument: "the threat to English consumption is the threat of reverse colonization, which in this text is manifested in the vampire invasion of England by the powerful consumer 'Other,' Count Dracula, who threatens England with his violation of the meat hierarchy" (26).  That hierarchy, as defined by Stavick and others, is dependent on the privileging of "bloody meat, especially beef, over all other foods" (24).  It's an interesting and, for the time, original analysis.


So I promise to write more.

But in the meantime: Plant!  And by Plant, I mean Jason's restaurant, which is coming along nicely.  Here's the latest from the Mountain Xpress:

Planting a Different Seed
It didn't take long for the building at 165 Merrimon Ave. recently vacated by Beans and Berries to get snatched up. Longtime Laughing Seed chef Jason Sellers is joining former Rosebud Video owners Alan Berger and Leslie Armstrong to open a completely vegan restaurant there that they’ve decided to call "Plant."
Why Plant? "Because 'plant' is food to us," Sellers says. "It's the most rudimentary expression of what food is. It's sustenance and the core of our expression. Everything here will be plant-based."
To the partners, Plant expresses a philosophy of animal-product-free living and a celebration of good food.
"We're thrilled," Armstrong says. "It's so exciting to be able to take all of the things that are important to us and create this new entity. And, to be able to partner up with Jason ... how much better could you get?"
"We will serve flavor-sophisticated, multiculturally influenced food, using techniques that we like the best to intensify flavors based on what's available to us at the best time," [Sellers] says. "The emphasis is food from the ground up. It's exciting for us to be unique among restaurants in Asheville, as well as unique among vegetarian restaurants in Asheville."
If you're having a hard time envisioning what all of that really means, you may not be alone. That's because the chef, trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, tightly intertwines his culinary creations and his life philosophies. Fortunately, Sellers is not all talk.
I. Can't. Wait.  :)

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