Friday, February 02, 2024

bye veganuary, hello february 2024


Veganuary 2024 has been a seemingly endless cold, icy and rough month. With temperatures going up and down between -20C to +7C on these latitudes (further up north in Sweden it has been temperatures around -40C…).

The month began with snow storms and heaps of snow. It ended with a couple of weeks with rain turning into the most awful amount of ice and making it pretty much impossible to go outside without being in danger of broken bones (even if wearing Icebugs). 

As I’m not forced to go to a 9-5 work in an office (grateful), I’ve mostly spent that time reading, taking naps, cooking and finishing my UX-writing course. (Haven’t gotten any feedback on the three assignments yet, so I can only hope I passed the course.)

Climate change is very much upon us.

And electrical bills are soaring.

The best things about the month that we’re finally saying goodbye to have been a) all the vegan food (mostly cooked at home, and mostly tofu in various shapes and forms) and the fact that I’ve already finished 5 books and 8 audio novellas.

Now let’s take a random walk through some of my things that were during the month that was -

I finally baked saffron buns a week ago. My first (and only) ones for winter season 2023/24). They turned out great straight from the oven. After been in the freezer they’re disappointingly heavy and not very nice alas. Won’t be using that new recipe ever again.

Occupying the ’best’ hot water bottle has been a constant battle between Ztina and Ågot this freezing time of the year. They do have one each, but unless it’s placed in the same place, where ever they currently deem is THE place to be, this happens. One very satisfied, one grumpy beyond words.

Yes, crisp white snow is gorgeous. But dropping temperatures like this, and rising energy prices means (for many) that you can’t casually have the same indoor temperatures one has basically always been accustomed to. 

Below photo was taken around 3 pm a couple of weeks ago. I think it was around -15C at the time.

I added saffron to the vegan American pancakes made with silken tofu I regularly make, it was lovely. If I ever get round to it, I’ll share the recipe. Even if I’ve become notoriously bad at sharing recipes I do have the intention of doing it. Every single time I say so.

This has basically been the January garden look until it started raining a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s mostly thawed and brownish grass showing. It’s suppose to snow again next week, but I’m desperately longing for spring and being able to wear normal shoes again without being terrified of slipping and breaking something.

I got myself a few wolly turtlenecks from Marimekko this season. They have been wonderful. I know, as a saintly vegan I shouldn’t buy anything new produce made from animals incl wool. But this is mostly made from recycled materials, will last for many years, and well, maybe I’m not that saintly. 

Sometimes you can, should make other/better choices, and yet…

This was my first plantbased semla of 2024. And so far basically my only one. It was delicious. And ridiculously expensive I realised afterwards. On February 13 it’s Fat Tuesday, and then we’ll hopefully have a couple of proper bakery perfect ones at my favourite Bageri Passion.

Little pockets of joy have never ever been more important than now. And I’m really trying to be kinder to myself for not being perfect, as I would ideally be more an activist than I am today. 

And yes the blatant genocide happening in Gaza, with most of the western world’s politicians turning a blind eye (or even aiding it) is just sickening and one of the reason it’s really hard to believe there’s in any way a peaceful, livable future on this planet. And really, does the human race even deserve its place on it?

The Swedish government is equally sickening. On so many levels. And mainly their stance on climate action. And biodiversity. The so called environmental minister is an ill-qualified joke, a liberal in a leach led by the extreme far right.

Swedish democracy has effectively been disassembled by conservative clowns. The focus is on rearmament, Nato, fossil fuel, new nuclear plants, eradicate wildlife (killing of wolf, lynx, bear) and it’s really very difficult to grasp that this is Sweden, this is happening and how do we make it stop. 

The scene for Weltschmerz has just gotten very much wider as well as closer. 

I’m ever so grateful for these fluffy tykes, showing me there are other things that can ease the pain of a world going completely bonkers - and then I haven’t even mentioned the madness of COP28, the craziness of the war in Ukraine, the drug criminality in Sweden, with its frequent bombings and shootings (yes really), hacker attacks, corruption spreading its vicious tentacles through our society etc etc etc. Armageddon has never felt this imminent. And yet most people act like it’s business as usual. Which is a mindboggingly weirdness all on its own imho.

Or maybe it’s a way to deny, reject that something is truly wrong with this world. If we act that everything is normal as it used to be, and not the new unpredictable normal, maybe things will be alright. And maybe I can just go on living like I’ve always done - eat meat, fly, drive, shop yeah. Our minds are weird, and not always in a wonderful way.

A couple of years ago I got this second hand amigurumi cat signed Marimekko. I’ve been wanting a little friend ever since. Lost an auction on a dog from the same crocheted toys series last spring. But at the very end of 2023 I saw this preloved bunny, and on January 1 I won the auction. When it arrived in the mailbox it turned out it looked exactly the same as the kitty, just in red-white stripes. And now I can’t figure out if they’re suppose to be cats or bunnies? The face is definitely cat, the ears and tails are definitely bunny-like. I guess it doesn’t really matter as they do look happy to be together. 

It’s difficult to grasp the fact that eating out used to be a very regular thing for me. These days, ever since the pandemic really, it’s a rare treat. And this hearty vegan salad with Oumph at a local cafe, in the beginning of Veganuary, really was a Treat with capital T. It was so very good. And pretty.

I’ve come to realise this Marimekko coat (2019 I think?) and wolly layers under, has been the best thing to wear when it has been this cold. It’s very effective when it comes to freezing winds, in a whole other way than the coats and jackets that are suppose to be winter garments.

And as 2024 is the 60 year anniversary for Marimekko’s most iconic print Unikko (which I adore, needless to say) it’s even more fun sporting it whenever I can.

Now and then the German grocery store chain Lidl (which I have never been a fan of but for the kitty litter) has vegan weeks, and then there are special weeks with very good prices on the best tofu around, Yipin. Made locally in Stockholm suburbs by a Chinese family. Then a visit and stocking up on tofu is a must! 

After having experimented with tofu textures for about a year now, I’ve come to the conclusion that thawing frozen tofu is one great thing to get good texture. As is airfrying. not impressed by the tofu-press though. Which is disappointing as it took forever to find one, and it was fairly expensive. Ah well, live and learn, live and learn…

Started the new year, and Veganuary, with the best kind of breakfast - premium tea, sourdough with hummus and a great book.

Apart from warmer weather and ice free streets I am now so very ready for new exciting beginnings, new clients, a new job, new possibilities to make this world a better place. Hello out there, world, can you hear me?!?

Thank you Veganuary, for all your lessons, and slow quiet days, welcome February, amidst the chaos that is this current world status, can we get this purposeful party started that makes my heart sing and magic things happen, please!?!

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