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July 2000
Vegetarian Advocate: How to Throw a Tofu Cream Pie

By Jack Rosenberger

 

How to BAKE a Tofu Cream Pie

Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman had just taken his position behind the podium at the opening session of the National Nutrition Summit and started to speak when 23-year-old Arathi Jayaram, a PETA member, jumped on the stage, called Glickman a "Meat pimp," and threw a tofu cream pie at him. Unfortunately for Jayaram (and the assembled press photographers), Glickman ducked—the pie hit only the back of his jacket.

Before being dragged off stage, Jayaram shouted, "Shame on you, Dan Glickman, for pushing meat and promoting animal cruelty." According to a PETA press release, Jayaram was inspired to pie Glickman because of his "refusal to acknowledge that a meat-based diet is killing people, despite proof of its links to obesity and nutritional problems."

To Pie or Not to Pie
Some social justice activists are opposed to pie-ing. The two main arguments against pie-throwing are that it’s violent and an inappropriate method of political expression. I disagree. As for the claim of violence, a person who gets a pie tossed in her or his face isn’t physically harmed. "A pie is not a gun," says one pie adherent. "A pie is not a knife. A pie is not a rock."

Being hit with a tofu cream pie is nothing compared to what millions of nonhuman animals are forced to endure every day. "On factory farms," PETA notes, "chickens have their beaks sliced off with a hot blade, pigs have their tails chopped off and their teeth removed with pliers, and male cows and pigs are castrated, all without anesthesia."

Besides, we’re engaged in a struggle for justice. This isn’t a badminton match. Some clothes are going to be soiled, some egos will be bruised, some people are going to be hurt.

As a means of political expression, hitting an opponent in the face with a tofu cream pie is merely one utensil in an animal-rights activist’s toolbox. Pie-throwing is an age-old tactic of political theater. Also, a properly aimed pie is a unique weapon—nothing else works quite so well at visually deflating a wrongdoer.

Pie Throwing 101
Internationally, pie-throwing may be enjoying a resurgence. Several organizations, such as Pastrymakers Without Borders, are dedicated to it. In San Francisco, the Biotic Baking Brigade has pied more than a half-dozen public figures, including economist Milton Friedman, Pacific Lumber Company CEO Charles Hurwitz, and San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. In Europe, Belgian Noel Godin and his band of collaborators, called L’Entarteur, have done in more than 20 persons, including several French government officials, film director Jean-Luc Godard, various philosophers and historians, and, most famously, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. In the past, PETA has garnered a substantial amount of publicity by pie-ing its foes, such as Procter & Gamble chairman John E. Pepper, to protest animal testing or other atrocities committed against nonhuman animals.

How to Throw a Tofu Cream Pie
The recipe for successfully pie-ing an animal abuser involves several key ingredients: careful planning, proximity, the element of surprise, and an abundance of pies.

When L’Entarteur creamed Bill Gates in Paris, the operation involved 32 persons, many of whom were carrying tarts hidden in camera bags or under their coats, while they waited for the Microsoft chairman in the street. "The secret is to have precise information," Godin has said. "Our friends in Paris knew how the visit was planned and gave us all the details the day before."

Godin and his followers try to confuse their intended victim, the police and any bodyguards by appearing as ridiculous as possible. They paste exaggerated smiles on their faces, utter nonsense poetry and chant "gloup, gloup, gloup" (an expression that derives from Godin’s pseudonym Georges le Gloupier) before descending on their target with whip cream tarts.

Jayaram’s assault was less than 100 percent successful because she lacked the element of surprise. Glickman saw Jayaram approach and managed to turn away in time. If she had been accompanied by an accomplice, Jayaram might have nailed Glickman in the kisser at the podium. Jayaram and her accomplice could have approached Glickman and when the accomplice, say, handed Glickman a piece of paper, Jayaram could have struck when Glickman leaned forward and his momentum prevented him from quickly moving away.

Lastly, when it comes to airborne pies, less isn’t more, for example, the Biotic Baking Brigade, which caught San Francisco mayor Brown in a cross-fire of cherry, tofu, and pumpkin pies.

Probation or Prison?
While pie-throwing is a mainstay of political theater, the pie-ed party may file charges against her or his assailant. Jayaram was charged with assault, which carries a recommended penalty of up to a year imprisonment. (Odds are she’ll get probation.) The three members of the Biotic Baking Brigade who hit Mayor Brown were arrested and charged with assault and battery. A jury found the trio not guilty of assault, but guilty of battery.

The prosecution had recommended a term of three-years probation, which the threesome rejected, saying probation would prevent them from further protests. Instead, they were sentenced to six months in county jail. Prior to the Biotic Baking Brigade’s trial last year, no pie-throwing case had gone to trial in America in 20 years.

Start Baking
Godin prefers tarts over letters. "I’ve always been a partisan of the insulting letter, in the Dadaist and surrealist tradition, sent by intellectuals to challenge famous people’s pretensions," Godin has said. "But if I sent a letter to Bill Gates, only he would see it. Instead, I communicate via tarts, in a sort of visual Esperanto."

Carnivores I consider pie worthy: Dan Glickman; any adult member of the Perdue or Tyson families; Dan Glickman; high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet guru Robert Atkins; Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas; Dan Glickman; New York Times food columnist Molly O’Neill; Hudson Valley Foie Gras co-owner Michael A. Ginor; Dan Glickman; Dan Glickman; Dan Glickman; and McDonald’s CEO Jack Greenberg.

If pie-throwing isn’t your thing, contact: USDA secretary Dan Glickman, 200-A Whiten Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250; email: AGSEC@usda.gov.


RECIPE
How to Prepare a Tofu Cream Pie

Karin’s Incredible Chocolate Pie
1-1/4 lbs soft tofu
3/4 c. semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips, melted
Sliced kiwi, strawberries, or raspberries
1 9-inch unbaked Chocolate Cookie Crust, chilled (recipe follows)

1. In a blender, purée the tofu to a smooth paste.
2. Add the melted chocolate and blend thoroughly.
3. Pour into the pie crust and chill for at least 2 hours.
4. Garnish with the sliced fruit before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chocolate Cookie Crust
25 vegan chocolate sandwich cookies
1/3 c. margarine, melted

1. Break up the cookies by hand, then grind into crumbs in a blender or food processor.
2. Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl, add the melted margarine, and stir.
3. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling.

From "Cooking With PETA." See www.peta-online.org for more recipes.

 


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