Mark Reinfeld— the award-winning vegan chef and author of numerous books, including “Healing The Vegan Way: Plant-Based Eating for Optimal Health and Wellness”—returns to the show, this time offering more early biographical information than we’ve discussed in past conversations. This includes growing up in Stony Brook, Long Island, where he and his family ate a pretty standard (if not standard American) diet—“not plant-based,” Reinfeld recalls, dryly. He shares details of his younger years, including extensive travel, going to school for a year in London, working in a commercial cooking operation in L.A., briefly attending law school, and a stint at a San Diego health food store, which proved pivotal, in that he left there to launch his own culinary and consulting enterprise. Reinfeld recalls that his interest in food and cooking was spurred by his grandfather, a chef, master ice carver, and generally a colorful, illustrious figure in South Florida. He explains when he started recognizing that working in the vegan cooking realm might be a calling. And given the years—decades, really—that Reinfeld has been ensconced in the vegan culinary world, he’s particularly well positioned to observe any cultural shifts that may have occurred regarding attitudes about vegan food, and offers those observations. Some of those observations extend into the medical field, where the progression of certain diseases and conditions (including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure) can be halted or reversed, while more and more medical schools are altering their nutrition curriculum to include the virtues of a plant-based diet. Reinfeld describes the cooking workshops he’s presenting this summer, including the Virtual Four-Week Vegan Cooking Immersion (four-plus hours per day, five days a week, additionally featuring guest instructors, including Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Creamery), Nourish Your Life Through Food: A Six-Part Introduction to Successful Plant-Based Living (Ashley Boudet, ND, and Reinfeld, aka “The Doctor & The Chef,” co-lead this virtual workshop on creating a healthy and balanced plant-based lifestyle), and the Three-Day In-Person Vegan Culinary Jam Session (This workshop is in person, with participants traveling to Colorado, near Boulder, to join Reinfeld in the kitchen to develop, and share, more sophisticated techniques). Information on these workshops, and much more: https://www.chefmarkreinfeld.com, https://www.facebook.com/chefmarkreinfeld, https://www.instagram.com/chefmarkreinfeld/)
ALSO: I spoke briefly with Julia Wang, BirdCast Project Leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Wang offered a brief overview of the Lab, a member-supported operation of Cornell University, in Ithica, New York, which studies birds and other wildlife. It was founded in 1915. She went on to explain BirdCast, which explores and tracks bird migration, aiming to cultivate safety for the billions of migratory birds—Wang noted that the program engages in data collection and other science, research which seeks to additionally protect the birds and further enhance their welfare during future migrations. She also touched on the BirdCast Migration Dashboard, a new feature enabling people to track nightly migration in their region, and which can be found at https://birdcast.info, among other details of interest to current and budding birders. (https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home)
COMEDY CORNER: Julio Torres’ “I Am Vegan” (https://www.instagram.com/spaceprincejulio/?hl=en)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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