Press

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I’m quoted in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer in an article about a new environmental action called The PB&J Campaign an Internet-based effort that advocates making one of your daily meals non-animal-based.

“Elizabeth Fiend, a Philadelphia-based writer, health and environmental activist and all-around green-living guru, sizes up the PB&J Campaign’s approach: “Because I’m aware of this crazy fear Americans have of vegetarians and because I know it’s very difficult to be a vegetarian or vegan, I’m a vegetable-pusher, not a vegetarian who berates others for eating meat,” so the “flexitarian” approach – cutting back but not eliminating animal-based foods – can work. For herself, Fiend prefers peanut butter on whole-grain bread with hot sauce, but like anything else, lunch is an individual pursuit.”

It’s great article and project even though they left out the part where I said “Animals know fear and feel pain which is the reason I don’t like to eat them.”

Check out my Adult Peanut Butter Sandwich recipe and read the complete article >>> Love, Elizabeth Fiend

PB&J leads the ticket in this vegan’s campaign

By Amy Z. Quinn

For The Philadelphia Inquirer

In this season of election-related nonsense, know one thing: Bernard Brown is a vegan, but he’s not campaigning to turn you into one.

The founder of the PB&J Campaign doesn’t care if you sprinkle cheese on your pasta, or if you like a schmear of mayo on that veggie wrap; his efforts are not part of some animal lover’s plan to rid the world of meat products. Brown asks only that you think about the meal you’re about to eat, and the very long tail your very quick lunch hour can have.

The PB&J Campaign, which Brown launched last year, is an Internet-based effort that advocates making one of your daily meals non-animal-based. Enter the peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, which, depending on your allergy situation, is either Public Enemy No. 1 or the greatest thing since sliced bread. Brown’s argument is based on encouraging people to think how farming and food processing impact the environment, and then having them add a PB&J sandwich to the list of everyday efforts they’re making to live green.

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The Edge

Living Life au Natural

THE SOUTH PHILLY REVIEW
By Lex C.
November 29, 2007

There are a lot of things that are bad for you, but Elizabeth Fiend and her project Big

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Tea Party are here to change that. They’ve been around awhile — a decade in fact — helping locals naturalize their daily routines and cut out the unhealthy stuff with videos, workshops, events and a brand-new and improved Web site that provides facts, tips and helpful guidelines to a fulfilling lifestyle.

But what does a “fulfilling lifestyle” mean? Well, that’s exactly what Fiend is here to help you figure out. Her mission (now at anyone’s fingertips at www.bigteaparty.com) is to show by example and demonstration how eating healthy, being mindful of the environment and making small tweaks in daily chores and errands can make a difference.

The site itself is a resource center where people can learn anything from how to grow fresh vegetables in a tiny urban backyard to how to make vegan French toast.

“We’ve made 20 videos about do-it-yourself ways of having a healthier life and basically just having fun,” Fiend said the day after Thanksgiving (for which she had posted a special section about how to cook the feast in a healthy, delicious way). “We’ve made an environmental video for kids. We show people how to have a compost pile even if they live in the city.”

A punk rocker who played the slide guitar in the late 1990s, Fiend had a softer side when it came to her other hobbies. Living in Queen Village, she made crafts, gardened and was a stellar vegetarian cook. So when video editor Valerie Keller, who lives in Pennsport, and camerawoman Gretjen Clausing posed the idea of making movies with Fiend as the host, she ran with it.

A decade later, the ladies are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their project at Molly’s Bookstore, 1010 S. Ninth St., Dec. 8. Big Tea Party will pay tribute to its past — playing some of the first videos the trio ever made — and its future by giving a nod to the Web site.

From 7 to 10 p.m., the store will be open to the public (at a $3 donation fee) to “schmooze,” watch movies and munch on snacks (healthy, of course). And what better place to have such a party than in the heart of America’s oldest open-air market where people come from all over to buy fresh veggies, fruits, spices and herbs.

“It’s a nice thing to get people into the Italian Market on a Saturday night,” Fiend said. “And we wanted to have the event in South Philly — that’s where we live and we love South Philly.”

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The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Elisa Ludwig
11/8/07

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[Elizabeth Fiend, musician and cook, cuts vegetables, with two of her guitars sitting by. Photo by: Ron Tarver/Inquirer.]

To any home cook who rocks out to a vegetable-prep soundtrack, the idea that music can inspire great food is nothing new.

But a few recent and forthcoming cookbooks – I Like Food, Food Tastes Good (Hyperion, 2007); Lost in the Supermarket (Soft Skull, 2008); Please Feed Me: A Punk Vegan Cookbook (Soft Skull, 2004) – are tweaking the idea for indie-rock fans: They’re betting on the fact that, in certain circles, a Thai sweet-potato soup is actually more tempting when it’s made by the members of the band Belle and Sebastian.

Lately, it seems, indie rock has been mixing with food in surprisingly high-profile ways. Last year, Alex Kapranos, onetime chef and lead singer of the U.K. pop group Franz Ferdinand, released a memoir of his meals on the road called Sound Bites.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

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Thu, May. 25, 2006 — Inqlings By Michael Klein Inquirer Columnist
Steak out

How’s NBC Today show weatherman Al Roker going to keep that boyish figure? Roker overnighted here to push Tuesday’s premiere of the NBC10 10! show’s new studio. Upon arrival Monday, he had dinner at Rittenhouse Square’s Barclay Prime, and chef Jim Locasio had one of the steakhouse’s signature $100 cheesesteaks sent out. The next day, Locasio showed up at Today’s setup outside the Art Museum for a bit on cheesesteaks – and came bearing another $100 cheesesteak. Also on camera were Ruth Hirshey, bringing cheesesteak spring rolls from chef Martin Hamann at the Four Seasons Hotel; Rick Olivieri from Rick’s Philly Steaks in Reading Terminal Market; and foodie Elizabeth Fiend, who had her homespun vegetarian Cheese Fake. Roker’s favorite? He “ummed” a lot. Ever the diplomat, he didn’t say.

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Cooking Light Magazine’s Best Cities: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In America’s fifth-largest city, the historic past provides a backdrop for a present that’s healthy and happening.

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By Chris Rodell
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
April 2007

Cheesesteaks too rich for your diet? Then try Elizabeth Fiend’s Vegetarian Philly Cheese Fake. “I’ve been making them for years because I’m committed to bringing fun, flavorful healthy eating to the masses,” she says of the wheat meat, pepper, onion and American cheese concoctions that have been featured on The Food Network and NBC’s Today Show. The recipe can be found at www.bigteaparty.com.

It’s the only authentically fake food you’ll find in this feisty and surprisingly tasteful town.

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PHILADELPHIA City Paper
June 22-28, 2006

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Faking Us Out
by A.D. Amorosi

Small Bites
I’d say the cheesesteak has had a bad rap—what with the national attention it’s received for its primary proponent, Joe Vento—if it wasn’t the cheesesteak we were talking about. In terms of haute cuisine, it’s one step away from the scrapple hoagie. Still, it’s Philadelphia’s signature dish. And there have been attempts to uplift its profile—a la Barclay Prime and its $100 Kobe beef bite.
But on May 23’s edition of NBC’s Today Show, along with the Barclay beauty and cheesesteak spring rolls from The Four Seasons, another sandwich joined that pantheon in national debate on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Elizabeth Fiend’s vegetarian Philly Cheese Fake. There, Fiend, host/creator of the local Big Tea Party television show, presented her usual vision of craftiness and anarchy toward the right-minded ideal of healthy living.

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Lonely Planet Travel Guide

Philadelphia & the Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Check out the write up of BiG TeA PaRtY and my vegetarian Cheese Fake recipe in this travel book about Philadelphia. Posted by: Elizabeth Fiend
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National Geographic Traveler’s Magazine

Next Great City: Philly, Really

2005 September Issue

BY: Contributing editor Andrew Nelson

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WITH HER TOUSLED BLOND hair and cat-eye glasses, and dressed in stripes, paisleys, and polka dots, Elizabeth Fiend looks like she hatched from a church basement rummage sale. This punk rock version of Martha Stewart hosts “BiG TeA PaRtY,” a public television show charting Philly’s sprawling street life and politics (and offering cooking tips). I join Fiend to tour South Philadelphia, the city’s famed working-class Italian neighborhood. We navigate our way to the Italian Market, redolent of fish, woodsmoke, and anise.

“There’s only one way to do things around here,” Fiend says of her neighborhood. “Their way. That’s the Philly “addytude”—a type of honesty with a tough-guy edge.”

I get a helping of Philly addytude while ordering a hoagie at Chickie’s Italian Deli. Though it’s only 3 p.m., and the place is packed with patrons, Chickie’s will close in an hour. “It’s not about maximizing profit,” whispers Fiend. “They don’t like working nights. They close each day at 4, or when the bread runs out, whichever comes first. But the food’s so good, you work around that.”

Fiend and her husband, Allen, live on a block of sturdy brick row houses. The plastic awnings, clean stoops, and front window religious displays epitomize the neighborhood character. Italian. Immutable. Unchangeable.
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Anti-Marthas throw quirky party

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By Eils Lotozo
Knight Ridder Newspapers / Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA – Just like Martha Stewart, Elizabeth Fiend is a blond television host with her own how-to show offering cooking lessons, domestic tips, crafts projects and gardening advice.

But while Martha might tell you how to hemstitch a set of linen napkins, make a perfect brioche, or tend your formal rose garden, Fiend will show you how to make a meat substitute out of wheat gluten, decorate a photo album with green fake fur and glitter, and avoid getting flat tires on your bicycle.

And she’s likely to do it all wearing a feathered headdress, jeweled cat’s-eye glasses, and an outfit of garish, mismatched plaids.

The show? It’s called “Big Tea Party,” and it’s not quite like anything else on television.

The creation of Fiend and pals Gretjen Clausing and Valerie Keller, the program – a blend of environmentalism, vegetarian cooking, punk aesthetics and absurdist humor – has been airing on Drexel University station DUTV since 1998.

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ALTERNATIVE PRESS REVIEW

BY: ALLAN ANTLIF

Review: Unconventional Coverage, at the Republican National Convention

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For some years Valerie Keller and Elizabeth Fiend with Gretjen Clausing have been producing a wildly popular cable TV show–Big Tea Party–dedicated to bringing “anarchist home economics” to Philly’s cheese-steak enthusiasts. In the summer of 2000 George W. Bush’s Republicans came to town to crown their king, and BTP rallied its forces to produce a feature on the event . . . from the protesters’ perspective.

The result is a high-production tour-de-force unlike any other recent activist video. Fiend “hosts” the show, providing snappy commentary that is squarely aimed at the establishment’s misrepresentations and double-speak. She searches out and interviews protesters who discuss a wide range of concerns, bringing to the fore the diversity of voices fuelling the anti-Republican forces. We also get a taste of the opposite side’s mind-set from people such as Log Cabin Republican Donald Carter who defends gay conservatism and a “Sisters for the Second Amendment” spokesperson who calls (loudly) for a piece in every purse. The video is tightly edited and spiced up with anti-capitalist rap poetry, screamingly funny studio cuts of Fiend wringing the neck of a “rubber chicken” politician, and other vignettes. These augment on-the-street analysis of universal health care, how to end gun violence, the rightness of dissent, and other issues.

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