Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Crusades

In the new edition of J. Gerlach’s Simple History series Crusades zine we look at the period between 1095 and 1229, a time of widespread cruelty, political expansion, and religious hypocrisy. As Gerlach says in the zine’s intro, “It is said that religious differences have caused most wars. Certainly this reasoning could be applied to the Crusades—a battle of Christians against Muslims for control of the ‘Holy Land.’ But as in other ‘religious wars,’ religion was not the main reason to fight.” What comes next is an intelligent, fast-faced look at the hows and whys of this dark (and oft romanticized) spot in our history. Gerlach’s illustrated, 48-page take on the Crusades is an accessible but richly detailed piece of cultural documentation. In this day of terrorists and nationalism, oil-wars and martyrs, this text will ring true to modern readers. The big, hot button themes—jihad, imperialism, propaganda, religious fervor—are all the same and the result can be chilling. As says Gerlach, “It goes back and forth, with no end in sight.” Scary and synchronistic, this is the most relevant Simple History zine yet.

Vegan/Gluten-Free Joshua Ploeg Recipe For YOU! Sugar Cookies and Frosting!

Joshua Ploeg is the author of the vegan cookbook In Search of the Lost Taste and the raw food zine, So Raw It’s Downright Filthy (as well as a buncha sweet zines.) He recently contributed a whole batch of recipes to Let Gluten Freedom Ring, curated by Microcosm’s own Adam Gnade. Here’s one of Joshua’s recipes from said GF zine. 




2 cup almond flour

1 cup rice flour

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut cream

1/2 to 3/4 cup earth balance

1 1/4 to 2 cup sugar

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

A pinch of salt

A little almond flavoring if you wish

A little coconut milk or almond milk to help bind


Cream together Earth Balance, vanilla, coconut cream, sugar, and xanthan gum. Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl. Mix the wet and dry together, until a dough forms, form into a ball. You may add more flours or liquid if needed to create a workable dough. Roll out on a floured board and cut into shapes. Thickness depends on your taste, the thinner the dough the crispier the cookie will be. It might be wise to pick them up with a small spatula since gluten-free cookies can sometimes break apart more easily. Place on lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 11 minutes (depending on how browned you want them to be). Allow to cool briefly and then carefully remove them with a spatula and set aside to cool. This dough can also be rolled into a log and wrapped and chilled then cut into slices, refrigerator cookie style, then baked if that’s easier for you.



1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tbsp margarine/Earth Balance (or coconut cream)

1 tsp vanilla

Water, a few drops at a time if/as needed

Food coloring if you like. Mix together and frost your cookies.

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The Microcosm Publishing/Paris Review Giveaway!

Paris Review giveaway! Adam G. from the ‘Cosm Kansas Dept got an extra copy of the Paris Review’s latest issue in his subscription. The next person who orders from us using the priority mail option and types “Paris Review” into the order notes will get Adam’s copy FREE. It’s a great issue… 250 pages, Roberto Bolano, Jeffrey Eugenides, Alan Hollinghurst, ET CETERA! First come, first serve! We will send you an email if you win!


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Rad Dad #21

It’s the Rad Dad Occupy issue! In issue #21, Rad Dad editor Tomas Moniz and co. take on the recent global occupations from a radical parent’s perspective. Are potentially volatile  protests like Occupy Wall Street kid-friendly? Are the folks behind the Occupy events organized enough to keep your children safe should the balance of power tip? Issue #21’s contributors tackle the topic from a variety of angles, giving a balanced, clear-eyed spectrum of advice. Also in this issue is a series of non-Occupy writing, including a heartfelt essay on keeping your daughter off the stripper pole, a feature about the Foxfire Book series as a remedy for end-of-empire blues, and much more! Hot on the heals of the Rad Dad book, issue 21 is a sure-fire sign that Tomas and his contributors are not slowing down any time soon. This classic for-radical-parents by-radical-parents publication is essential reading for parents and non-parents alike.

Zinester’s Guide to NYC Author Ayun Halliday’s Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Zinemaker Karla Keffer recently veganized a recipe from East Village Inky/Zinester’s Guide to NYC author Ayun Halliday. As big fans of vegan cooking and all-things-Ayun, we asked Karla if we could post it on our blog. The results are below. Oh, and keep an eye out for Karla’s vegan bake zine, which she says will be finished around the 2012 elections. Without further adieu…


Ayun Halliday’s Crayunberry Upside Down Cake

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the zine The East Village Inky, the Mother Superior columnist for BUST Magazine, and the author of five pee-in-your-pants hilarious books (The Big Rumpus, No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, Job Hopper: Confessions of a Down-Market Dilettante, Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste, and Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo) with one on the way (Peanut, to be released in spring 2012). She is also a pal and an inspiration and a formidable online Scrabble opponent. This recipe is a vegan reinterpretation of her cranberry upside-down cake (you can find the carnivorous version at Ayun’s food blog,, which is a reinterpretation of a recipe from her high school’s cookbook, and I am fairly sure that recipe is a version of someone else’s cranberry upside-down cake recipe, so who knows how many times this recipe has changed hands. How unsanitary! Okay, iss joke, ja. But really, you should wash your hands before baking anything, especially if you too are a resident of the fair city of Brooklyn, NY, because that oven can only do so much on the germ front.

You will need:

1 teaspoon plus ½ cup canola oil or other light vegetable oil

2 cups fresh cranberries

½ cup plus one cup of regular ol’ white sugar, sugar in the raw, or succanat. You can use Stevia, too, if you so desire; alas, I can but vouch for the deliciousness of the first three.

¼ cup shelled walnuts or pecans

½ cup extra firm silken tofu, blended with ¼ cup water*

A sprinkling of powdered sugar

Vegan sour cream (to taste)

A 9-inch springform pan (for baking, not ingesting)

And now, let’s begin…

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a teaspoon of canola oil and sprinkle a handful of flour on top of that.

3. Give two cups of cranberries a tad-more-than-cursory rinse, shake and/or pat them dry(ish), and plunk them – with feeling! – into the bakeware.

4. Sprinkle a half cup sugar over the cranberries.  If the sugar doesn’t cover them all, give the pan a jiggle and/or roll the cranberries around until they’re all nice and sugar coated.

5. Measure out ¼ cup of walnuts or pecans, crush them in your paws, and then sprinkle them over the berries. You can save yourself some time and effort by purchasing pre-crushed nuts (ow), but then you’ll miss out on the therapeutic quality of squashing walnuts in your hands and pretending they’re your evil ex (or that you’re Rhett Butler in the infamous dining room scene in Gone with the Wind – you know, “I’ll smash your skull between them like a walnut, and that will block him out.”)

6. If you bought pre-crushed walnuts, you can get your ya-yas out by squeezing that tofu out of its box and into the blender and pureeing the ever-loving fuck out of it with ¼ cup water .  Now take a deep, cleansing breath and pour the mixture into a bowl or saucepan. Add one cup sugar, one cup flour, and ½ cup canola oil. Mix well and prosper.

7. Spread the batter over the sugar-berry-nut mixture so it’s all nice and covered. Pop it in the oven and bake for 55 minutes or until the top is golden and a fork inserted into the center comes out clean (except maybe for some rogue cranberry juice).

8.  Sprinkle some powdered sugar across the top. Serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream**. C’est un fait accompli!


*If you can’t find, or if you prefer not to use, the tofu, you can use one very ripe, very well-mashed banana or ½ cup soy, rice, or coconut yogurt. If you go with the banana, you’ll need to add ½ cup water to the batter, and you will very much definitely taste it in the finished product. I happen to like a nice strong banana flavor, but if you want the full tang of the cranberries, use the tofu or yogurt option. The cranberries also rise better because the batter isn’t as thick.

**Available at most health food stores or from or other friendly vegan e-tailer.


FREE Body Conscious Birth Control Patches!

This is pretty awesome. The author of the Body Conscious Birth Control zine gave us a batch of handmade patches to give away with her zine. SO, the next few orders of BCBC will get one of these beauts! Adam from the Kansas distro space says there’s only about nine left, so act quick!

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Railroad Semantics #1

Devoted to trainhopping and train culture, Railroad Semantics describes the sights, sounds, successes, and defeats of riding around the U.S. in near-poetic detail. This first issue explores a round-trip, early-spring train ride from Portland to Pocatello and back, as well as a long, winter ride to Eugene. It features a wide array of articles on railroads and rail-related activity, letters, postcards, and is full of absolutely gorgeous photographs of landscapes and hobo graffiti! A poetic sense of adventure captured in words, pictures, and scenic vistas!.