(Photo: Levi's birthday party at our grandparent's 2013, I made him a Peanut Butter German Chocolate cake, and it was way too sweet, and he ate way too much.)
Levi introduced me to good music. My life was saved by punk rock. My whole world was created by the influence of my brother. He introduced me to my best friend and band mate, Omega, the singer/guitarist of So Unloved. They started dating when I was ten years old, she was 16, Levi was 17, and all I ever wanted was to be near them and learn from them. Omega helped me with my math homework, and took me to my first punk rock show at Wacky's to see Blanks 77, The Flatliners, and The Strap-Onz when I was 12. When they broke up, she encouraged me to learn to play guitar, then asked me to play in her band. If I hadn't had Levi, I wouldn't have Omega. I wouldn't have So Unloved. I wouldn't have any of the amazing friends, and bands in my life that I do.
When I think of the things Levi loved, I think of FOOD. I think of him always complaining about being too hungry or too full. Him eating all day, and having an insane metabolism. He went to Culinary school for a semester, and quit after watching the slaughterhouse videos for a butcher class. He worked at Hogwild Records 9 years and started his own screenprinting company, Scapegoat Screenprinting. He gave up alcohol and quit eating meat in the same day. My brother had a very strong will power. He did everything he put his mind to, and didn't half ass anything. But, he would submerge himself in things, then abandon them at the drop of a hat. He knew ALOT about EVERYTHING, and I looked up to him so much.
He moved up here to Austin in September 2013 which was a big part in me moving up here with John at the beginning of November. I left my job at Green, and decided to dedicate myself to writing recipes for a book amongst the inspiration of the amazing veg fare of Austin. The last time I saw him, we watched Monsters University on my laptop, and got ice cream at Sweet Ritual, the ALL vegan ice cream shoppe off Duvall!!! It was his first (and last) time there, so he went all out and got a giant waffle cone with 2 scoops of Salted Caramel ice cream. I was giggling at his over indulgence while I ordered a scoop of pumpkin. I loved his enthusiasm over the little things in life. Tiny imperfections drove him crazy, and he always went out of his way to make sure you were happy and comfortable. I loved went he went thru a phase of making smoothies with his Magic Bullet. He would lure me to his house to drink these ice cold berry smoothies and we'd laugh and listen to records while sitting on his futon, which at night became his bed. He had given his bedroom up to use as a workshop for screenprinting. (Photo: Levi eating a meal I made for his birthday 2012)
He always ordered Twizzlers and an Icee or soda at the movies. I'd bitch at him for it being too much sugar, then I'd ask for a bite and a sip. He binged on coffee, and always ordered large Vanilla Soy Lattes. If he finished it, he would be jittery, but he ordered it anyways. He loved Swedish Fish and Werther's Original Caramels. A couple of times I bought him dehydrated space ice cream for his birthday, after we fell in love with it at the museum visiting our 2nd cousin, Sandy, in Houston. He loved to order fried pickles and an Italian Soda at Alamo Drafthouse, and could eat chips and salsa for days. He always ordered dessert at the Bijou theater then apologized to me for eating someone else's cakes. He always gave me honest feedback on what I'd cook and bake for him, and even though he hated Daiya cheeze, he would eat it without complaining. Pretty recently he got into almond cheeze, and I was excited about that. We drank lots of Emergen-C together and no once can understand his excitement at the assortment of flavors at the Whole Foods on Lamar. His favorite was the Citrus Immunity one, and when he died and we cleared out his apartment, there was half a box of those in his pantry. They are my favorite now too.
One of Levi's food habits that drove me crazy, was an occurrence at Thai restaurants. He would order something off the menu, like Pad Thai or Green Curry, then ask them to add lemongrass and pineapple to it. I always told him that was offensive and they would curse us by putting meat in our food, but he didn't care...he just wanted all the things he liked in one bowl.
(Photo: My sister, Erica, Levi, and I in true Texas spring fashion. 2009)
One time, when I was teaching cooking classes at Whole Foods with Mike, Levi made me a mock tuna salad, and I begged him to let me share his recipe. I went to his house and made him measure it all out while making it for me fresh. He refused to let me write in a formal way, and I promised to type it out how he said. So, I hope you find this recipe format charming in it's simplicity. It was a big hit at the class, and I hope y'all enjoy it as well.
Thanks to Levi for teaching me so much and protecting me my whole life. I miss you.
LEVI'S MOCK TUNA SALAD
1 can Garbanzo Beans, mashed
3 stalks of celery, diced kinda
2 TBSP. Veganaise
1/2 tsp. Mustard
1 tsp. Braggs's Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
2 TBSP. Sweet Relish
2 TBSP. Dill Relish
2 Green Onions, chopped
Sprinkles of Seaweed (from Nori sheets, or Seaweed Snacks)
Mash beans. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Eat fresh. Store in your refrigerator.