Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Be a Vegan for Halloween and Other Truths

For what’s left of October and all of  November, I am changing my diet. It’s time to cleanse. No meat or animal products, I also won’t be eating soy “meat” or other processed foods, just whole foods (with a few exceptions—I will eat cheeseless pizza from Smiths on Fridays.) This means more cooking. Expect recipes.

I am also abstaining from alcohol. No booze, beer, or wine. I will be less fun in some ways but more fun in other ways—think about it, all those veggies….  This will be harder since I only drink in moderation now—it will be less fun to go to happy hour for me, but please invite me anyway.

This is not about the animals  and their animal feelings, although I love love love animals. This is about my body and health and taking it more seriously. It’s a thread that I can no longer ignore.  It’s like an un-funny running joke with me. I feel okay and I want to feel great. Who can help me with that if not me? I know that eating less or no meat and  no dairy will make me feel better. I do not want to go so far that I start to smell like a vegan. We all know that vegans stink a little. Sorry peeps.

I am not going to be strict about the vegan thing, but giving a good shot at eating more whole fruits and vegetables first (before I eat anything else) and making a big effort on the diary front—meat is easy for me to avoid (I just don’t have a taste for it most of the time.)  If you make something with chicken stock, I will eat it. If you put parmesan on something, it’s cool. I won’t pack my own dinner when I come to your house. (This happened to me once, story to follow.)

I have a feeling that we will end up being a flexitarian family here soon enough. All these new words to describe what people eat. How silly.

 Autumnal Truths:
-       Hubbard squash is scary looking but very wonderful tasting. Go get yourself one and hack it up and roast it or make a pie or something. Hubbard squash used to be very popular and I would like to bring it back. So do your part.
-       You can put pumpkin in anything. I made pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin bread and I am thinking about making pumpkin and black bean enchiladas for dinner tonight.
-       Black beans: soak overnight, slow-cook with onion, garlic, a little bit of cumin, even-less cinnamon, stock or water, add cilantro and salt at the end. Cook for about 8 hours. Freeze some, eat some, take some to your hungry neighbors.
-       Soup is good food. (Okay, that’s not mine, but it’s totally true.) On Sundays I empty out the fridge of leftovers and we eat them, or throw them out. Then, I make soup with all the little bits of veggies and stuff left in the fridge. This week was a mushroom, onion veggie soup. Delish, btw.

The Vegan Story
Once many moons ago, I invited a potential date over for dinner with my friends. He and I had met a few times and I thought it would be a good test of sorts. I’m a good cook and always cooked for my roommates/friends on Sunday night (kind of a lifetime running theme, no?) It was a relaxed event and well rehearsed since we did it every week. So, I carefully planned a meal (and had asked him if there were any dietary restrictions to which he said “nope.”)  I was all excited to show off my cooking prowess and see if this guy could be a friend or more to me.  

In my small apartment with my 3 friends gathered around the “table”, he went for his backpack and opened it, and pulled out some totally gross looking eggplant slop and ask for a fork. Could I stab him with it? Maybe. He brought a brown-bag dinner to my dinner party. He was strictly vegan.

In the proximity of my tiny apartment, peppered with disappointment and the shock of his rudeness, in the breath of his request for a fork (why do vegans need silverware?) I could smell his ancient veganess—an acrid stink that mixes an old man from Sri Lanka and an old bum from the mental ward with some bitter herbs and rancid asparagus—there it was: the vegan stench. We soldiered on through the meal, my friends in shock and us drinking too much wine to compensate (I was too young to kick his ass out and move forward, which is what I would do now if the same situation presented itself.)  Needless to say, he and I did not date or become friends, we never shared so much as a meal (not the same meal anyway.) And when he left, I ate a big piece of homemade chocolate mayonnaise cake with ice cream and I swore that I would never almost-date a vegan again.

In hindsight that vegan was rude (not all vegan’s are) and he probably thought he was being polite and saving me the trouble but ended up hurting my feelings anyway and he and I would never have made it because he couldn’t be honest or up-front---shit, how long can you hide being a vegan when you’re dating?  I hope he found some nice stinky girl to hang out with and I am so glad it wasn’t me.

Anyway, off to get my hubbard squash out of the oven. 

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