March 20, 2016
It was always a priority for me to have our family of five sit down to a home-cooked meal every night. I enjoyed cooking and rarely used recipes or cooked the same thing in the same way, twice. Somewhere along the way I started to burn out, and convinced my water-boiling, peanut butter-spreading husband that he would have to cook on the weekends if he wanted me to keep cooking during the week. That system worked well for us while our kids were growing up.
My interest in cooking never went away — I own and read tons of cookbooks for inspiration, but the truth is, I still prefer to cook by instinct, and writing down recipes for the blog has always been a challenge. Because I'm kind of a perfectionist, I always need to write the recipes just right so they will work for anyone who tries them. Like I said — a challenge.
As of 2016, I've been a vegan for 35 years — a vegetarian for several years before becoming vegan — and have gone through many dietary variations from lacto-ovo to low-heated to Macrobiotic to vegan. I've been influenced by all, and my cooking may call for ingredients from umeboshi paste to yeast flakes. Usually I prefer simple cooking that enhances the taste of food rather than dramatically changing it. It may be as simple as grinding peppercorns over a wok-seared vegetable.
At the risk of sounding a little 'new age-y', I think beginning a meditation practice led to my becoming vegetarian. I'd never considered it before, and even found myself a little annoyed at the vegetarians and vegans I met at meditation retreats and workshops. So demanding. (hahaha) Wouldn't you know it, within a year of starting my practice, I started thinking about all life in new ways, and became a vegetarian, myself. It actually was a very graphic film about the impacts of animal agriculture on wildlife, that I viewed at a Canadian national park, that pushed me to a decision.
Several years later, as I learned more about the egg and dairy industries, the thought of consuming eggs and dairy was beginning to disturb me. I pretty much stopped eating eggs, but couldn't quite leap the stumbling block of melted mozzarella. Melted mozzarella. Meltedmozzarellamozzarella. A consultation with an herbalist about a health issue led to my giving up dairy (including mozzarella) for two months. After all, what's two months in terms of a lifetime? After the two months was up, and my health issue was fixed, I was a vegan. And, 35 years later, still am.
Besides for cooking and blogging, I love browsing estate sales, second-hand stores, antique stores. I paint and draw, crochet very slowly and love to dance.
Please leave comments on the posts or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Thanks for reading.
Silly random facts about me
As winner of the Honest Scrap award, I had to list 10 honest facts about myself. Since this is a food blog, I listed 10 food-related honest facts.
1. I love peaches. I mean, I truly love them. When we lived in Madison we used to buy whole cases of peaches from a fruit and vegetable store. My husband would always ask if I thought we could really use up a whole case, and I'd murmur, "mmhmm." I felt bad about buying all those peaches because they weren't organic, and peaches are always on the "only buy organic" list, but they were so GOOD. All that pesticide residue, though. I won't disclose just how many of those peaches I could eat in a day, but let's just say if I were standing in a garden, all the insects that landed on me would probably die.
2. I really HATE the taste of fennel, anise, black licorice. Sometimes it makes me throw up. Sometimes I just feel very agitated. My husband only added anise to a dish once, and he was sorry. BUT, I'm working on it. I can eat and enjoy five-spice powder now. So it's only a matter of time ...
3. The very first vegetarian dish I made was a vegetable loaf; I used a recipe that was filled with brewers yeast. Actually, I think every recipe in that early vegetarian cookbook was filled with brewers yeast. I pretended to like it even though it was vile because I wanted my husband to like being a vegetarian. And he didn't. (In case you're wondering, brewers yeast is NOT the same thing as nutritional yeast flakes. Not at all. UGH.)
4. I was very young when I got married, and I had no idea how to cook. Most of the vegetables I'd eaten were frozen or canned or salad ingredients. I had to ask the farmers at the farmers market what the vegetables were, and how to cook them. me: "Excuse me, what's this?" farmer: "It's an eggplant" me: "What do you do with it?" farmer: "You cook it and eat it." It was humiliating but informative.
5. I got to drink the liquid from a branch of cat's claw in the Amazon Rain Forest. Yes, this is true.
6. I once brought carob brownies to a party, and when my friend took a bite of one, he gagged and spit it out. He was upset that it wasn't chocolate, and I was very embarrassed. I would only bring chocolate, now. Only chocolate.
7. I've never been able to eat nuts in things. I like them well enough alone, but not when they mix in with other food. I'm trying to get over this because it's such a bother to pick the darn nuts out. I can eat them in salads and casseroles now, and I recently managed to eat them on TOP of cake. Still can't quite deal with them in baked goods or ice cream unless they are ground up fine.
8. Before I became a vegetarian, at a time when I was seriously considering changing my diet, I once said, "I'll never be one of those weird vegetarians who asks, "what's in the soup stock?" Yes, I said that. Out loud. I'll go hide behind a rock now while you throw tofu balls at me. (This is the sort of thing I try to remember when dealing with "clueless" omnivores.)
9. I was macrobiotic for a few years and followed the macrobiotic diet pretty enthusiastically. Because we lived in the Midwest, this meant avoiding fruits and veggies like bananas and mangoes, because they are tropical and don't grow in our climate zone. We also avoided members of the nightshade family such as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. One evening we went out to dinner, and, perusing the menu, our young son said to the waitress, "I think I'll try the mashed potatoes, I've never had those." The waitress rolled her eyes and snorted, "Where do you keep him, in a closet?" The nasal twang of her voice was not friendly, and it still buzzes in my ear when I think about it. Ouch.
10. I keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom to use as a moisturizer.
The day I decided to be vegetarian
The day I decided to be vegan
My cafepress shop: Andrea's Tees Etc.