Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Veggie Update

I received far too much praise for the post I wrote about how my family and I were going to go vegan/ovo-lactarian vegetarians. Uhm… now I have to come back and divulge that it wasn’t the great and lasting success that I anticipated it would be when I wrote about it a week or so into the experiment. The Big and Li’l As have decamped to meat in many forms. Baby A enjoys the taste of all things including veggie burritos, earthworms, and garden dirt. As of today, I still ate cheese. As of last month, I still took one last sushi trip.

Lets detail. Cheese: We were temporarily living with my MIL, who is the sweetest and makes sure that there’s some form of vegetarian protein for me on the table come dinner time. It seems kinda mean to tell her that I don’t eat cheese. Also cheese, it‘s kinda nice; the soy version just doesn’t compare. Sushi: We were moving to what JOAT once called “Holy Middle Earth” which means not very many Sushi restaurants, very few good ones, and no sushi places that would deliver at all--so I had sushi before it got taken away from me. I’ve resisted sushi the last three or four times opportunity has presented itself though. Also, I eat chocolate, but unless it’s made from the eyeballs of wailing baby lambkins, don’t even talk to me about giving it up.

How the family did. Let’s just leave Baby A out of this. She’s into cannibalistically biting everyone lately and just wouldn’t understand about sparing other species. Big A was enthusiastic about the venture; Li’l A was always unhappy about it. But the food that I cooked just didn’t taste right after I removed meat from it. Commenter Amit suggested that meat could be replaced with TVP, but there weren’t too many fans of that at home. I also keep getting asked if I miss meat. I don’t. I used to, back when I used to give it up as a penance or vrath. But this time around, I have zero cravings and actually get a little cranky with all the recipe suggestions for fake meat and substitution.

So at the end of it we have one vegetarian who went vegan (except for cheese and milk chocolate), we have two gusty meaty eaters who tried vegetarianism and one baby who’s demonstrating a growing keenness for animal-based food. Our farm share veggies, which I was depending on to introduce us to an abundance of new veggie experiences are ‘orrible and mealy, but we live in a liberal college town where there are plenty of veggie and vegan choices on every menu.

Being vegan does make it a little difficult to go out for pizza or icecream as a family. And I’ve been opting out of such excursions because it feels weird, but it also feels weird to have them go without me. Much as Big A supports my decision, when I refuse a certain food, there is an unaware split-second, a flash of surprise and then resignation. I hate telling people that I’m vegan, because it sounds pious and as though I am going to sit at the table with them and disapprove of their food choices. So Big A is under strict instructions not to introduce me to anyone as a veggie. When we’re invited to dinner, I’d rather pick food that I am happy to eat without explanation.

I don’t see myself ever going back to animal products. My family eats less meat (esp. at home). It’s not what I’d call a revolutionary transformation, but a modification is blowing in the wind.



tamasha said...

Huh. This is pretty intense.

I went the other way. When I was a child I refused to eat meat (but have always loved dairy products). It was only in my twenties that I really started experimenting with flesh.

There's nothing quite like a baby lamb chop. ;)

Anonymous said...

The veganism wont last. It's really hard to do and still be nutritious. (no really, and I'm pretty open minded about this. It's just very tricky) Animal products of some sort are key. Can you imagine baby Krishna without ghee pots?

Anonymous said...

Ennis, don't be so negative. I know people who have been vegans for over ten years. And Jains who don't even eat onions and garlic.

maya said...

Gosh. Let me commend both of y'alls for reading this long bunch of bullets. Isn't Tamasha cute when she jumps to defend me from that sarky Ennis :)?

Tamasha, i really got into meat when i got interested in cooking. Meat definitely looks sexier and neater (it has cleaner contours and doesn't touch other food) on a plate. Lamb chop presents so much nicer than rice and bean mush :)

Ennis, can't do a baby K without ghee. No way. And you're right about nutrition. I have a bunch of pictures where i have sores at the corners of my mouth because i forgot to take my multivit and i developed a B12 deficiency. Also want to say that the post you wrote about "paya" was awesome food p0rn and brought back memories of aapam-paya at my grandmother's.

I honestly don't know how this will turn out. One day at a time.

ZenDenizen said...

Congrats on making it this far. Too bad you didn't like the TVP, I enjoying cooking with it lately although I never grew up eating the stuff of course.