Monday, March 1, 2010
I'm turning vegetarian....!
Dear Michael Pollan,
You tell me to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables."
Ok, I'm willing to go "whole hog" on the vegetable thing. I thought this would be a good time of year- After all, March IS the "Greenest" month, and I have my boston kitchen to attempt some of the more adventurous recipes. I've spent most of February prepping, and I've already started cutting back and supplementing out the meat in my diet. So I'm ready to go. I've already decided that I am a fish, milk & egg-eating vegetarian, so those items remain on the menu. But chicken, beef, pork- I'll see you in April.
Why? Some of you may ask. Just because Michael Pollan and every nutritionist ever has shown that the less meat one eats, the healthier one lives? Well, that is part of it. But, as it is also the lenten season, I thought this was an appropriate time of year to also take a moral stand. Without getting too preachy, or gory, I want to try and call attention to the way we treat animals in this country. Now, I am not against killing and eating animals. I've grappled with this one, and I still believe that we are predators, and meat is a part of our natural diet, as much as it is a part of the puma's. We have the teeth for it. We need the protein. We have developed fire to cook it. It is a good and rightful thing.
What is NOT good is the way we have turned something natural into a cruel factory line. The chickens, cattle, and pigs that are processed in the US by major companies are never allowed to be animals- not for a day of their very short and unfortunate lives. We feed THEM unnatural diets- corn for the cows, who cannot digest it. Animal fats for the chickens who are by nature not meat eaters. We force them to live in too-small spaces, knee-deep in feces, and often without any daylight. We cut off the beaks of the chickens so they don't peck each other in frustration, and the tails of the pigs for the same reason. We have created chickens that grow too large too fast, and cannot stand up during their lives. I'm not offended by the way the factories slaughter the animals. I'm disgusted by how they are treated while they live.
So, 1 soap-box paragraph later, My month-long protest has begun.
The problem is that I have a hungry man at home who wants some meat on his plate. I need help finding vegetarian entrees that will fill up a growing man's belly and satisfy a slightly suspicious vegetarian eater. Or, at the least, food that can easily be made in both veg/non-veg versions, or supplemented with meat on the side for the Ry guy. Thing's currently on Ryan's "absolutely not" list include tofu, tempeh, and any funny-sounding, hard to pronounce grains (Quinoa, couscous, farro...). If I can get him to try any of those things by the end of the month, I will be really impressed.
So far, I have the following list of potential vegetarian entrees that might just satisfy my meat-eating man. Help me out, and send some of your favorites my way-
My vegetarian TO cook list:
-Pasta: veggie lasagna, pasta primavera, etc etc etc (I have a feeling this is going to be the back bone of meals....)
- Bean Burritos / beef & bean burritos
- vegetarian omelets/frittatas/quiche
- veggie burgers
-thai vegetable curry
-stuffed peppers with rice
-grilled veggie wraps
-fish: tilapia, tuna, etc