Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't trust your burger. It is NOT your friend.

Its been 5 years, 7 months and 16 days since I last ate a piece of animal flesh. I'm sure at some point I've been slipped some chicken stock, the occasional splash of fish sauce and a few gelatin-containing candies during that time. I'll even admit that I've knowingly eaten the candy - since Brach's candy corn is like Katy-Kryptonite.

In that time, I've learned to be extra-vigilant. Reading ingredient lists, pestering waiters, trusting no one. Once I was diagnosed with an onion allergy all the checking became even more important as I was not only checking for any kind of meat product but also any onion, leek, chive, shallot, or scallion. I've grown to embrace any food that didn't contain any forbidden ingredient, good or bad... mostly because there wasn't anything else to eat.

I've been fortunate to have fewer reactions to onion product after strict avoidance so I've become less concerned with my "checks". Well today, my lax check policy caused me to make a mistake that I consider unforgivable.

We went to Fat Daddy's for dinner, and Bart and I both ordered Gardenburgers. I used to freak out regularly while eating a meat substitute and make someone else taste it, or dig through looking for recognizable signs of veggie life, but my lax checks must mean I trust the system more lately... In any case, we added our lettuce and tomato and went back to our table to eat. I was starving, so I tore into my burger. I was thinking this was the tastiest pickle I had eaten in a while when I looked at my burger.... and looked at Bart's. And had the terrifying realization that they were different.

We should have had identical burgers since we both ordered the gardenburger, but mine had a distinct irregular quality, and his was definitely formed in a Morningstar factory. I didn't even need someone to check for me. I knew mine was a turkey burger. And I had eaten a third of it.

Thanks to my OCD taking a vacation for the day, I ate turkey. The manager felt terrible, of course, once he realized. Not as terrible as me. Let that be a lesson to all my veggie-saurus friends. Don't trust your burger. It is NOT your friend. Deep-down, it wants to be meat, that's why we like them so much... they are familiar substitutes for a staple of american life.

Safe and domestic is not a good thing when you're a vegetarian. It means you could be eating meat and realize too late. And all of this overshadows a relative tofu victory yesterday, a beautiful baked marinated tofu taco recipe that I was ready to brag about. I'm too defeated to report about it now since someone slipped me the bird.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I would love to be a chef, but my execution is less than perfect... And there are no vegetarian culinary schools. So I think I should focus on eating instead of cooking.

Today, the best thing I made was some microwave lime and salt popcorn sprinkled with parmesan and romano cheese...
The worst thing I made was scrambled eggs with bell pepper and jalapeƱo. The eggs tasted fine, but I made a royal mess of my griddle. I need egg practice.

Here's to being humbled by food.