This year marks my ten-year vegetarian anniversary. I was so young when I made that decision! And I had so much more to learn—about food, about the ethics of eating, about being a grown-up. I’m impressed that the decision has stuck with me for so long, and now it seems perfectly natural to eschew meat and food products that are derived from dead animals.
When you are a vegetarian, every day is Meatless Monday. I’m only vaguely aware of this Meatless Monday phenomenon. EatingWell has run two feature articles on vegetarianism in their most recent issues, and I am a bit amused by the attention to meatless eating. I don’t mean to sound patronizing because I think it’s great that people are talking about the issues. But when the habits you’ve been cultivating for ten years are suddenly hot news, it’s hard to know how to feel. Gratified? Smug? Concerned that vegetarianism is being seen as trendy? For me, it is not a trend. It is a way of life.
Despite the importance of vegetarianism to my life, I’m not militant about it with other people. To be honest, I’m not even militant about it with myself, since I do, on very rare occasions, eat meat. I’ll note that Matt, a meat-lover and enthusiast, is often involved in some form, but it’s not his fault if I eat the meat. I blame the leftover slice of pizza with sausage, or my curiosity about what duck breast tastes like. There was one time when we were in California, eating dinner at this amazing restaurant, and they had a phenomenal chicken dish that I wanted to try. This restaurant cooked with the very best ingredients: organic, locally produced, and their animals were free-range roamers. It was California cooking at its finest, and for that one night, it was a pleasure to indulge in a little carnivorousness, one bite at a time. It was a memorable meal, in a beautiful place with a kind man.
At home (with the exception of that slice of pizza), I always cook vegetarian meals. Always. And it’s easy for me because I do it all the time, and I have a good sense of how to cook for my appetite. I try to capture my love for vegetarian cooking in the recipes and stories I share with you here, but rarely do I make a big deal out of the fact that my recipes are meatless. You may have noticed that I spend a fair amount of time converting meaty recipes into meatless ones, and to me, that is an extension of cooking for my vegetarian palate. It’s a fun challenge for me to let myself be inspired by meat-containing recipes and then find a way to make them work for me.
In five days, Vegetarian Times is kicking off what they are calling a Veg Bootcamp. I think the intention of Veg Bootcamp is to help people transition into meatless eating by providing lots of recipes, tips and motivation. Since I’m already a meatless eater, I don’t feel like I can really participate in Veg Bootcamp with the same intention as its target audience, but I want to get in on the fun too. In light of my upcoming ten-year vegetarian anniversary, I thought that Veg Bootcamp is the perfect time to have a little vegetarian celebration around here. Veg Bootcamp kicks off on May 15 and is scheduled to run for 28 days. During that time, I’d like to share more about my vegetarian days with you. I’ll be posting more or less every day from May 15 through June 11—recipes, meals, snapshots of my daily life, and hopefully, some of your stories too! I’d like to hear your stories about choosing meatless eating. Whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan, or have chosen the more moderate Meatless Monday approach, I’d love to feature your story in a guest blog post here on Life, Love, and Food. If you are interested, send your story to me at lifeloveandfood [at] gmail [dot] com. I reserve the right to do some editing—I hope you won’t mind.
I should add that if you are interested in writing a guest post, there are all sorts of fun topics you could choose. It doesn’t have to be the story of your diet/lifestyle. It could be a favorite meatless meal, a favorite ingredient, a cookbook that pointed you in a new meatless direction, or a restaurant recommendation. I’d love to get a smorgasbord of topics and opinions, and I’m always looking for recommendations for good eating at home and when I’m traveling.
One more thing before I go: if you are interested in participating in Veg Bootcamp, you can sign up for daily e-mail newletters to help you in your journey toward a less-meaty diet. I signed up, so I’ll be reading along too.
Happy cooking, and happy eating, friends! Let’s be inspired together.