For several years at the beginning of our marriage, Joe and I were vegetarians. An extended trip to India/Nepal convinced us that the last thing we wanted to do was eat meat, for a whole variety of reasons. Then kids came along. With the hectic life of working full time and rearing three little ones, it seemed that we barely had time to throw a pork chop in the oven let alone do menu planning, yoghurt making, bean soaking or any of the other time consuming things that I thought were required of a vegetarian diet. Then Joe started hunting, so we were eating alot of wild meat like caribou, moose, and wild sheep. We at least knew it was organic and that the animals had lived good lives.
Fast-forward a generation: Iris has decided she no longer wants to eat meat. She was never much of a meat eater anyway, but now she wants to eliminate it from her diet entirely. So I am finding myself pulling out my old recipes and coming up with new ones. Some things of course we never stopped eating: Cuban black beans, dahl and rice, a variety of other Indian recipes, Mexican food, stir fry, salads, etc. but I’m starting to add new favorites to my list: for instance, yesterday I made vegetable patties along with black beans with mango. Eaten with brown and wild rice, both were easy and delicious.
I’m not sure if it’s because I have more cooking experience or if I just have more time, but vegetarian cooking doesn’t seem to be the time-consuming process I once thought it was. Of course this time I’m not so hung up on having to make everything from scratch: now I think it’s OK to sometimes use canned beans instead of always soaking and cooking my own, and organic yoghurt from the bakery is probably just as good as anything I would make.
Jamie, who’s a big meat eater, isn’t terribly impressed with all this. For him there’s some chicken defrosting in my fridge for tonight’s dinner.