Exasperation

Vegetarians are not rabbits.  One of the most frustrating situations growing up was the Class Field-Trip Lunch.  All the other kids looked forward to this day, the day we all got to skip school (even if it was to go another museum, monument, or historic building with its inevitably boring tour guide), the day we didn’t bring a packed lunch, and the day we all got to eat a restaurant lunch.  All the kids except for one.  I longed for my packed lunch, but with good reason.

Now, every restaurant I’ve been to, with the exception of one notable (Profusions, an Asian fusion restaurant in Tampa, Florida, that has since closed), has at least one vegetarian item on its menu.  However, for a large school group, any restaurant would prepare identical meals for each student.  This method while effective at face value, becomes problematic when the restaurant needs to account for food allergies and dietary restrictions.  So you have vegetarians in the group?  No problem!  We have salads!  And suddenly, you’re the kid sitting at a nice restaurant, staring into a plate of limp lettuce while your classmates chow down on burgers or sandwiches, pasta or pizza, and French fries.  The other lunches always had French fries.

I never understood why the food served to vegetarian elementary school children was so awfully bland, especially since I grew up with a master chef for a mother.  I’m first generation American, both my parents moved here from India in their mid-twenties.  Vegetarian Indian food is abundant, and the number of dishes that can be created from the same ingredients astounds me.  But, let’s leave Indian food out of this discussion for now.

Because my mom cooks many cuisines aside from Indian, I knew that other delicious vegetarian food was out there floating around in the land of commercial edibles.  I quickly grew bored of regular sandwiches, mac n’ cheese (for which I’ve created several new recipes over the years, transforming the traditional side into a delectable main course), pasta with [insert sauce of choice here], and plain sauteed vegetables.  Finally, in high school, in addition to learning how to cook Indian food, I began to experiment with American, Italian, Asian, and Mexican cuisines.  I watched The Food Network every day, I altered recipes to remove the meat components, and I tested out my creations on my family.

I’ve since concluded that the concept of fake meats/meat substitutes grosses me out – though this could be because I’ve never eaten meat in my life, so I’m not trying to replace what was formerly meat in my diet with something else.  Refried beans can substitute for the meat in Mexican food, which lends delicious tacos.  And the flavor in American food comes from the meat, so if you add spices to the vegetables and stop boiling everything, you’ve got yourself some tasty, tasty plant life.

Here begins the documentary of my adventure in [vegetarian] cooking.  Recipes, musings, and restaurant reviews will pave the path to a culinary heaven.  So open up those recipe notebooks, sharpen those knives, and let the chaos ensue!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Vinutha on October 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I agree with you! It used to be very difficult to find vegetarian food at restaurants, but now, practically every restaurant has an option or at least cut out the meat. I think this blog is a great idea to show people that there are tons of vegetarian options out there, and they don’t just consist of lettuce!

    Reply

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