Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"It Tastes Like Real Food!"

Last weekend I ventured to my hometown in Westport, CT to see a close friend from high school. It was so nice to be treated to some home cooking from a loving Jewish/Italian mother, and I was even able experiment with exciting flavors in a new kitchen. I was wined and dined by my second family, and I managed to stay vegan the whole time. Gold star for me!

My first night I was fed delicious lentil soup over ditalini, which was quite welcome after a ten-hour travel day. I spent Friday in New York City, wandering where I pleased on my own schedule. My first destination was The Union Square GreenMarket. I arrived there on a gloriously sunny day around nine o’clock. Foodies browsed the tents as I hunted for breakfast: gluten free AND vegan orange-chocolate muffin. Plus blueberries and coffee from the Whole Foods across the street. I felt very city-gourmet-chic.

Next, I set off for the Chelsea Market and bought some goodies from One Lucky Duck. I’m falling in love with this great company called Sprout. They create all-natural, simple, local skincare products that are so pure you could easily make them in your kitchen. They also have a consultation service to figure out what products and dietary choices can help you feel and look your best. I’m giving this a try to figure out why I still have the skin of a pubescent thirteen-year-old.

I digress…

I had a light lunch on The High Line, an old railroad that has been turned into a gorgeous public park. It was a perfect city afternoon.

On Saturday I settled into the comforts of my hometown. My friend Sam and I went to The Sherwood Diner (where else?) for breakfast. I had about ¼ cup brown sugar with oatmeal J, plus homefries and too much coffee.  We spent the day shopping and prepping for dinner. I wanted to cook for her family to thank them for graciously hosting me for the weekend.

On the menu:

It was a relatively easy meal to prepare, especially with two cooks. However, I managed to casually rub my nose after chopping a hot pepper. The effects were disastrous. My sinuses were burning and I turned into sniveling weepy mess. My fingers stung into the next day!

Kitchen tip: use plastic gloves when chopping peppers.

While the gumbo simmered the ladies of the house enjoyed FoodPornDaily. I don’t recommend looking at this site at work or at family functions. You will moan and scream. People may assume you’re having a bit too much fun.

Dinner was a success! The non-veg family ate it up, along with some antacids to cut the spice. And, according to Sam’s dad, “it even tastes like real food!” Well duh, sir.

I’ll admit that I was a little anxious about leaving my little vegan bubble and entering the home of a carnivorous family. I knew that I couldn’t stray from my values, but I still had to respectfully live in someone else’s home. Luckily I didn’t encounter a single issue. Sam’s mom graciously bought soymilk and Tofutti Cuties for me, and I was even able to enjoy a veggie burger at a big family barbeque. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too grossed out when it came time to prepare and cook turkey burgers, hamburgers, and hot dogs. I figured that after a month on a farm where the animals are so distinctively not food I would be extremely sensitive, but for whatever reason I brushed it off. It was amusing, however, when Sam’s sister squealed in disgust when forming the burgers. I wonder if she ever considered why she was so innately revolted…

But now I’m back in the veg cocoon, cooking up a veggie stiry fry with tempeh for dinner and eating dates for dessert. It feels good to be home.
The New York Public Library

1 comment:

  1. Next time you visit S Fl, I would love to try your vegetarian gumbo. I am married to a Raging Cajun!