A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

‘There is life after bacon’
August 7, 2009, 9:54 am
Filed under: Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , ,

recipe-13978James Oseland, the editor of Saveur, writes on the “Top Chef Masters” blog about that show’s recent vegan episode. (I didn’t see it but the vegan blogosphere seems to agree that it was nice they did such an episode, but some of the chefs really sucked at cooking veg.) Oseland has an interesting take on why the  epicurean world shudders at the thought of veganism. Read it here: There Is Life After Bacon.

He has insightful observations and makes some good points to back up many of the things I’ve said on this blog, for instance, that it’s only in the Western world that vegetarianism is considered outside the norm.

“When I started traveling the world, I came into contact with the great global traditions of vegetarian eating: from the vegetarian-by-default simple country fare of El Salvador, where I’ve traveled four times and where meals often consist of stewed beans and hand-patted tortillas with hunks of salty, gamy cheese, to the grand and evolved meatless cuisines of India, such as that of Gujarat, where vegetarian cooking is a refined art.

“I also spent a year living in a village in South India, where I ate no animal flesh at all. I wasn’t vegan—milk products, including yogurt, were a big part of my diet there—but after the first few weeks of quietly lusting for just a little bit of meat (or at least a fried egg!), I stopped missing it and came to appreciate the astonishing flavor combinations that came into focus without the overwhelming presence of flesh.”

He also adds his own experiences with the benefits of going veg:

“During the periods in my life when I have been vegetarian, I have slept better, I’ve come down with fewer colds, my skin has cleared up, I’ve lost weight, and, I like to think, my mind has functioned a little more clearly. I can’t back up any of this with scientific evidence, but it’s what I’ve experienced.”

I have one word: woot!

As a bonus, here’s the recipe for the Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde, Gremolata and Tomatoes that was made on the episode. It’s a little too time-consuming of a recipe for my taste, but looks lovely.


5 Comments so far
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Huh. I can attest to the simplicity of Salvadoran food. I had a few home-cooked meals in San Salvador and Usulutan, where the cheese had been fermenting (or whatever it does) in a plastic bucket since that morning, and we were still flapping the tortillas until right before the meal started. Put that with some beans and you’re good.

Comment by fictionadvocate

On that same trip, a family got really excited to serve us chicken, but someone told me it was their last chicken, killed just that morning, and they were only serving it to me and the other three Americans. So I gave my chicken away. But one of the other Americans ate his piece of chicken, and got incredibly sick afterwards. So either A) it’s always safer to steer clear of the meat, or B) Salvadorans don’t know how to cook chicken.

Comment by fictionadvocate

That pasta looks really good, and the combination of ingredients sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll cook it sometime and report back. I’ll probably just use regular or whole-wheat pasta though, instead of quinoa pasta.

Comment by Laura

“that it’s only in the Western world that vegetarianism is considered outside the norm.”

Yes, because Korea and China and Turkey and Mexico are world-renowned for actively encouraging alternative, vegan lifestyles. The world isn’t as simple as your colonialist and frankly, white, romanticization of foreign cultures.

Comment by Tym

Hm, well, I’ve never colonized anything, Tym, but when I do you’ll be the first to know.

And I was rather referring to cuisines that such as those in India and China that are historically vegetarian in large part due to religious beliefs. (Buddhists and Jains don’t eat the flesh of animals, you may not be aware, due to their commitment to nonviolence.) But thanks for calling me white as if it’s a bad word.

Comment by Carrie M

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