The Battle; The Victory.
After months and months of planning to, I finally pushed my technological anxieties and fears aside and took that running jump-start leap into the blogging world. See, the thing is is that computers, electronics...basically anything with an on/off switch is a potential target for my unmistakable ability of breaking literally everything. I was obviously born into this world decades later than I was supposed to, when writing required a typewriter much too heavy to throw out my window upon the first taste of frustration (violent threats that are, however, often grumbled to my very throw-able laptop). Alas, I have began to make my peace with machines, and have clicked the few buttons necessary to create my long-awaited blog. So, I ask only of patience as I figure all this crazy internet stuff out. Wow, I really do sound eighty.
I've always had a borderline unhealthy madly-in-love relationship with food. More accurately, with eating food. My mother was one of those amazing, long-forgotten women that made sure there was a full meal at the table every night. As one of eight, we never had much money, but somehow she still managed to feed us like kings and queens. So as my young palette matured from those Top Ramen and frozen pizza dorm-room days, I learned just how rare and special that kind of upbringing was, and brought it into adulthood. In my early twenties, even as most of my friends and colleagues embraced going out to lunch, I wanted to continue this tradition in the kitchen. It wasn't however, until my transition to veganism, did I truly fall in love with not only eating food, but the intimate art of creating it.
In my earlier cooking adventures, it was mostly breakfasts of french toast and pancake creations. Dinners included Mexican feasts and heavy Italian pastas. Always incredibly delicious, but nothing with flair- nothing too outstanding or special, and definitely nothing remotely healthy. While living on the East Coast for a year, I began to gain an appreciation for fresh and local produce, and explored different ingredients and culinary combinations. There weren't really any chain restaurants in Providence where I lived; there were locally owned joints ran by chefs and students, creating and mastering a craft. Meanwhile, I was tasting and tasting and tasting. My sister and best friend at this point had been vegan for a few years, and all the vegan and vegetarian options at most restaurants naturally intrigued me. So then began my own transition.
I will say, anyone who knew me pre-vegan can tell you just how serious my addiction to cheese was. Not only cheese, but dairy in general. Like my dad, I had a big cold glass of milk with every meal. And, I literally carried around with bags of shredded cheese for "snacking." So cutting all of that out had seemed taboo and utterly ridiculous to me. Until I got sick. My body suddenly refused the intake of dairy, and as a result of the way I was eating my whole life before that, my hormones were completely out of balance. Basically, I was 26 years old going through menopause. I knew I had no choice. So I took a trip back home to California, and took it upon my friends and family and the vegan community I was vaguely familiar with to help support the drastic, desperate change I was about to make in my life.
Turns out, it was damn easy.
It's amazing what happens to your creativity when you stop smothering everything in cheese. Oh, that gooey, melty, forever-dependable cheese that makes even your least favorite vegetable edible (wait..I actually have to like vegetables now? Without Ranch??) Instead, the vegan challenge requires creating a meal without thinking: starch, meat, vegetable. The entire traditional cooking process is thrown out the window. No longer do steamed green beans get to sit on the soggy sidelines; the star now IS the vegetable. So I learned to put on my chemist lab coat and transform food into well, other food. Fruit into shredded chicken, nuts into cheese, tofu into eggs. And it is the most fun I have ever had, period. I've since continued to push myself and expand flavors and cuisines, and have a hell of a time "experimenting." I do miss some food of my past life...smoked salmon, deviled eggs, lengua tacos, vienna sausages, spaghetti-o's, you name the craving, I am determined to recreate it. It truly is an art form. I have found complete solace in cooking; my kitchen is my therapist.
I won't go into the infinite amounts reasons why I am proud of being vegan now, after a year and a half. It just made so much sense to me once I cut out all the crap I was eating, because I felt so good inside and out. Environmentally, morally, healthfully, I enjoy taking full responsibility as a consumer and a contributing member of society. So even if you don't share my beliefs, I am still proud to share the wizadry I've fallen in love with. Naturally, it has become not only an affair with food, but it all aspects of my life. From my organic container garden in my backyard, to homemade beauty products, the basic idea of living in this simple, whole way of living has made it's way into my everyday life. So that is really what this blog is about. Community, life, love, and above all...food.