Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Going vegan: a culinary challenge

After spending the past year and a half as an increasingly picky and guilt-ridden vegetarian, my boyfriend has recently bitten the tofurkey bullet and gone full vegan. My close friends have been supportive. It’s clearly more of a big deal to me than him. I do feel like a mother who leaves FHMs around the house for her newly de-closeted son in the hope that he’ll snap out of it. But waxing lyrical on the healing power of from-scratch chicken stock or melt-in-your-mouth sashimi garners no reaction, and he’s not phased when he has to pick bits out of the one vego-friendly dish on a menu. Crazy, I know.

Funnily enough, apart from a weakness for gourmet smallgoods and Vietnamese pork, I rarely eat meat and haven’t touched cow’s milk for five years, meaning I can’t even taste ice cream or a non-soy coffee without my gut swelling like a hot air balloon. Since the BF and I started co-habitating in London with ample freezer space and Tuppaware, I had developed a nice repertoire of soups, curries, tagines, lasagne, moussaka and other vego-friendly dishes. But now? There’s nothing too celebratory about a mixed mushroom risotto without the parmesan (and, let’s face it, half the wedge would be consumed along with half the wine bottle during the cooking…).
I’ll readily admit I’m a kitchen control freak and I’m not about to forsake my place infront of the hob for pre-packaged falafel balls (check the ingredients – some contain egg?!). So I’m considering this gastronomic development a challenge to try new recipes and cuisines, veganise old favourites, and discover whether the new world of nut spreads really compare to melted butter (I think the odds are 1/100, we’ll see though…).

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