The 1-2-3s of Veggies


“What are you watching?” my sister asked as I painted my nails sitting on the carpet of my parents’ living room floor.

“Stay,” I said, “Mom saved the Oprah with Michael Pollan. He’s the dude who wrote the book that I’m making dad read.”

And that’s all it took.

My sister watched in horror as chickens, so burdened, so physically burdened, with the weight of their unnaturally large breasts, that they could only crank out a few steps before collapsing. She stopped eating meat after that. It’s been just over a month now. And she has no idea what to eat.

I guess this has turned into Advice 101 week. (Thanks for the tips yesterday, although do I really have to stop stocking my fridge with the latest 5 flavor?)

Sherry mostly ate meat-centered dishes, like most of the country. She’s been experimenting with pasta salads. Which is exactly what I did when I started cooking. It’s good practice: cooking vegetables, boiling pasta (with salted water), creating a dressing and seasoning it all.

But she’s looking for more. Last week she called me from Trader Joe’s. Mom and her were trying to find something for her new diet. She asked if I’ve ever heard of masala. I told her yes and that chicken tika masala was the first Indian dish she tried. She bought it and made the dish above.

Now of course I could send Sher to the ES recipe index link for vegetarian dishes, but I thought she could use some help from others. What advice would you give a beginner vegetarian?

I’ll start:

1. Start liking beans
2. Look to other cuisines for inspiration
3. If all else fail, put an egg on it

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  • dad gansie May 5, 2010  

    sherry’s dish was very tasty…even asked scott who killed it last nite after soccer
    trying to get her to eat beans…she likes my spicy hummis
    her pasta salda with veggies and balsamic are tasty too

  • erica May 5, 2010  

    ok… i’ve had this problem. best advice: start reading vegi food blogs. this is how i got hooked on food blogs in the first place. here are some of my favorites; most of them are vegan since i don’t eat a lot of dairy, but it’s easy to add cheese to things, right? yes!

    also a great resource is the Post Punk Kitchen for recipes, forums, and even a cable access show. my fave tempeh “chicken” salad is from the PPK:

  • Nick May 5, 2010  

    Work your way through the bulk grain section at your local store. There’s tons of grains there like quinoa, plus not standard pastas like orzo, and tons of beans.

    Just pick one out once a week and learn how to cook with it. Pretty soon you’ll be mixing and matching grains with pastas and veggies and dressings and you won’t miss the meat.

    Ok. You might miss bacon. But that’s standard.

    You could also just not become a vegetarian, but learn more about how to buy meat responsibly and eat less of it in general.

  • Alex May 6, 2010  

    Learn how to cook tofu. It expands your options exponentially, and is delicious if good and terrible if bad. And realize that replacing meat isn’t really the goal – appreciate foods for their own sake, and don’t try to make dishes that you used to like meat in, because they’ll just be disappointing.

    Shop at ethnic markets…they’re often cheap and have lots of interesting new options that you don’t associate with meat.

    Also learn to cook a good curry, a good bean and veggie burrito/wrap, and a good pizza – these are quick, delicious staples of my vegetarian diet.

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