When Sam of Becks and Posh announced the theme for the 19th installment of Is My Blog Burning?, I was excited. No, make that - thrilled. September, we cook and eat vegan. I’m not sure why I was so thrilled, but I think it had something to do with the fact that eating truly vegan is a challenge.
I tried a vegan lifestyle for a bit right after college, and no, it had nothing to do with going to hippie-dippie Berkeley, LOL! Actually, it didn’t have to do with Berkeley, but it did have to do with college – four years at Cal during which I had gained a hefty 15 pounds. Vegans eat vegetables, so I had it in my head that limiting myself to vegan eating would help me to lose those luscious layers of lard.
However, I couldn’t maintain it with a consulting career because eating vegan requires a lot of time, energy, and money. I flew out of LAX at 5 am on Monday mornings, which meant I couldn’t make myself a nice vegan breakfast of hot oatmeal in soy milk. During the week, expense accounts and client dinners didn’t allow for being picky at restaurants like steakhouses. I couldn’t just nibble on the olive in my martini and eat a side salad. I flew back at 8 pm on Thursday nights, which meant I was too exhausted to cook anything but microwave mystery meat (which, incidentally, might not have been meat at all – automatically vegan!). Vegans spend time and energy cooking for themselves, it’s true, but they also have to spend time reading packages. You don’t now what kind of odd animal products can be found...in Doritos. I was vegan for a bit, but gave up. Incidentally, I lost my Freshman 15 anyway, working hard on hotel treadmills ;)
Vegan is different from vegetarian. Vegetarian can be interpreted in myriad ways, usually some variation on the exclusion of animal flesh. People might say they are vegetarian, eating everything except red meat, which means they eat chicken. Some so-called vegetarians include fish. I think these folks want to be vegetarians because it somehow elevates them, but they’re just confused, because last I checked, chickens and fish have feelings, too. Vegetarians do eat eggs or dairy or both, which I understand, since no animal sacrifice is necessary to produce eggs and milk. Now whether the animals are happy giving up their eggs and milk...is a different story.
Vegan on the other hand, means no animals, no animal products, no animal related anything whatsoever. Eggs are not animals, but they come from an animal. Milk is not an animal, but it comes from an animal. Even honey is considered an animal product because it comes from bees. Vegans eat vegetables and vegetable products only. Actually, I just read a definition of veganism as “abstaining from the use or ingestion of non-human animal products.” Wait. Stop. Re-read that phrase, "non-human animal products." So I guess human animal products are okay to ingest?!?! And then I read further and that means breast milk. *phew*
During Wedding Week, vegan IMBB would have been a snap. On the W Diet, I was eating lots and lots of saeng dooboo, but cold, raw tofu wrapped in nori is about as exciting as Wonder bread. I could eat a banana and call that a vegan meal, but that’s missing the point of IMBB. So I took one of the many, and I mean many, blocks of tofu I had left in my fridge and stared at it for two hours until I decided to make...lemons! I got a whole f**king crate of lemons hand-delivered to me in the Game Room, so September’s Vegan had to wait. Then September turned into October. Is My Blog Burning? Baby, I waited so long, my blog burned to a lemony, vegan crisp!
But as late as it is, I made tofu cutlets with spinach and mushroom curry because what the hell else will I do with all that tofu in the fridge?! Curry. It's so easy it could be illegal, and always better than that place. Brilliant.
And it was brilliantly stupid, if that’s possible. Have I not just written that there are animal products hidden in ingredients in many pre-packaged things? Yes, Doo-moss, I have. For curry, I didn’t even have to read the ingredients because I already know that one of the ingredients is...lard. Lard translates to...animal fat. I am an idiot. But wait! S&B must have gotten smart because when I actually looked at the package, it says right on the front, next to it’s “serving suggestion” of curry made with glorious chunks of beef, that there is "no meat product" in the package. A quick flip of the package to check the ingredient list to make sure and...it’s in Japanese. It’s in English on the side panel, with nothing but vegetable oils. :).
Tofu is tender, even when it’s extra firm, so it’s a little hard to handle. Careful now. This is vegan, so when breading the sliced tofu, dredge first in flour, then in water, not eggs, before breading with panko and tossing into vegetable oil to deep fry.
Tofu curry is grade A prime vegan, but thank God I’m off the W diet because if you are smarter than I and actually read the back of the package, the curry block alone is 5 billion calories. Add all the other accessories into the curry, pour it over deep-fried tofu and rice, and you may as well eat an entire pizza. Dipped in vegan soy butter sauce. Good thing I didn’t really try to lose that Freshman 15 with veganism. I’d be a heifer now. Moo.