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Becoming Flexitarian

I'm not a vegetarian, nor do I (at least at this point in my life) forsee that ever happening. However, in trying to be more stewardly and follow other expressions of the Christian tradition, I have tried with limited success to eat vegetarian on Wednesdays (this in trying to emulate the Orthodox practice of vegetarian meals on Wednesday and Friday). One meal without meat (I do have two meatless breakfasts in my three-breakfast cycle) is a good thing for animals and the planet. Especially after a trip last night to the carnivorarium that is Gaucho in Northville.

So, I decided to buy a good vegetarian cookbook to offset the "mostly meat" ones that I do own. After a short browse in a bookstore, I purchased Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

I haven't moved past page 7, but I am planning on preparing a White bean soup for the 19th. His introduction is good, I don't agree with all his opinions, but I did appreciate this following list:

8 Ingredients That Must Be Genuine

1. Extra virgin olive oil. As long as it's extra virgin, it's good.
2. Parmigiano-Reggiano. The real thing is the king of cheese.
3. Real soy sauce. The labe should say "brewed" or "fermented." Ingredients should be soy, wheat, salt, water, and bacteria. Nothing else, and certainly not TVP (textured vegetable protein) or caramel coloring. [Throw out those packets from your carry-out Chinese!--SFM]
4. Yogurt. I want whole milk [Yay!], I want active cultures, and I want no thickeners. But use low-fat or even nonfat if you must.
5. Dry pasta. Americans still can't make it; it's gotta come from Italy. Most of the Italian brands are good. None of the American brands are.
6. Basmati rice. A lot of good rices are produced outside of their original regions, but basmati from India is still the best.
7. Salt. It doesn't have to be sea salt; kosher is fine. Just so long as it's not iodized or mixed with other additives.
8. Black peppercorns. You really should grind your own right before every use or nearly every use.

With these, he says, you have the basic stuff from which to make almost anything. Sadly, cumin didn't make this top 8, but I bet there are plenty of recipies in the book that use it.
Well, cows, pigs, chicken, lamb, and fish--enjoy your day off.


anetfrank said…
I know three people who have become vegetarian within the past 6 months due to the ethical concerns about the treatment of animals. I am also familiar with Mark Bittman from his Minimalist column in the New York Times. He's no pure vegetarian either but increasingly inclined that way. Here is a link to an interesting presentation he did on the implications of how we eat.

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