Around here we don’t buy food, we buy ingredients. One or the other of us cooks almost every day. About the only thing we buy in cans is dog food, and mostly not even that, but a concoction Donna makes out of chicken and vegetables. They eat it with dry food and love it.
Donna is not vegan. I am. That means there are often two cooks in the kitchen.
There are so many reasons I am vegan. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis back in 1976. I happened across a book about how to deal with RA with diet. I read it. It advocated eating no red meat. Even all those years ago, I was disgusted with farming practices of killing sentient animals just so America could indulge their meat eating habits. So it was easy enough to stop eating red meat.
I was equally disgusted with chicken farming, pesticide use, antibiotic use in animals and therefore in food. Stopping eating all meat was not all that bad. Occasionally, I lusted for shrimp, fish, oysters, or other seafood, but not for very long when I considered what damage could be done to my body in the long term. To this day, the smell of bacon is almost irresistible, but other than that, I don’t even think of eating meat. After all, it’s been many years since I have done so. I hesitate to think how my body would deal with meat after all these years.
Dairy products are a different story. I don’t eat dairy because I have an extreme allergy to any dairy product. So that’s an easy decision. I was never a milk drinker, even as a child, but avoiding milk is harder than I ever thought it would be. It’s not that I miss it. I don’t. Although there are days when a pizza sounds mighty good, but most prepared foods are full of lactose or some ingredient with lac and some suffix or casein, a milk protein listed in the ingredients. So that means I have to read every single label. And even if I have the same package of the same thing in my hand next week, I have to read the label again, because companies will throw lactose as a filler in most anything they can. Using lactose as a filler must allow companies to make something cheaper. They still charge us the same, but they can make it a penny cheaper and make even more profits. And food producers are all about profit. They don’t care much about their customers, only their own profits.
Finding a restaurant that serves vegan food here in Mountain View is impossible. First of all, restaurants are few and far between and secondly, vegan is an unknown term here. So if and when we eat out, everyone else eats and I have a coke. The people who know me have gotten used to that. New friends have to get used to it. If they don’t, they will continue to be uncomfortable when we go to a restaurant. Their problem, not mine.
Also, it’s best for you if you don’t invite me to your house for dinner. I know you think you can cook vegan food, but you can’t. You want to, you try, but you just can’t. I have wandered into the kitchen where the hostess is cooking and found her pouring a can of store bought gravy into a sauce. Oops. Or had another host make polenta, which I love, and put cheese on top, just to make it taste good. Another oops. Or, like my mother, you think, “Well, a little bit won’t hurt her.” Yes, it will and that’s why I beg you not to invite me to dinner. Or if you do, I will eat ahead of time and have a coke at your house.
Donna’s sister, Jackie and spouse, Carol, can cook vegan. They proved it last time we went over there for dinner. It was wonderful and they said it was easy. They are educated, informed women who think. They can be trusted and that’s a big deal for me.
So being vegan can be a big deal, but usually only to others. For me, it’s just fine.