12 October 2013

Vindaloo, Vampires, and Vegans

Not in that order. Found some interesting articles this week, beginning with this one on your date's eating habits, from which there shall be two posts. Today's post deals more with the meta aspects of dating a veg*n (vegetarian/vegan). The next post shall include reviews of eateries in DMV area that are veg-friendly (hell, that are Q-friendly, since as we know, just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's gluten-free).

From this article about a couple (she's vegan and he's omnivorous) who are dating despite their dietary differences, I found this list of top 7 reasons to date a vegetarian. I look slant-wise at both of these articles. Sharing does not equal support here on Gothic Granola.

For the first, my mom has been doing the our plate/your plate dance since fall break 2008 when I came home and declared my vegetarianism. Actually, being vegetarian set me apart when they took me out for dinner to The Brothers Moon in Hopewell for freshman parents' weekend 2008. while purveying fabulous local ingredients in vegetarian dishes, had slim pickings for a vegan when we returned in February 2010. Point being, to me there's little unique in pointing out the complications dietary restrictions add to family/veg*n food situations versus significant other/veg*n food situations. If you love them, you will feed them or make sure they are fed, says the Italian in me. Proximity and sphere of influence vary from couple to couple and family to family. Whether it's one's mom or one's girlfriend who is doing most of the cooking and would like one to eat a certain way, it depends on the discrete relationship in order for the people involved to make foodways an issue. I do not see the couple's situation as remarkable.  What I do find remarkable is their level of mature, open communication on the subject (notice he is not quoted in the article, though), and how they find common ground (healthy eating) to connect around (or under) the table (whisper whisper). That's healthy for any relationship. What's not healthy is "finding the perfect guy [or girl] and expecting them to change." Kale chips are delicious, though!

Short commercial break: I picked up a few of these...
1) To support Blood Tight Apparel and their mission of cruelty-free fashion.
2) Because for both the positive way it makes me glow and smile, and the negative, painful consequences of cheating on it, I'm staying vegan for a while. Know that.

Article numero dos, the list.
To the thirty percent of people who won't date a veg*n, I don't want your energy anyway since it's built on the fear-laden flesh of factory-farmed animals, the pesticide-drenched crazymaking produce, and the machine-made foodlike substances. OH WAIT. You can be vegetarian and do these things (minus the meat), too! Or you can be a cornchips and French fries vegan. I mean, how one eats contributes as much to one's energy, physical appearance, and cognitive function as well as what one eats. It's self-perpetuating: a rushed, hurried, nervous person probably eats in a rushed, hurried, nervous way and if they're eating foods from the sugary and salty extremes (and microwaved, at that), then, no surprises, nervousness! I could go on about the energetics of food, but there's the rest of this list.

Reasons1-5 are all based on a stereotype of health-conscious, tofu-snarfing veg*n. Not all of us are like that. I eat tofu maybe once a month because it's a bitch to press and prepare. I eat it straight, too, but that's an acquired taste. It's still not worth $2.99 for the organic, non-GMO stuff on a regular basis. Furthermore, due to stress and not sleeping, yeah, weight fluctuation happens, no matter what you are or are not eating. Being VGF hasn't meant that I don't have to watch my weight. Furthermore, genetics are always a factor in longevity. Veganism has been the only thing that's lowered my and my mother's familial high cholesterol, though, just sayin'.

As for reason number 6: I'm a cheap date because I don't drink. I'm not a cheap date because I'm vegan *and* gluten-free and I always order salad. I will most likely be a special case when going anywhere fancy. I like my salad the way I like my women...undressed!  To reason number 7, all I can say is, "Yes, but why?" I queried my friend rhetorically why veg*ns enjoy giving head and his immediate response was, "B12 deficiency."

Finally, a weak spot in this article:

It's 2013, and even though you can order almond milk in your coffee or grab a slice of gluten-free pizza to-go, there's still vegetarian discrimination out there in the dating world.

Veg*n does NOT equal gluten-free. The two rarely go hand-in-hand, it seems, since there is a dearth of VGF options in most exclusively veg*n eateries. Oh, they'll have a few, though, because veg*ns know what it's like to have limited options. 

People choose to include and exclude certain foods for many reasons: religious, ethical, allergies, for a family member or significant other who has allergies, et cetera. For those of us with food allergies/intolerances (mine are dairy, eggs, and gluten, and fish makes me sick), eating a certain way helps us survive. 

To return to the first article, one of the most important responses to dating someone with dietary restrictions is respect. The author does not mention whether she will kiss him after he's eaten meat. I wonder how they work out that sort of thing in their relationship. It's best, as in all things, to be honest and open and say something like, "Hey, I like kissing you but I'd prefer if you brushed your teeth first or rinsed your mouth after eating meat." In my case, because of allergies and intolerances, it's, "Hey, I like kissing you but I need you to refrain from kissing me after eating gluten/dairy/eggs." Whether it's an ethical or physical distaste for that which one does not consume, if one is afraid to state a preference in a relationship, then that may not be a healthy relationship. Not that I'm an expert on relationships, but I think having open communication makes for good interpersonal interaction in general.

Recipe time. Spicy food is definitely an aphrodisiac (think of the shape of chilli peppers and ginger and you'll get what I mean). While this dish is not a traditional vindaloo, it warms one up--in more than one, uh, way--on a cold October evening.

Pumpkin Vindaloo

1 pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 4 cups)

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 head cauliflower, broken into chunks
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vindaloo spice

1 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
16 ounces frozen broccoli

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut-almond)
2 teaspoons vindaloo spice
dash cumin
dash cayenne
dash cinnamon
dash turmeric

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpats. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin and oil together until well-coated. Spread on one sheet and place on the lower rack of the oven. Toss the garlic, oil, seasoning, and cauliflower together in the same bowl and transfer to the other sheet. Roast the veggies for 45 minutes, stirring and rotating the pans every 10-15 minutes (keep the pumpkin on the bottom rack).

While the veggies are roasting, combine the beans and frozen broccoli in a large bowl. Once the veggies are done, place the cauliflower, garlic, non-dairy milk, and spices in a blender or food processor. Blitz until desired texture is reached; add water if needed. Pour over pumpkin, beans, and broccoli. Stir to combine. Either heat to completely defrost the broccoli or parcel out into containers and freeze.

Parting shots:
Pumpkin granola for my granola-addicted friend.

Third batch of paleo pumpkin bread...it's like pumpkin sponge cake. On the fence about how I feel about it.

Last but not least. I found this article called "Vegansexuality" in the New York Times in 2007. It inspired this short story. Exactly a year later I was vegetarian (and a better writer). Enjoy.

“Vegansexuality”[1]:  A Vi(nai)g(r/n)ette

      Oh, but I’d never date a meat-eater, you know, a carnivore.  It freaks me out to be close with people who live off dead animals.  I mean, how can they do that, knowing that they’re eating something that once had a life same as they?”
      The man next to the diatribe-ing female smiled—a small, tight stretching of the lips across the teeth.  She continued to search through her raffia purse for her keys.  “How can you tell,” he questioned, “without asking?”
      “Well, it’s scientifically proven that carnivores smell different.  And, duh, you just have to watch a person eat; that’s all.”
      “What do you think I am?” he asked, with a disarming half-smile.
      “Since I met you at the bookstore, looking at vegan cookbooks?  Probably vegan or vegetarian or you’re about to be one,” she finished hopefully.
      “Good guess, but no.”
      She found her keys and fitted them into the door of the apartment.  Gesturing him inside, she dropped her purse by the door and picked the mail up off the floor.  Straightening up, she began her inquest bluntly.  “Well, then, what are you?”
      “Can’t you tell?”  he asked with nearly obvious excitement.
      “Uh, let’s see….”  She stood back and stroked her chin in an attitude of mock seriousness.  Boldly, since he wasn’t standing in a position to block the door, and she knew self-defense if he tried anything, she paced around him in a circle, looking him up and down.  “Mind if I…?”
      “Go ahead,” he replied before she even finished her odd request to smell his hand.
      She, taking this in stride, held his outstretched hand less than half a centimeter from her nose, both appearing for the entire world that they were following old royal court customs, only with the gender roles reversed.
      “Omigosh,” she gasped and dropped his hand as if it were a dead animal, “you’ve, like, you…you have no smell, no scent!  Nothing at all!”  She seemed more mystified than anything, and she peered up at his face, which he was keeping deliberately inscrutable. 
      “What about you, what do you smell like?” he asked in a twist of the tables, inwardly marveling at her calmness.
      She didn’t miss a beat.  “Oh, a plant, I suppose.  Chlorophyll mainly.  I used diluted essential oils today as perfume.  You can still smell it on my neck,” she replied matter-of-factly, and drew her fine dirty blond hair back from the side of her neck closest to him.
      Altogether too easily, he suddenly grabbed her by the shoulder, wrenching her right shoulder back, which forced her upper body lower, and throwing his left arm around her waist, effectively pinned her arms down.  She screamed when he bit her, her blood readily leaving her body for his, the borderline anemic circulatory fluid of a girl who rushed into veganism without much forethought.  The essential oils still on her skin blended in, creating a citrus-flavored, watery mix of low-iron hemoglobin and plasma.  Not defeated by the unexpectedness of his attack, the rather strong girl fought back, making an attempt to knee him in the groin, which would, of course, hurt like Hell, even for a vampire.  However, he twisted away—in his better interests, really—and unfortunately lost his grip on her in the process.  She tumbled to the floor, unbalanced, as he stumbled back.  He wasn’t about to leave, though, as she seemed like the type to report this encounter.
      Shaking, she slowly raised herself to her feet, watching him, the crazed sanguinivore in her apartment. 
      “Don’t come any closer!” she shouted, “I’ll scream!”
      “I doubt you will,” he responded calmly, overtaking her easily in her mad dash to the phone on the far wall.  He ripped her away from the corded phone, which fell off its base and banged against the wall.  She didn’t let out that scream like she was planning because he attacked on the right this time, nearly severing her carotid artery in the process. 
      Finishing her off in due time (she was a rather small woman); he left her vaguely citrus-smelling, exsanguinated corpse in the apartment.
      Thus, the irony that finally kills you, he thought.  Death has no scent at all.

[1] Jeff Stryker, "Vegansexuality," New York Times, December 9, 2007.

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