This has not turned into a vegan blog--although there's nothing wrong with that. I promise I haven't given up meat. I had rare, bloody steak grilled over an open fire with the occasional Neanderthal grunt of pleasure just last night. Really. However, the world of good vegan food--and what I used to think was a clear contradiction in terms--is the most fascinating to me right now.
It's ironic really. I just received a big stack of new cookbooks to review (you'll see some in June's Belle) and yet Veganomicon, a book I received last year, still holds me in its thrall. I cannot believe that I will eat this kind of food without feeling as if I'm missing something. I cannot believe that I will ever enjoy it even as I cook it. I cannot believe, finally, that I love these recipes.
That's a lot of denial, wouldn't you say? It's the deep-seated pessimist in me reaching up from my amygdala and rapping on the door of my cerebrum. And yet, I seem to approach each vegan recipe I try in this way. So far, however, the preconceptions I carry around with me have been decisively scuttled.
I think I'm going to have to discard the entire category, a category which I used to hold in contempt (all right, not exactly contempt but my instinct to mock would instantaneously kick into high gear) and lump vegan cuisine into the category of "food I like to eat." There are a whole lot of things in that category, and I think it's stretchy enough to accommodate a few more cooked in interesting ways.
Instead of a recipe (I didn't make any changes of my own and don't really see how it could be improved), I'm going to exhort you to first buy the book, and then try authors Moskowitz and Romero's recipe for a Roasted Eggplant and Spinach Muffuletta Sandwich (p.100). It's a gift that keeps on giving: dinner, then lunch the next day, a snack later on, and if you're lucky, lunch the day after that. It puts you one step ahead of the weekly culinary game I like to call, "Dinner: Ennui and Anxiety, With Unceasing Regularity." It's nice to have one little recipe in your back pocket of tricks to pull out when you just can't take it anymore.