Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Biscuit Problem

Generally, R stays with me Monday through Friday, going home only on weekends if at all. Typically, during those days, I am effectively a vegetarian (unless laziness kicks in and I make super quick and delicious Trader Joe's pork gyoza for lunch). During these days, I also tend to do the bulk of the cooking.

I imagine every couple has a division of labor with respect to a lot of domestic tasks. R fixes my computer, and I cook and bake most of the time. Considering that I think of my laptop as a little box that performs magic behind a thin screen, I think it's a very, very fair trade.

To make my life easier and reduce the burden of figuring out "what's for dinner?" on a nightly basis, I like to plan 4 separate dinners over the weekend that can be easily executed on a busy weeknight. I only do 4 because we always have leftovers or get lazy and eat out.

Last week I made: Chinese chow mein with fresh veggies and sauteed tofu, baked falafel wraps, and baked, cheesy pasta. One night I got lazy and asked him to cook -- he made delicious pad thai.

This weekend, my brain wasnt working. When I tried to think of new meals to make, or recipes to try, I couldn't. I could only think about biscuits and mashed potatoes...neither of which constitute meals, right?

Here is my problem: I want to make cheddar, chive buttermilk biscuits because I bought buttermilk 2 weeks ago that I have yet to use. Also, I have 4 large russet potatoes from the Dosas we never made (too lazy to go buy curry leaves) and would love to make garlicy mashed potatoes.

These are carby side dishes...side dishes to what? MEAT! I have no idea what vegetarian items to put next to them and no idea where to even look.

There are so many food blogs out there, which is amazing and wonderful and I am addicted to about a dozen of them. But where is the website that will tell me what, that hasn't died, I can put a buttermilk biscuit next to and call it a meal.


This blog...

I started this blog last spring out of frustration.

I love to travel and have chosen a life and career which not only allows me to travel, but demands that I do. R and I have never really "traveled" together. We have driven up and down California to get from college to home and back and he visited me in Texas twice when I lived there...but neither of those really constitute "traveling".

However, even those situations, we have found it unnecessarily difficult to find tasty vegetarian food for him at a wide variety of places. We can always eat Indian food, but what about when we want Mexican and the only thing they have for him is a cheese enchilada? Who knows if they even use vegetarian cheese sans animal rennet anyway. Honestly, you would think that every place would at least have one decent vegetarian option...but it doesn't always work that way. I've been surprised, shocked actually, at how often it doesn't work that way.

To be clear, R is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. This broadens the options, but's not as easy as one might imagine.

Originally, I wanted to start a blog about traveling with a vegetarian. I invisioned posting restaurant reviews for every place we visited together. That idea died quickly since I was living 2,000 miles away from him at the time -- I ended up not posting for months.

Now, I am back with a vengence. Being a mixed-eating couple (yes, I know, it's a dumb term...but got any better ideas?) has its own unique set of challenges. I was reminded of those when my baked pasta went awry and I realized I was frustrated that I couldnt make it the way I wanted and he didnt even like it that much anyway.

I will use this as a forum for recipe postings, restaurant reviews, and general thoughts on dating a vegetarian and holding on to my own food habbits and preferences.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Self Feed

I'm sitting at my desk in an empty house, talking to myself like a crazy person about my mediocre dinner.

I'm eating leftovers. A baked, spicy, creamy pasta concoction that is a vegetarian version of what my stepmother calls Mac & Jack. I just accidentally WAY oversalted it while reheating it on the stove. Bleh.

The way my stepmom makes it is with mostly cooked pasta, gruyere, a low fat cream sauce (thats right! flour, a bit of butter, and skim milk), with jalapenos, ham, and sometimes sauteed peppers an onions. When I make it I ALWAYS use the bell peppers and onions + fresh basil, several other cheeses, and procuitto as well. I'm a pretentious foodie and have messed with what was already one of my favorite meals -- it never comes out as good as when she makes it.

I made it 2 days ago for my boyfriend, R, a vegetarian. The lack of ham, procuitto, and some of the saltier cheeses (have to be careful about animal renet) left it no where near salty enough & I forgot to compensate.

He didnt like it anyway. Usually he loves what I cook for him, but he has a deep seeded opposition to spicy pasta that I was unaware of and it ruined it for him (generally I agree, this is my only exception). The no meat ruined it for me.

I've been dating R for coming up on 3 years. We are currently looking for an apartment together but he basically lives with me as is...which means my meat consumption has dropped almost to 0. He often goes home on weekends to return to his big screen TV and functioning dishwasher, at which point I typically choose to "meat out" and cook the food I am accustomed to eating.

Hours after this particular pasta mishap he was hungry. What did he eat? What does he always eat? A bowl of Frosted Flakes.

I've heard a rumor that some men can "self-feed"...I have seen no evidence of it yet :)

I told him I would try to adjust this dish further to his preferences but that once we are living together, there will be times when I wanted to eat something he didnt like or wouldnt eat (aka: meat) and that he would have to learn to "self feed" better...a phrase that for years we have jokingly used to refer to his unwillingness to cook unless he has a 3 hour block of time to make elaborate Indian curry dishes.

He didnt take this announcement too well.

Not because he invisions me chained to the stove. Not because he can't cook (he is actually an excellent cook). But, because he felt angry at me for wanting to eat meat. He knew it was irrational. He told me he wasnt upset, that he had no reason to be upset, that he knew and understood that I ate meat.

Knowing is one thing.

Accepting is another.