Vegan. Despite my own vegan flirtations the word sounds almost militant to my ears. As if this change of diet should be accompanied by a manifesto, too drastic to do 'just 'cause'. Not so. There are many delicious and healthful foods that are 'vegan' and it's worth checking out our wide range of cookbooks just to see all the interesting options available. Whether you are looking for something new or contemplating a change of diet, there are a lot of ways we can help.
The most famous 'surprise' vegan I have come across is former president, Bill Clinton. While he decided to change the way he eats for health reasons, there are many reasons why people consider eating fewer (or no) animal products (maybe you joined a food co-op from the farmer's market and need a way to use all those delicious vegetables). Whatever drives you to explore a vegan diet most people run into the same problem: "What on earth am I going to make for dinner?"
Admittedly, I'm not a vegan though I have flirted with the idea. Experience has taught me that when it comes to changing the way your family eats, small steps are best. Rule number one: avoid all products that are faux meat because you will be unhappy if you are dying for a cheeseburger and you eat a tofuburger with tofu-cheese. It just isn't the same.
For a long time standard dinner fare was 'meat and two veg' and it is often really hard to wrap our heads around a meal that is without the traditional focal point. The good news is that there is a lot of help out there. A great way to start is to come to the library on the 12th of February at 10am to meet vegan chef Erica Elizabeth. Erica has worked for many years as a private chef and will demonstrate some simple recipe staples that are easy to make and delicious for the whole family.
There are so many options to explore that you might not miss the meat. We have a really fantastic selection of vegan cookbooks. Some of my personal favorites are "The Sexy Vegan Cookbook," "Vegan with a Vengeance" and finally, "Vegetarian Times: Everything Vegan." Each of these books have two core elements that are most important to me when I am considering what to cook my family for dinner, practicality and humor. Yes, I could make a fabulous meal for $100, but I need to make dinner seven nights a week. I need to make school lunches. I need this to be practical and affordable people! The recipes in these books tend to be presented in a humorous manner and most of them are forgiving…You should use "perfect recipe ingredient" but this "alternate more common recipe ingredient" is perfectly acceptable too…Thank you. It makes life so much easier if I don't have to run out and buy something new every time I experiment with a recipe.
Finally, you don't have to make a major lifestyle change – you can flirt with a change of diet. The founder of 'treehugger.com', Graham Hill, decided to become a weekday vegetarian. Perhaps you might opt to eat like much of the rest of the world where meat is only a 'taste' of the meal. One of the world's most basic meals, beans and rice is perfectly vegan.
Shake your menu up a little – try something new! Start by joining Erica Elizabeth and me on Tuesday 12 February at 10am.
Photos from the Flavors of Princeton event with Erica Elizabeth
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