Often I find myself cooking for my extended family. While I am vegan, only two members of my family are, so I will (reluctantly) include some sort of animal protein although I don’t like doing so. The menu will be:
Fried Chicken (a vegan will have purchased it from the deli, so there you go–Vegan Fried Chicken)
Potato Salad – vegan (no dairy/eggs)
Green Salad with two choices of dressing – vegan (no dairy/eggs)
Avocado Salad – vegan (no dairy/eggs)
As I have said before, I was not always a vegan, but the transition was easy for me. For my health’s sake, I avoid meat, and dairy. I am careful what I consume, because I have an autoimmune response to these foods–inflammation of my joints that cripples me. While I love fried chicken as much as anyone, I really prefer to be mobile and off the cane.
The negative effects of going off my vegan diet are immediate–maximum suffering occurring within 24 hrs. Then it takes two or three days to clear out of my system.
Due to the way our food is grown and processed by the large food manufacturers, many people nowadays are suffering food related allergies. All the food I prepare for groups is gluten free, nut free, organic and locally grown (except the avocados-they don’t grow in Tenino.) Even the chicken is organic and raised humanely at a local farm.
I have become re-attuned to the notion of being connected to your food as more than a consumer. If you know where it came from, how it was grown, you have more appreciation for it, and each meal becomes a celebration.
Food is love, but only if love went into the preparation of it.
I am a vegan, but those around me are not, and I do love them, so I frequently prepare ‘blended meals,’ keeping the side dishes vegan, and creating a separate high-quality, organically raised meat dish for those who expect it. If I provide dairy, it is clearly labeled so that it isn’t accidentally mixed with the non-dairy foods.
SO–the vegan will fry the chicken, and carnivorous family members will consume it. The vegan really won’t miss the chicken at all. I never really liked it to begin with and have found new sources of protein that really satisfy me in the crucial areas of taste and texture. Tofu, tempeh, and beans are excellent sources of protein that don’t trigger my autoimmune reaction. That is the basis of my ongoing cookbook project that I am working on as I have time.
Connie J. Jasperson is an author and blogger and can be found blogging regularly at Life in the Realm of Fantasy.