(Update: I had to update my avatar because the old photo didn’t look like me anymore—my hair is completely grown out now and I’m older. My hubby drew this avatar for me.)
Creating this blog is something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years now and just never got around to it. Both my husband and I have been vegetarians since sometime in the mid-90’s but we didn’t really note it on a calendar so we’re not exactly sure when we started. I went all the way to veganville in 2004. What I miss most is milk chocolate and nope, there’s still not a really awesome soy or rice milk chocolate substitute. I may have to make my own one day.
Raised on Lard and Bacon
Of course, my family was weirded out enough by the vegetarian thing but they’re REALLY confused over veganism. I grew up in southern Indiana in a family that had migrated north from Tennessee and Kentucky. The kind of food my grandma taught me to make when I was a kid was veggies boiled to death with lard, butter, salt and pepper. Oh, and a ham hock if you’ve got one to spare. Meat (esp. bacon) was in just about everything. She always had a huge garden and everyone gathered at harvest time to string beans and can foods for the winter. She and grandpa never owned their own farm but always rented from other people. So I don’t think the garden was ever larger than 1/2 acre but to a kid, it seemed huge.
While in high school, I had severe allergies and I remember my grandma saying that she thought I might be allergic to milk. In hindsight, that was a pretty radical statement for someone in a rural Midwestern town. Not until years later would I realize she was on to something.
Discovering Whole Wheat Bread
Grandma also taught me to make jams and jellies, chicken dumplings, cobblers and cornbread griddle cakes. Of course all of these included lots of eggs, milk and refined sugar. I was in college before discovering whole wheat bread and the joys of steamed veggies. I previously had no idea that green beans could be anything other than army surplus green. This was quite a revelation to me and began my journey for healthier food. Soon after, my family labeled me a granola freak.
Going All The Way
The vegan tipping point came while watching some under cover Peta video of egg and milk production facilities. This brought back memories of the hen houses across the road from my grandma’s house and the cramped cages that I had conveniently forgotten.
I finally took that last step to giving up dairy. About a week later, my body recovered and began to digest food normally. I was thrilled since I had never known what it meant to digest normally.
This also began my online exodus into vegan cooking. Without all the helpful recipe sites out there, I would never have been able to make the transition. Fatfree Vegan, PPK and the Vegan Lunch Box are the three biggies that made the trip possible.
This blog, with its forthcoming recipes and cooking tips, is my way of giving back to the online vegan community that unknowningly supported me when I was lurking and learning.
So please try out the recipes and let me know what you think. I hope this makes your life a little easier too.