Lost vegan weekend

The vision: Roasted organic beet gnocchi on a bed of wilted beet greeens with mushroom-wine sauce and crispy shallots. The reality: Gummy, liver-colored blobs doing the backstroke in a flat, vegetal brew.

By the time I was done wrestling with the beets, the kitchen looked like I had sacrificed a squirrel with a dull knife. Ratio of effort to taste: 9:3.

The vegan adventure persists. Day 17 and counting (if you forget the odd anchovy and sprinkling of parmesan cheese). Eliminating dairy has been surprisingly easy; unsweetened almond milk makes for a fine cereal delivery system and mellows the morning coffee. And cheese? As long as someone doesn't come at me with an artisanal cheese plate, I'm fine.

It's the meat. Smokey, carmelized, toothsome meat. Mitch ordered a roast chicken the other night and it was all I could do not to stick my fork in the carcass and haul it over to my plate to keep my Boca Burger company. Nobody tells you this. All these vegan bloggers are all like into their silken tofu and nutritional yeast and ahimsa and I'm eyeing my old hiking boots, thinking, "Jerky!"

The upside of all this is that it's interesting. The days can so easily become a drudge of deadlines, jarred spaghetti sauce and garter stitch, can't they? Sameness is comfortable--and comforting--but to step out, even it it's just to spatter beet carnage all over the kitchen in an epic meal fail is invigorating.

Changing my diet has been like visiting an exotic place on vacation. Maybe it's not a place I want to live, but I'll return the wiser. 

Tonight's a big challenge: Can I feed my father a vegan meal without him going home hungry? The menu: Potato leek soup, homemade rye bread, vegan Caesar salad and chocolate cupcakes. Will report back.

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