In an effort to live more lightly on Grove Street and stave off the more deliterious effects of the standard American diet, we're eating more vegetables. Having been raised with casseroles, iceberg lettuce and roasts so tough you could use them as ballast, a shift of this kind involves new thinking.

As tail-end Baby Boomers, we've benefitted from watching our older peers make hash of their lives over free love (good for men, I say), drugs, and unworkable living arrangements. Their fearless upending of the social order, though, has allowed us latecomers to pick and choose. Organic food? Yes. Communes? No. Co-housing? Maybe. Free love? Not in this lifetime. Drugs? Nope, but legalize pot anyway. Alternative medicine? Heck, yeah!

We have the food options we have today because of pioneers like Julia Child, Alice Waters, Mollie Katzen and Anna Thomas, people who abandoned the jello molds and tuna surprises of their childhoods to mainstream other cuisines. We can be pescatarians, raw foodists, vegans, fruitatarians, low-glycemics and locavores. Or we can eat Lean Cuisine every night of the week.

Which brings me to the daily challenge of dinner: Curling up with a salad this time of year, I don't care how much radicchio, curly escarole or braised broccoli rabe resides therein, doesn't appeal. Beans don't agree. Tofu is fine in a pinch, but truth be told, is a lot like eating wet socks. The farmers markets are closed. And soyrizo is just as processed and full of mystery as a link of Jimmy Dean's.

Last week I made a low-meat shrimp, tomato and polenta dish that earned snorts of derision from Mr. Nake-id. (Completely unfair, in my opinion, I've done much, much worse.) And last night I watered down the barley, mushroom and kale soup to a tasteless, thin gruel.

Your thoughts?

Comments (1) -

January 20. 2010 13:00

Alice Reich

Don't you think some of these depends on why you are trying to cut down on meat?  For me it is simply a matter of eating lower on the food chain.  I don't mind eating things with eyes, even potatoes. But, we eat mostly non-meat meals.  We do use cheese and eggs.  We like Indian food -- a nice pot of lentils cooked with a little serrano, with rice, chutney, peanuts, yogurt, etc. Roasting vegetables is a great way to eat many of them.  Roast eggplant, peppers, portobello mushrooms, onions.  If you serve them over barley cooked like rice, or brown rice, or polenta, it is good.  Stir fries you know, I am sure, are great.  You don't need tofu.  There are some good margarita pizzas out there for nights you don't want to cook.  And pasta has endless possibilities.  There is a great 5 ingredient vegetarian cookbook, and I've liked what I've had from there.  The bible, to me, is Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone -- think goat cheese enchiladas with adobo, mushroom ragouts...I don't think anything related to eating works if you don't like what you are eating!  Let's talk food!

Alice Reich |

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