Those of you who knew me growing up know that I come from a meat-and-potatoes family. My dad, the one who got off work early, picked us up from school and almost immediately threw steaks or chicken on the grill to get the baby birds to stop screeching for food. But Sydney grew up in a house almost entirely devoid of meat, with a large vegetable farm at hand. You can imagine how different our conceptions of diet might be as a result. Thankfully, neither of us really knew a lot about cooking, so we did basically start from scratch, and four years of college dining hall exposure had weaned me from meat to a large extent (“You call that meat!?”).
I had watched a fair number of young female vegetarians at college, however, so I was a bit worried that vegetarianism meant a spoon of white rice, iceberg lettuce, and a diet soda for dinner. Those girls never looked very happy eating that; who could blame them? But Sydney doesn’t resemble those fragile girls whose bellybuttons and vertebrae touched between “meals”. So I assumed there must be something I was missing.
Yes. Over time Sydney and I have cobbled together a cooking repertoire that satisfies my two basic food desires: eat a lot and eat a lot of fruit. Potato and tomato casseroles with heaps of basil, fruit and yogurt smoothies, baked squash filled with raisins and walnuts, home-made pizza with leeks and basil pesto, cauliflower curries, etc. As in, hearty food with lots of flavor. Who would have known? I was reminded of my former ideas about “vegetarianism” the other day when I visited the doctor and he asked what I ate. When he learned that I was basically vegetarian, I got grilled. Remembering those caved-in girls from my college days, I can see why. But, though my diet isn’t perfect (no, my major sugar cravings haven’t magically disappeared with marriage), I was pretty satisfied with my responses to his questions.
So, score 1 for Sydney, and also 1 for the former skeptic who is now publicly admitting that Sydney’s path has been a good one for her, too. Now, if we could just figure out how to cook fantastic food without it eating up all our “work” time . . .