Monday, September 07, 2009

The Unlikeliest Vegetarian Part I

Welcome to my life as a vegetarian, day seven. Strange things are happening.

I am living life as a vegetarian during the entire month of September. I am eating nothing with a face or a tail, and believe it or not, I’m still alive and breathing.

The following is what I have learned, so far, as a neophyte vegetarian:

1.Cinnamon rolls aren’t made from meat.

2.) Neither are French fries

3.) One can easily gain weight on a vegetarian diet (I’ve gained two pounds in one week), see numbers 1 and 2.

4.) When one announces in the newspaper they are to become a vegetarian for a while, others will follow. Many others.

5.) When others are following your eating habits, the pressure increases tenfold.

6.) Football games remind me of barbeque ribs.

7.) I miss barbeque ribs.

I am the unlikeliest of vegetarians. I don’t believe I have ever even gone two days without eating some type of meat. Correction, I have now gone seven days.

The Special Projects Coordinator for PETA sent an email on my second day. Jenny Browning stated that she was “delighted” that I had become a vegetarian. In the next paragraph she said, “Although cutting meat—and its loads of saturated fat—from your diet is likely to result in noticeable weight loss all by itself, milk and eggs are similarly laden with fat (and cholesterol), so most people get the best result by choosing to eat only plant-based foods.”

No way, sister. I’m not giving up milk. Sure milk and eggs are laden with fat, but I’ve already given up steak, ribs, bacon, and cheeseburgers— did I mention ribs? There’s no way I’m giving up milk.

I gave up drinking and other recreational vices 26 years ago. I quit smoking 14 years ago. I got married, and basically gave up sex. Now I have given up meat. Bank on it, I’m going to drink milk, and I’m going to eat scrambled eggs while I do it.

Browning went on to state, “It can be a bit challenging at first to learn to cook and eat without meat, eggs, or dairy, so our Web site, VegCooking.com, is filled with useful information, including recipes, shopping tips, and restaurant guidance, for people who are new to vegetarian cooking and dining.” Do you see how she snuck the no-milk-and-eggs line in there, again? Now it’s implied that I’m going to give up eggs and milk. Not gonna happen.

She says that she’s sending me the PETA Vegetarian Start-Up Kit and two cookbooks, but she better hurry, I only have 23 days left.

I have also been featured on the PETA website. Talk about strange bedfellows, I’ve been getting hate mail from these guys for years. In “The PETA Files” Karin Bennett says, “for 30 days the meat-loving columnist will forgo the bacon and buffalo wings, which means that some pigs and chickens will be spared from winding up on his plate. Our advice to Mr. St. John? Stay away from dairy foods too, Seriously, you could gain two pounds just by looking at cheese fries.”

Three points:

1.) There they go with the milk thing again. What’s up with these people?

2.) Note to self- cheese fries don’t have meat. Thanks, Karin, I hadn’t thought of those.

3.) I don’t eat Buffalo wings.

I wonder if members of the Beef Council or that pork group, you know, the-other-white-meat guys, are going to send me letters and books when I come back into their fold the first day of October. Then again, maybe at the end of September, I’ll decide to go another 30 days. Stranger things have happened.

Stuffed Tomatoes

6 large tomatoes, not too ripe

2 Tbl Olive Oil

1/4 cup Shallot, minced

2 Tbl Yellow Onion, minced

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground

1/2 cup Tomato Pulp, scooped from tomatoes and chopped

1 Tbl Fresh Orange Juice

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup Pesto

1/3 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Remove the core of the tomatoes, and slice across the very top of the tomato.

Using a teaspoon, scoop out about one tablespoon of the pulp from each tomato and roughly chop it

Over low heat, heat olive oil in a small sauté pan. In the sauté pan, cook the shallot, onion, salt and black pepper for 5 minutes. Add the tomato pulp, orange juice Worcestershire sauce and cook 4-5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto.

Divide the mixture evenly among the hollowed-out tomatoes. Sprinkle bread crumbs over tops of the stuffed tomatoes.

Prepare the grill. Cook tomatoes over direct medium heat for 5 minutes, rotating tomatoes one quarter turn and cooking for 3-5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

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