Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cheers!

I guess you could say that this blog is over a decade in the making.  It really all started when, as a very strong-willed 10 year old, I decided to become vegetarian.  The details of why are not important, the point is, I was no longer willing to eat animals.  Much to my parents’ chagrin, meat was only the latest thing I decided I didn’t like enough to eat.  For the first few years of vegetarianism, I ate little more than bagels and cream cheese.

Lucky for me, I grew up in a house that loved food too much for me to continue being the least healthy eater ever.  My family entertained every weekend, meaning I would come home from school on Fridays and immediately wash my hands and help my mom bake or cook whatever was being served that weekend.  My assignments ranged from soup to salad to that Duncan Hines brownie mix we always seemed to have in the pantry.  These Friday afternoons shaped me in two important ways:

1. I grew up always cooking different things.  Despite the Hungarian Jewish heritage my mom brought to her kitchen, the only “traditional” things I’ve ever made were Challah and Hamantaschen.  I was constantly exposed to new dishes and different ingredients.
2. I have absolutely no idea how to cook for only 1 or 2 people.  Cooking for a dozen people, on the other hand, is the most natural thing in the world.  I apologize in advance for my recipes that could feed an army.  I’m still learning portion control in cooking.

Over a decade after I became the world’s pickiest eater, I now have my own kitchen, and I seem to have inherited my mother’s compulsion to buy every cookbook on the shelf as well as her need to feed people.  I’ve also spent the last who knows how many years hearing my friends exclaim that vegetarian food just can’t be filling.  How could I possibly not eat meat?  Where do I get my daily dose of protein?  Aren’t I always hungry?  Part of my attraction to cooking is to prove these skeptics wrong.

I’ve also taken an interest in health and nutrition, and I try and incorporate what I’ve learned about the body into my cooking (though I make no excuses for my baking – there’s no such thing as a healthy cake, no matter what they’re marketing these days).  And during my forays into nutrition and food literature, I’ve also been leaning closer and closer to becoming vegan.  My recipes often reflect my search for ways to satisfy my cravings for staples like macaroni and cheese in healthy and/or vegan ways (also, it’s been kinda fun to experiment with vegan baking – I still surprise myself when I turn out a delicious cake with no eggs!).

Anyway, this blog is really a combination of so many things.  It’s part record of my culinary growth, part journey to new and tasty food palettes, part proof to the unbelievers that vegetarian and, dare I say it, even vegan food can be delicious and satisfying.  This blog is a collection of ideas, experiences, and most importantly, recipes for the inventive vegetarian or vegan meal.  I try to keep my recipes as simple as possible and as healthy as I can.  I just hope that you, too, can come to appreciate the meatless wonders that I have enjoyed.  

Cheers and good eating!
-The Inventive Vegetarian

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