So, I'm a vegetarian. I have been meat-free since the birth of Daughter #1 (19 years ago). At the time, I was looking for a way to combat my genetic predisposition to the ravages of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. and cutting animal products from my diet seemed like a logical step to take. In the past maybe three years or so, I've let fish creep in to my diet, which not only makes getting enough protein easier, but makes weddings and buffet lines easier, too.
Anyway, my vegetarianism is totally not about animal rights (Au contraire, Mon Cherie! I loathe the animals!). I guess it really stemmed not only from the need to beat the genetic lottery off with a stick, coupled with the fact that I am a very picky eater.
As a child, my mother would have to hide apples from me or I'd eat the entire crop of them. My grade school lunches were always the same: PB&J on Wonder bread (because that's what my mom bought, silly!), an apple or some other piece of fruit (but NOT plums, tangerines, or peaches; oranges, bananas, grapes, and nectarines were fine), and some sort of Little Debbie snack (but NOT those icky Swiss Rolls or chocolate anything, except for the waxy chocolate-flavored coating on those delicious Nutty Bars). I still take PB&J sandwiches for lunch.
I never, ever, ever liked lunch meat. I think when I was younger I thought it was raw, and couldn't understand why people would eat it all the time. I did, however, enjoy Oscar Mayer bologna, fried with ketchup. Oh, Mama! It tasted somewhat like bacon (another weakness, although I was never very fond of say, pork chops or loin roasts).
I could go on and on with stories like these. See, I know I need food to live. And I know that a balanced diet is a good thing. I know that I need to pay even more attention to my diet than Regular Rosie because of the way I'd like my body to perform (that is, run marathons and such). But honestly, I'm waiting for the day when optimal nutrition comes in pill form. Some women are looking for the pill to help them lose weight; not me! What I'd really like to see is the evolution of food into gum form, like on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original one with Gene Wilder, not the icky one with Johnny Depp). Roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and for dessert...blueberry pie! *chew chew chew*
And so, for the closing of Part I, I will leave you with a list of items I have stricken from the grocery list forever:
1) Tomatoes. The only way these are remotely tasty is as pizza sauce, lasagna sauce, or ketchup.
2) Pickled anything. Seriously? Letting food items stay submerged in a vinegar solution is just all kinds of wrong. I mean, I know its a way to preserve foods, but really? Ick.
3) Eggplant. While a very attractive shade (its always featured as the "purple" in that rainbow of fruits and veggies you're supposed to eat), its not tasty. Believe me, I've tried to like it- eggplant Parmesan, breaded and deep fried,etc.- but its so....blech!
4) Okra. This has one of the prettiest plants I've ever seen: lush green leaves with delicate yellow flowers. Too bad its cooked texture- um, kinda like Vaseline- is enough to make me gag.
5) Papaya. This is the one with the little black seeds that look like caviar, right? Yeah, my first experience with papaya was on a return flight from Mexico. It smelled and tasted like stinky feet. Maybe it was over ripe? Doesn't matter. I'm not eating it ever again.
6) Cheese. Ooooh, I'm gonna get it for that one, for sure. This is where my pickiness comes in to play. The following varieties are excluded from the category of "cheese," and are edible and consumable in mass quantities: mozzarella, brie, Colby jack, cheddar (only sometimes, though), Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, cream cheese, Parmesan, Romano. I must also add that these items must also be warm/melted, breaded & deep fried, or incorporated somehow into a dessert.
7) Eggs. Again, its not really a vegetarian thing, but I only like my eggs two ways: scrambled very very very very dry and cooked in butter ONLY (like, spots of brown on the eggs), or incorporated into a baked good.
8) Shellfish. This includes crabs, lobster, prawns, oysters, clams, mussels...all of it. Why? Because they all look like giant bugs. My only exception is the fake crab used in California Rolls at the sushi place.
9) Mushrooms. Several people have tried to get me to eat and enjoy mushrooms, trying to tempt me with varieties like portabella or shiitake, or even the elusive yet sought-after morel. Listen to me: they're texture is all wrong, and they smell and taste like dirt unless you add so much other stuff to them that you should've saved your money and omitted them from the recipe in the first place.
10) Mayonnaise. This also includes the Miracle Whip variety of mayonnaise-type spreads. Please note that the main ingredients in mayonnaise are mentioned previously on the list (see: #2 [vinegar] and #7).
For my next entry, I'll focus on what I do like to eat, followed by another installment where I hope to make a case for getting optimal nutrition from sugar-based foods, just like Buddy the Elf.
Have a great week!