When I was a cheese-eater, I used to really like veggie melt sandwiches. I haven't really missed them that much, but when we got the Vegan Gourmet cheese I thought it would be fun to make a nice, dairy-free veggie melt. Mushrooms and spinach are a must. Sprouts, if we have them on hand (which we didn't)... and a tomato, when we can get them. We actually had a tomato. Sauté the mushrooms until they are slightly tender, spread one side of the bread with dijon mustard, pile everything on, and grill it on low heat until the cheese melts. Voilà!
As you can see, the VG cheese didn't really melt very much. It's hard to get the sandwich hot enough all the way through on the stove, especially when you're using dense homemade bread. I would have probably transferred it to the toaster oven, but I was afraid it would fall apart. That's okay--tasty lunch. I opted for sweet peas to go with it, just to make sure there were enough veggies in our meal.
Last night Bob knew I had Indian food on my mind, so he took me to Bombay Cafe for dinner. Probably the most vegan-friendly restaurant in Athens, and maybe the tastiest (if you like Indian food, which I am really beginning to appreciate). Bob ordered aloo mutter, which was potatoes and green peas in a curry sauce, and I had bhindi masala--okra cooked with onions, garlic, and lentils and curry spices. It was so very tasty, and definitely the best manifestation of okra I've ever had. It makes me long for summer when okra abounds. When the time comes, I will definitely learn how to cook this dish. I brought home half my meal and had the leftovers for lunch today, and thought to take a picture:
Bhindi masala with some spinach roti on the side. Yum....
That's all for food. On another note, I got this book for Christmas:
Jane Goodall's Harvest for Hope, which came out in 2005. It's so easy to read that I've nearly finished it in just a couple of days. I wish I could recommend it highly to every one of you, but I don't know if I feel that strongly about it--particularly the chapters that address factory farming. I would say that she does a wonderful job of bringing attention to the horrible conditions on factory farms; I actually cried when I read her description of the life and death of a factory-farmed pig, even though I knew the truth already. The problem I have with the book is her solution to the problem.
She is not a vegan, though she says in her book that she would be if she didn't travel for about 10 months out of the year. She seems to look very favorably at buying organic meat and animal products, as if that will be a definite solution to the problem. One quote from the book that bothered me was:
We can now go to just about any grocery store and find products from animals who were raised humanely, safely, and in ways that caused little or no harm to the environment. (p. 99)
I'm sorry; I'm just not that trusting of the industry to buy this completely. Yes, I think that buying organic, free-range, cage-free, grass-fed is better, but the animals that are raised for those products, unless we're talking a very small family farm or something, are still going to be subject to some form of cruelty during their lives--still going to be treated as profit centers rather than living, beautiful creatures--still going to be deprived, in some way, of their natural behaviors. I mean, the USDA, which sets the standards for organic certification, do they really have the best interest of the animals at heart?
Basically, I really wish I could recommend to non-vegans the chapters in this book that expose the practices on factory farms, and not the chapters that outline Goodall's proposed solutions. I think it is too bad that she does such a nice, in-depth job of outlining just how these farming practices hurt the animals, destroy the environment, and pose an enormous risk to human health, and then seems to water down the solution. If I were an omnivore and I read this book, I would probably be shocked and horrified, and then I would read "Buy organic meat and dairy products" and believe that I would really be doing my part to fight back if I did.
All the other topics she addresses--avoiding GMOs and pesticides, buying local, seasonal produce--I think are beautifully handled. There are some stories about farm animals that made my heart melt with affection. Goodall is very insightful and very thorough in her coverage of all the topics related to "mindful eating." So I hesitantly recommend this book. I wish I could recommend it to my non-vegan friends, but I don't know. Thoughts?
Wow, that was a long rant. Thanks for reading it all!