A friend emailed last night asking for some advice about vegetarian recipes. She asked me because GG has been vegetarian all his life, and Curly decided to forego meat last year. When GG and I got married I bought a couple of vegetarian books. Now this was in the 70s, so times and knowledge have definitely changed. Back then I bought Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, and my favorite, Laurel’s Kitchen. (I see they updated it in 1986.) Of course, in the past 30+ years, a lot more has been learned about vegetarianism, and new recipes have come out as well. Most foods such as nuts are incomplete proteins, in other words they provide certain amino acids but not all, so you have to do a bit of a juggling act to replace the nutrients meat would have provided. For instance, (if I remember correctly) peanut butter sandwich using natural peanut butter, whole wheat bread along with a glass of milk can be almost the same nutritionally as a steak. It’s all in the bonding of the amino acids each item provides. We recently discovered quinoa which is a complete protein — so you can eat it and it’ll give you the proteins you need in a meatless diet.
It’s also a bit of a juggling act around here–besides GG’s and Curly’s vegetarianism, we also have to remember that GG and Guitar Hero are lactose intolerant–so they can’t have milk or cheese products, and just to make things really interesting, we have to consider GG’s diabetes and my Hashimoto’s Disease (thyroid disease) which means I need to stay away from any soya products. So our food choices when meal planning are…challenging. Challenges that I doubt my friend is having to worry about in her search for meatless choices.
Anyway, back to her email — I do have a half dozen cookbooks around but currently they’re in Curly’s bedroom. (When he decided to become vegetarian, I handed them to him and told him he’d need to read them and use them for his own self-preservation.) You see, asking me about recipes is … well, I’ve often not-so-jokingly mentioned here and on Twitter that I judge when dinner’s done by when the smoke alarm goes off so around here, my kitchen philosophy is “make it yourself or starve.” (I really should amend the MIYoS motto to “and then clean up when you’re done” because at the end of the day once four people have finished making their own meals, my kitchen looks like a bomb’s gone off.)
So I thought I’d throw it out to you — got any favorite meatless recipes or recipe books that you can recommend?