Monday, April 11, 2005

vegan food

With Ewan and Nini still in Bangkok, it was dinner-for-one tonight. Our dede made dal baat with spinach. She leaves the food in three tupperwares next to the stove. Since there's no special lady around, I fried up some garlic, onions, and chilis, and put it all together in our one, sacred, non-stick pan.

Once I finished, I realized that the meal was vegan. For those who don't know, vegan food doesn't contain any animal products. It's like vegetarian food, but with the added caveats of no dairy, honey, gelatin, or elmer's glue. I knew a lot more vegans at school in California than was statistically likely in a given national pool. That's Northern California.

Back in California, I even know of a kid who was fruitarian. Frutarians take it further by only eating food that does not cause the death of the plant. Fruitarians can, for instance, eat peas but not potatoes. They can eat nuts that grow on trees, but not peanuts. I heard the kid was pretty sickly.

Mulling over the chilis after dinner, I realized that a lot of the food I eat here is vegan. A lot of Nepalis eat mostly vegan. A Brahman family I know observe it strictly - and no leather on account of Laxmi. And the thing is, the food is good. When I was at Stanford, I lived for a year in a house that served vegan food at every dinner. That food was usually ass. Good salads though. At the time, one more serving of poorly marinated and baked tofu seemed humanly less doable than retaking that multivariable integration class I got a C+ in. It's not anyone in particular's fault. The house policy was that cooks couldn't order particular food for the meal they were scheduled to prepare. 'This is the way this house has always done things' was the defense for that. Cooking for fifty makes sauteing a two-hour affair of batches - so that's pretty much out. Vegan food doesn't really lend itselt to baking either. So it pretty much ended up being a big wok full of... something.

The point is, some people can't cook toast. And most California budding yuppie doofuses can't cook vegan food. But vegan food can be good - so good, you don't think of it as anything other than 'good food'.


At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Nepali living here in Canada, good daal-bhat-tarkari-achaar is what I miss the most among Nepali foods. Even though I make it here occasionally, its never tastes like back home. By the way, your post with with those plates of daal-bhat made my mouth water so much that I decided to make bhat-tarkari for dinner (daal just takes too long to cook unless you have those pressure cookers like in Nepal!!)
-- mp

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous themoonshake said...

I'm a Nepali, now in Minnesota. I'd have to disagree when you say "A lot of Nepalis eat mostly vegan."
I am pretty sure most Nepalis aren't even vegetarians. It's true that meat isn't usually eaten everyday, but dairy is. Milk and milk products are consumed everyday. Nepali tea is always served with milk. And kids drink warm milk everyday, well at least all the good kids.

At 4:49 AM, Blogger riva said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egads. Look back on that post and cringe yet? Most vegan food is ass? You're making an ass out of yourself right here in your ignorance and narrow-mindedness yet air of false authority.


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