Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Honorifics and Other Mistakes

I am the Worst Vegan in the World.

I have been trying, I honestly have, since the previous wildcard weekend, where I said I would give a try at veganism; Bought the cookbook Vegan Planet, googled the Wiki article (Every title I give myself now has come from a Wiki article), and bought things like nutritional yeast, even though when I sprinkled it on my mashed potatoes it looked so strikingly similar to fish food that I had the urge to stare at the same point on the wall for several hours or as I like to call it - work.

But my efforts have been undermined at damn near every turn. One morning, determined to eschew coffee for health reasons (I promised my doctor I would stop. Also, when you break a promise to a doctor you can actually hear it break.) I made myself a mug of tea in a fashion I was accustomed to by long habit - instead of milk and sugar I just added condensed milk. Doye. If you read that again very carefully you'll see where I slipped up. Of course this realization didn't occur until late that afternoon because that's how fast I am. (At least I was just fast enough to avoid wandering into a vegan restaurant with my beloved leather jacket on - I still wear it (8 years old!) but again, WVE.)
Wish I had left the hairpiece at home too
I still crave bacon and steak, still have to remind myself that no, gelatin is not vegan, so the gummy soothers are off limits, but I doubt that will ever change. The best I can hope is that it will get easier. 

It has become a little easier since my fiance moved off for his summer job (finally a perk to opening all my own jars) - being the only one at home I can fill the fridge with vegan stuff, then troll my shelves to my heart's content, but I have had mixed success in cooking, which composes a large amount of vegan eating. My first attempt at making fake meat - called seitan or "wheat meat" was an unmitigated disaster. First, I combined wheat flour and water, managing to knead it into a reasonable dough, a feat I can not usually master, so it was with renewed vigor and a sense of accomplishment that I approached the next step - rinsing the starch out of the dough. I had to submerge it in water, then knead it.

"Hang on." thought my mistrusting brain, "How is this going to work? Didn't I just add water to make it doughy? What happens if I add more?"

But my tummy overruled the brain, and so with a hearty cheer, I pressed on, delicately submerging the loaf and kneading it until the water ran milky, rinsing, replacing, kneading, rinsing, repla - what the...?
My dough had, predictably, began to take on water faster than a Shallotian vessel, and was reduced to a paste that any second grade paper-mache student would be proud of. Nevertheless, I desperately kneaded the slop for a good few minutes like a committed masseuse attempting to revive a piece of boneless chicken. (Am I allowed to make non-vegan analogies?) sure that I just needed to have faith. The monstrous mess is covered by a towel in my fridge, just in case I come home craving whole wheat bouillabaisse. For my second attempt I have debated buying starch-free wheat flour, thus eliminating the rinsing step, which is sort of like buying cheese sauce to make kraft dinner - can you still say you're cooking anything? - but would result in me having the finished product. My other recipes have had better success.

Vegan Butter Chicken
1 can chickpeas
1 small onion
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 c. coconut milk

Fry the onions in the 'butter', add the tomato sauce, milk, chickpeas and cook for twenty minutes. Throw the remainder of the coconut milk in with the rice, then cook. Combine and consume. Fantastic. I don't think it is hyperbole to say I am the best cook ever, but definitely the Worst Vegan Ever.

No comments: