Thursday, April 17, 2008

Living in Fear of Vegans

One of the unexpected side effects of our move to the Middle of Nowhere was the expansion of my role as the Lovely Assistant for Peter Cox Photography. Up until the move, being the Lovely Assistant was a seasonal gig, limited chiefly to art and craft fairs. A couple of weekends a year plus the month of December.

The move gave Peter the opportunity to offer workshops. Being the Lovely Assistant morphed into a second job with diverse responsibilities and deliverables. I answer the phone, book workshops, and do other general office duties. I'm also the chef, responsible for making dinner for workshoppers.

After I got over my fear of cross-contamination and spreading food-bourne illness to the students, I found that I enjoyed the cooking. It's easier on the weekends and sometimes, when I have extra time and motivation, I even bake muffins or some sort of dessert.

When we take a workshop booking, we always make sure to ask if the person has any dietary issues or restrictions. One time, Peter forgot to ask and it turned out that the guy was a vegetarian. Luckily, the subject came up at breakfast and it was shopping day, so I was able to make a nice pasta dish.

I've been fortunate so far that the students have been very un-fussy. Most people quite cheerfully claim they will eat whatever is put in front of them, and they do. A few students have had minor allergies or food aversions, but it has all be very easy to accommodate them.

I was thrown into a bit of a tizzy when we had a celiac sign up for a workshop. We got through it fine, by relying on simple and plain foods. It's amazing how wheat gluten can turn up in the most unlikely places, such as ketchup or ice cream. Having had the experience, I'm now confident of being able to prepare dinner for a celiac.

All that's left is vegans. I live in fear of the day that a vegan books a workshop. Vegans are a big mystery to me. I love cheese and cannot imagine a life without it. Peter jokes that if ever do get a vegan, we can send them outside to eat grass. Somehow, I don't think that's really going to fly with a paying customer.

I'm probably worrying for nothing. I imagine it's rare enough in Ireland, as vegetarianism has only really become socially acceptable in the last ten years. Still, I feel like I should prepare for the possibility. Do a few drills. Learn a few vegan recipes.

Anyone have a favourite vegan recipe to share?


At 17 April 2008 at 19:41, Blogger Kaycie said...

I grew up on a farm, complete with cattle and pigs. I have a freezer full of beef, pork, and chicken.

I am no help whatsoever. If a vegan ever comes to my house to dine, it will be an interesting meal.

At 17 April 2008 at 23:08, Blogger Col said...

Here's a good one for veg chili (skip the sour cream, or use soy sour cream if you can find it).

With Nate being allergic to dairy and eggs, we eat vegan food. Lots of soy! I think if you really have a vegan book a workshop, you could ask them to suggest some recipes.

At 17 April 2008 at 23:59, Blogger Babaloo said...

I'd have no clue what to cook for a vegan. Hm, a nice big salad? That's just a variation on Peter's suggestion, I realise that. ;-)

At 18 April 2008 at 01:01, Blogger mrmarcus said...

Funny you should make this post today. Just yesterday I published's Top 10 Recipes of 2008. Give it a look. I bet most of these recipes would make even the most devoted omnivore drool.

At 18 April 2008 at 01:14, Blogger laurie said...

one of my nephews is a vegan. he became one when he was 15 or 16, at that age when you still don't like vegetables. he lived for years on bean burritos from taco bell. i realize there's no taco bell in the middle of nowhere, but burritos are pretty easy to make--beans, rice, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, all folded up in a big flour tortilla. and you could put cheese on yours and peter's.

pasta with tomato sauce would also be good.

there are wonderful stews you can make in the crockpot, simmering all day--vegetables and vegetable broth and chickpeas and tomatoes.

but i'm with you. i don't get it. life without cheese just isn't worth living.

At 18 April 2008 at 16:02, Blogger Bitter Sweet Chocolate Irene said...

I'm a vegetarian, but I do eat things like cheese and milk and butter and yogurt, so I can't help you much. I know they make a lot of interesting products with soy as a basis now.

At 20 April 2008 at 00:19, Blogger Career Guy said...

But don't vegans have pointed teeth and sleep all day in coffins, and...oh. wait...

At 21 April 2008 at 08:10, Blogger -Ann said...

Kaycie - Well, if a vegan ever comes to dinner at your house, you can just borrow one of these great recipes.

Col - Thanks! I'd be surprised if I could find soy sour cream here. I once asked for if a store had egg-substitute and they looked at me like I had 3 heads.

Babaloo - I always serve a salad. I think those bagged salads are one of the best inventions ever.

Mr. Marcus - How fortuitous that you stopped by. I can't wait to make Root Beer Float cupcakes. (Although Root Beer might be tricky to find - as soon as do, I know what I'm going to do with it!)

Laurie - Thanks for the ideas. And for inadvertently making me crave Chipotle.

BSCI - I didn't know you were a vegetarian. (But then, I don't know why I would know.)

Dad - You're SO silly!

At 21 April 2008 at 20:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a vegan is really hard. Especially since cheese happens to be so yummy-yummy-yummy in your tummy-tummy-tummy.

Here are some great vegan recipe blogs -- you're bound to see something that looks interesting and fun:
Veggie Girl also has a GREAT list of other vegan blogs.

There's always tasty things here:

- Shane


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