My Mother hated to cook when I was growing up. In fact, she has developed a liking for it. Holidays will find a grouchy Grandma in the kitchen, burning the rolls and setting off the fire alarms.
No, my passion for cooking definitely stems from places outside my childhood home. I became a vegetarian at 16 after reading an article in Maximum Rock and Roll about animal rights. For a long while, I depended too much on cheese subs and the like to fill my belly. After college I found myself happily engaged and working in Manhattan. With a myriad of restaurant choices, I quickly began to appreciate just how fabulous a vegetarian and “even” a vegan diet could be. From the overflowing salad bars of Living Springs to the boxed Bento lunches from Zen Palate and even the vegan meatball subs from the local deli, I never wanted for a healthy, delicious meal. I had the opportunity to eat in some of the most innovative and interesting restaurants where I was served the most beautifully presented meals. All of this would help form my cooking aesthetic and made going vegan that much easier.
Working in New York and living in New Jersey afforded me little time to cook, however. I had, over the years, accumulated a nice little library of vegetarian cookbooks and soon I would be able to put them into regular use. Fast-forward eight years and I am a stay at home Mom with two little boys (both staunch vegetarians). While nursing, I spend a lot of time watching Martha Stewart, Next Door with Katie Brown and gardening shows. These perspectives further enhance my culinary point of view and, along with my cookbooks, open up a new world of food.
The kitchen becomes my favorite room in the house. I am all about feeding my children nutritious, wholesome meals that are visually appealing. I subscribe to the theory that children sometimes need to see a new food item around fifteen times before accepting it into their repertoire. For that, I am rewarded with kids who actually ask for flax seed to be added to their smoothies.
Somewhere during the first year of marriage, I lost my vegan way and starting consuming dairy again. Recently, with both my boys in school full day, I have returned to my cookbooks with a vengeance (wink) and have become determined to make veganism stick this time. I’m already on my way, having made Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s pumpkin muffins a household name in my little corner of the universe. I’m working on my meal planning and veganizing some of our vegetarian family favorites, as well as, hopefully, creating some new ones of my own. Wish me luck!
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