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Everything posted by indiagirl

  1. Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was fun and I got a tattoo. I like it. I'm going to figure out if I can make it avatar. So my take on the lamb thing. When I began my journey to the dark side, as a vegetarian starting I noticed that I immediately characterized things into chewy (bad) or not chewy (good). The bad and good are, of course, over simplifications but essentially the chewy is a very very new texture not really available in the vegetarian world and the not chewy, flaky may be a better description has many more relatives on this side. Chicken is the best example for one with the limited knowledge I have. The white part is flaky - the other, red part is chewy/meaty. Lamb, very surprisingly, has fallen into the flaky category all the times I have eaten it - or perhaps the texture is more a function of how it is cooked and as was pointed out earlier in this thread, all the lamb I ate was probably braised. Beef on the other hand I found closer to the chewy side. I guess this also sort of illustrates that thing I was mentioning in my diary post - right now this is what I focus on when I eat. I'm curious to begin the part of the trip where I am used to that part and can start tasting how things work as a whole. But I do have another question that cabrales' post set off: To quote: "here, the turbot was cooked in a cocotte with poultry jus" :wow: Ack! I don't know what a turbot or cocotte (kind of container?) are? You see, as a vegetarian Iand somebody raised Indian I have had no experience with cooking techniques, utensils, equipment etc that are typically associated with meat dishes, you know, like French food. So I've been looking for a book to teach me - and I found Larousse Gastronomique which seemed like it had what I needed but is in much more of a dictionary form than i would prefer. So any other suggestions? Or is this too much of a digression? Or maybe has already been discussed. I'll check and see.
  2. Cabrales, thanks for asking. I have indeed tried to maintain a diary of sorts for this journey I am undertaking. Here it is (with how much I partook) February 2002 *Toulouse Cassoulet Chef Gun's version of the famous dish blends lamb, pork loin, duck, and sausage, on a bed of white beans, a hint of tomatoes, and dusted with bread crumbs (two bites, Kerrytown Bistro) *Sea Bass de la Nouvelle Année Chef Gun's recipe from New Year's Eve. The filet is lightly sauteed, then sprinkled with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and baked. The crispness contrasts with a sauce of lemon, white wine, and cream. Served with rice and vegetables (three bites, Kerrytown Bistro) *Jarret d'agneau à la Matignon Lamb shanks roasted slowly with potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in a Burgundy sauce. Served with braised red cabbage (two bites, Kerrytown Bistro) March 2002 Ronnies Lamb Stew (a little bowl - loved it, don't have a recipe yet) Bleu Cheese Encrusted Beef Tenderloin With Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Vegetables And Brandy Scented Essence (s single bite, Majestic Cafe) April 2002 Cosi Pizza Tandoori Chicken, Caramelized onions and asiago cheese (one whole piece, Cosi Cafe, I think this is the same as Cosi Xando in NYC) So that's my trip so far. Not stunning but little baby steps like you said, Cabrales. How did it feel? Better than I had expected. Technically, absolutely no digestive type issues. As a food person, an eGullet person? I have a long long way to go. And let me see if I can tell you why. The lamb, one bite and I liked the flavor. Aaah I thought to myself this is not meaty, not "fleshy" for want of a better word. Only slight reservations. Loved the fish. Soft. Melt in your mouth, flaky like no pastry I have ever tasted, not fleshy. Absolutely wholeheartedly loved Ronnie's lamb stew. The lamb tasted like it was made of butter but just had a texture very very different from typical butter. I went back for seconds. Beef tenderloin was also interesting, I did not experience an immediate liking but there was no instant disgust (and this is the taboo Hindu meat too, so much for years of social conditioning) but I can't remember any more why I did not love it or how it tasted different from the lamb. And then it hit me, thinking of the beef tenderloin - I'm tasting all of these with a pure "Can I deal with it?" sensibility - the cook in me, the ingredient seeker, is dormant. My senses are all geared to searching for the life, the flesh in what I am eating and whether I can bear it, whether my palate can bear it, and whether my spirit can bear it. And as a regular and inspired cook, I found that frustrating - I was unable to recall a single flavor in that stew of Ronnie's that I enjoyed so much, besides the lamb, of course. How funny. How dissapointing. How natural. So now I'm telling myself to be more patient and try to take the developments of my palate in my stride. I'll wait until I can taste the flavor andthe new ingredient (!) And that was the state of mind that I tasted the tandoori chicken pizza and guess what - I like chicken, but the tandoor flavors were totally mediocre. So here I am. Still totally commiktted to the trip. If everyone is interested I'll post more as I progress. Or I'll move this to a bio thread or something. Lemme know. Do advise/comment. But there's no need to say that. PS - If March seemed like a slow month in my tastings it was because I was in India trying to investigate my vegetarian heritage and origins. My vegetarian spirituality. Okay, I'm kidding - I was there for my brother's wedding and that was certainly a vegetarian affair. Missed eGullet while I was gone. (I'm just feeling inspired by an eGullet love post I was reading before I got here, only because it's all true. Sniff)
  3. indiagirl

    Dinner! 2002

    Well, okay, I did groceries today so the kitchen is truly well stocked with fresh veggies. Absolutely no idea what I am going to make for dinner yet but I've got plenty of inspiration here. I do want to add a further dimension to the thread - as we discuss the meals we cook, could we talk about a little about the time it took to cook the food and perhaps a little bit about our inspiration/constraints - flesh things out, give the images in my head some dimension
  4. First, my profound gratitude to everyone. An incredibly thought provoking discussion and one that will hugely inform my decision on whether to become an omnivore (yes, as I was so correctly corrected, I have no intention of becoming a carnivore in Merriam-Webster's eyes!) And thank you for your post, Jinmyo. That was beautiful, profound, informative and well-reasoned - a rare combination anywhere. Food has evoked all of those emotions in me and your post should be an anthem for people who love food. (And so what if you like Marmite, we just won't tell anyone!) I do realize, more so having read all the posts, that there is a moral and spiritual responsibility associated with the decision I will make - and for all those that care, I assure you, I do not take those aspects of the decision lightly. And if sheer quantity were any sort of moral absolution, I am certain I shall never register in the meat eating world as a consumer of any significance. Whether quantity can provide moral absolution, of course, is a whole different thread, And yes, Tony, a simple solution would be to just try it. It is after all my choice in the end and mine alone. Indeed. And although my need to ask the questions I asked has been justified more eloquently by Macrosan than I could have ever done myself, here is another perspective - a vegetarian one, if you will. Learning how to eat flesh will be a gradual and painstaking process for someone like me. An acquired taste. I love tofu and mushrooms but I hated them when I first tasted them. It was a strange experience eating them for the first time - one that I would conjecture vegetarians experience more often than others. Putting something in your mouth whose taste is attractive and intriguing but whose texture you can barely abide. So, learning to eat meat (more so red meat than white meat. See? I am not a complete virgin in these matters (to borrow what was not a metaphor earlier) I have been overwhelemed by curiosity and tasted these things) will be a slow, painstaking process and what I was looking for (and have recieved in full measure) was whether it is a journey I should embark on. Because I think this is going to be one of those rare times when the end will be what matters, not the journey. (Ellen, I think you referred to the texture issue in your post and as I was reading it I marvelled and hoped I will be able to demonstrate a similar fortitude. I was glad to know it did not make you sick in any way to thus radically transform your diet) So here I am. At this point, I feel like I will start walking down that road, perhaps with crustaceans as someone suggested. I suspect it will be a long journey, with smelly crabs and lobsters as my only company, and pehaps I will have changed my mind in the morning but tonight I am ready! One thing I am certain about, eGullet has me hooked. I'll share my experiences with you and if you don't hear another post from me about my transforming into an omnivore, be sure to remind me that I'm being chicken. Okay, okay, did I break any rules? One lousy pun and one set of nested parentheses? Oh and BTW, I am indeed Indian. Lived there for the first 21 years of my life and now live on the other side of the world, across two ponds, both teeming with crustacean life, I hear.
  5. Quote: from Fat Guy on 7:13 pm on Feb. 3, 2002 Indiagirl, what do you mean when you say you're a vegetarian? What are your exact dietary restrictions? I do not eat anything that used to be alive, perhaps be alive and locomote would be a better differentiation. So, dairy products are fine. Growing up, my mother taught us to eat eggs because she did not want us to be protein deficient (although she had a special egg frying pan that nothing else was cooked in). Quote: from Fat Guy on 7:13 pm on Feb. 3, 2002 Why were you raised vegetarian, and do you believe in the reasons you were raised thus? I was raised vegetarian because my parents are Hindus, so for religious reasons. It is a means of respecting the sanctity of life. Where do I stand? I do not believe in God/Religion. I do believe in the sanctity of life. I am ambivalent about whether being a vegetarian actually furthers the sanctity of life in any way. However, this is a discussion I have never had to have with myself in the past because I've never considered not being a vegetarian. Quote: from Fat Guy on 7:13 pm on Feb. 3, 2002 What is prompting this inquiry at this time? Are you healthy? Do you feel fulfilled by what you eat? Why am I thinking about becoming a carnivore? BTW, as an aside, I do not even know if I could become one. I'm quite aware that there is a huge huge step to be taken between thinking of eating something and eating it. So, to continue ..... Yes, I am healthy, and yes, I am fulfilled by the foods I cook and eat. Also as an aside, I am more of a cook than an eater. And, I LOVE to cook and experiment. I started thinking about being a carnivore because of a series of little events - at a recent joint dinner with a friend of mine where he made pork vindaloo and I made paneer do piaza, I watched his browned onions take on an entirely different character when the pork was added to them and I suddenly felt left out of that opportunity. Also I was in Paris and Barcelona last year and will be in Portugal soon and feel like I cannot completely experience these places if I cannot eat their food (although I did find a stunningly good vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona). Experiences like that have made me start asking myself, is this rational? And what am I missing? Is it like only watching B&W movies? And so, here I am. And, now?
  6. Stephen, I really enjoyed reading that. I'm starting to get all kind of weird ideas about what to put into the drunken noodles (that has to be another discussion thread some day) I'm making for dinner tonight and I'm nowhere close to being a carnivore (yet!) Ellen, as a congenital (!) vegetarian I have never thought of the excellent point you raised. Availability of the good stuff! Ingredient quality is so so critical. Yes. If I ever decide to and find myself physically capable of being a carnivore, that is a whole aspect I will have to learn. Tony, to answer your question, I am vegetarian because I was raised that way and I can certainly see enough good things associated with being vegetarian that obviate just making the switch without various considerations .... but I don't know what I am missing .... hence the quandary ... hence my post .... The other thing I was thinking of was complexity. I think the effort and rules associated with rendering animal flesh palatable are significantly more complicated than those associated with fruits and vegetables. And while this complexity allows for more variations in the cooking process (variations on each step) it may also limit the spontaneity of the process? Does it?
  7. Andy, our posts appear to have crossed in the ether. Makes life worth getting out of bed - ah, those are the opinions I am looking for.Absolute. Meaty. Heh heh. It just doesn't sound as good to say - ah, a good fresh head of broccoli, that's what makes me get out of bed every morning! :)
  8. Thanks for the viewpoints all. But if I could further direct the discussion a little. I did not express myself clearly. On a personal/spiritual level I'm fairly clear about where I stand, what I want and whether I see any moral/health benefits to being vegetarian. It is the food aspect of the issue - from a cooks and consumers point of view that I want illumination on .... and what better forum to come to than a group of food lovers? Stephen, I think, started addressing some of what I wanted to discuss with his allusion to my limited pallette of colors. And that I have only myself to answer to. Absolutely. Completely agree - I do not seek absolution for past or future decisions regarding my dietary choices. What I really want to know is how many colors am I missing on my palette. Is it limited to black and white? Shades of gray? How vibrant are my colors? Somebody else's post mentioned that I have 99% of the food world at my disposal but I miss the best 1%. Does everyone agree with that split?
  9. I was raised vegetarian, although we (my siblings and I) were never forced to be vegetarian. My siblings are not, I am. I suppose it just didn't take. Now, as I get more and more interested in cooking, I feel limited by being a vegetarian. However, I can only conjecture about the limitations. There are probably obvious limitations associated with ingredients and cooking techniques (can't quite marinate and slowly cook zucchini for three days like you could lamb!) but what else am I missing? Recently, I was agonizing over a tomato curry spiced with cumin, ajwain and ginger and thought, as I was sniffing it to decide what to add next - ah! a piece of pork would be perfect and then I wondered where did that thought even came from? And that led to a bunch of other questions .... So here's two: 1. Is this true? Is this just a half life? Or am I just losing my mind? 2. Has anyone ever gone from being a vegetarian to a non-vegetarian? How did you start?
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