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What are vegetarians missing?


indiagirl
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It's interesting that both Malawry and indiagirl appreciated lamb dishes as part of their foray into meat-land. I would have thought that lamb might have been a bit more "aggressive" and strongly-flavored than meats like chicken or pork.

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In the U.S. though, lamb was regarded as more exotic than in most parts of the world. Sunday roast would rarely have been a lamb joint. Let alone mutton.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Probably still uncommon for most people. Or at least most people's parents. :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Sure. As for me, Sunday roast was always a joint of lamb.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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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.

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La Techniqueby Jacques Pepin and a second volume by him, the title of which I cannot remember at the moment, are illustrated by black and white photographs showing every step of a particular technique, as applied to a wide variety of foods, meats included.

The Cook's Catalogue has hundreds of photos of pots, pans, cocottes, casseroles, knives, baking dishes and much, much more.

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I got a tattoo. I like it. I'm going to figure out if

I can make it avatar. . . .

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?

indiagirl -- It's hard to describe the taste of the fish, turbot, but below is some background. I started becoming interested in turbot a while ago, reading Brillat-Savarin's The Physiology of Taste, in which the turbot is (if memory serves me) praised considerably.

http://www.gortons.com/cookbook/gl_ti_tu.html

(contains a picture; "'True' turbot are harvested in European waters from the Mediterranean and North Seas to Iceland and Normandy; related fish inhabit marine waters worldwide. . . . This large flatfish can weigh up to 30 lbs. (most range from 3 to 10 lbs.). It is sand-colored and scaleless, with bony tubercles speckling the skin, which is usually removed before the fish is eaten. . . .The white flesh of the European turbot is prized for its lovely, delicate flavor. It is firm in texture . . . ")

http://www.patriciawells.com/glossary/atoz/t.htm

("Turbot(in): turbot (small turbot), Prized flatfish found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.")

On cocotte, it is indeed a cooking receptacle.

http://www.patriciawells.com/glossary/atoz/c.htm

("Cocotte: a high-sided cooking pot (casserole) with a lid; a small ramekin dish for baking and serving eggs and other preparations.")

As I cannot cook, other members would be better positioned to further discuss the range of cocottes available.  :wink:

If you are comfortable discussing it, your tattoo, since you are thinking about utilizing it as an Avatar -- I assume the tattoo is not based on a cooking theme?  :wink:

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Indiagirl--just realize the door you're opening--to try to understand Western cooking techniques, history and equipment--is very wide and the hallway deep.  It takes working chefs a long time to feel competent in their understanding of all this--and sometimes it is easier to read and assimilate this--and sometimes the only way to understand this is to do it, to question (as you have) to cook and to experiment yourself.

It can be like learning a foreign language--yes you can listen to tapes and do the exercises and "read" the written words but then there is total immersion, being dropped into an environment where you are asked to speak the language as well--to think in the language solely.  Right now you're aware of what you focus on when you eat--isolated easily identifiable elements like texture of a larger whole and that you're  "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."  I'd suggest you don't need to know the techniques, the equipment or the process behind dishes--and that that might just distract or divert you from what is a sensory experience. You are already equipped with everything you need to move forward to observe and appreciate flavor, balance, mouthfeel, depth, density, whatever--all are matters of palate awareness and perception.  The whole can be observed both clinically and emotionally and the causes and patterns and techniques can be filled in later after you give yourself over to do alot more eating and experimentation.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Indiagirl--just realize the door you're opening--to try to understand Western cooking techniques, history and equipment--is very wide and the hallway deep.  It takes working chefs a long time to feel competent in their understanding of all this

Steve Klc -- Yes, I have always felt that, by not knowing how to cook, not only am I missing the joys of planning and preparing a meal as an extension of it, but also I am unable, in many instances, to discern its preparation method and the equipment used. (I have been interested in, for example, bain-maries after sampling two dishes made in that fashion at Troisgros). I agree that understanding cooking methods and the reason behind the utilization of particular ingredients, equipment or culinary procedures would markedly bolster my appreciation (incl. intellectual understanding) of cuisine.  :wink:

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I'd suggest you don't need to know the techniques, the equipment or the process behind dishes--and that that might just distract or divert you from what is a sensory experience.

On the other hand, depending on the way you learn, it may be helpful for you to know what a "cocotte", looks like, or what the broad differences are between braising and broiling,, as you taste.  (I couldn't learn to ride a bicycle, for example, until someone expalined the principle of the gyroscope to me.)

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True, cabrales, but I can also make the case that you don't need that background, that awareness, to enjoy and appreciate food at any level--high or low.  My fear is that pursuit potentially diverts you from your greatest skill--your greatest tool--your palate and your ability to taste.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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indiagirl, mange, mange. Then we'll sit down and talk about how to make it. :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I read somewhere that the former editor of The Vegetarian Times went back to eating meat after years of being a vegetarian.

I have been a vegetarian for about 20 years now.  I never liked meat so it was an easy transition for me.  I have no interest in eating meat at all.  Great vegetarian cooking is a challenge that I enjoy.   I think being a vegetarian has made me a more creative cook and has expanded my tastes in many ways.

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mellaf, certainly many people do not know how to get the best from vegetables and just relegate them to third place amongst the protein, starch, and vegetable triumvirate.

And most vegetarians just remove the meat and switch tofu or a meat analogue for the meat component.

But exploring the vast range of flavours, colours, textures, and fragrances of vegetables is wonderful.

I'm glad that you're enjoying it.

And welcome to eGullet.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Actually, indiagirl's chewy/flaky thing has some validity--although my terms, reactions and examples are a bit different.  I see three extremes, not two:

1.) firm - full mouth feel (chewy) but solid

2.) soft, gummy or oily - full mouth feel, but slippery, not solid (many types of fish qualify)

3.) flaky - light mouth feel, but solid

I like #1 and frequently #3, but almost never #2.  Indiagirl sounds like (so far) she likes #3, not #1 and she hasn't said much about #2.

A good example of category 1 to me is a good thick steak.  

A lot of fish falls into category 2 for me--mainly the ones I don't like--although also ones I do (like Salmon).  Some types of game I don't like also fall here, and dark meat chicken borders on it.

Category 3 includes white meat chicken, and some fish.  If the fish gets TOO flaky--in my opinion--it also gets a funny mouth feel.

The rare piece of fish--like Marlin or Swordfish--could fall midway between #1 and #3.  Pork Chops also fall somewhere between #1 and #3.  Lamb, for me, sometimes falls somewhere between #1 and #2, but I still like it.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Congratulations Indiagirl. My best friend took a similar journey and is still enjoying new experiences.

She had come to be categorized as someone who was "vegetarian but eats prawns". As she said to me once," If I ever go to dinner at someones house again and everyone is made to eat prawns because of me I will scream"

Apart from your own desire to experiment did you ever feel pressure from outside? Not from people saying that you should eat meat, but because what you were prepared to eat effected what other people ate too. One of the reasons that vegetarians got such a raw deal in western culture was that they were often eating with an omnivore majority. Obviously this wasnt true within your own family and its culture but what about now?

As most of the meat that you have had has been braised or poultry I assume that it has also been well cooked. Do you realise the complete alterations in meats between rare and well-done? Do you think that you could ever eat a bloody steak?

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