I didn't start cooking proper meals until after I got married. (Growing up, I was often responsible for cooking the family dinner, but that doesn't seem to count.) During the year between graduating from college and getting married, I lived alone in an apartment, and I don't remember cooking much of anything other than coffee. Soon after Jon and I married, I bought my first cookbook.
The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook (1986) by Julie Jordan changed my life. Its recipes show a quaint type of vegetarianism with unashamed use of dairy, gluten and grains, and not a single recipe that contains kale. No glossy photographs either, although there are grainy black and white pictures of some of the Cabbagetown Cafe staff (it was a vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca). I decided that from now on, we would be vegetarians. Which we were, for about ten years, and the Cabbagetown lifestyle helped me fit right in with the La Leche League crowd I ran around with back then. Not that I was a stranger to hippie food. My mom wouldn't even let us eat commercial peanut butter because it had too much sugar. Her cooking was strongly influenced by the time she spent as a Fulbright fellow in Ecuador, and a later friendship with a family from India. She grew her own hot chili peppers and put them into many of the things she cooked, along with generous amounts of cumin and other pungent spices. Due to her influence, I rely on cumin and chilies in my own cooking.
For years, I cooked meatless but somewhat heavy meals: vegetable quiches, pasta dishes, bean or tofu burgers, cauliflower or potato curries, cheese pizza, an endless variety of pita sandwiches and stir fries. When we started eating meat again (partly because I became aware of the fact that carbs make you fat) I lost ten pounds and never regained it.
Switching from vegetarianism to meat-eating was a conscious decision, but the more recent changes to our eating style have been more subtle. They are caused by a combination of new trends in nutrition, changing tastes, and my practice of getting many of my recipes from blogs and pinterest. We used to eat pasta two or three times a week. Now we eat it that many times in a month. We used to eat a lot of spinach. Now I rarely buy it, but we eat kale, collards, and Swiss chard instead. Sweet potatoes were something we ate once in a while, now we eat them almost every week, whereas our consumption of white potatoes has dropped. We eat fewer carrots but more radishes, fewer onions, more ginger, fewer grapes, more avocado, less vegetable oil, more coconut oil. Fish sauce and Siracha are staples now. Back in the early '90s, I hadn't even heard of them. I once thought of yogurt as something you sweetened with maple syrup and ate with fruit or granola. Now, I like nothing better than full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with salt, lime juice and cumin, dolloped onto sweet potatoes that have been roasted in olive oil and chili powder. The foods we continue to consume consistently are eggs, cheese, broccoli, dried beans, and garlic, Mexican food and Italian food. (Although now, I'll poach eggs or meatballs in homemade tomato sauce rather than serve it with pasta.) And bread. I know, grains are bad and fat-making, but I will never stop baking.
So that's it. Just a ramble about how our eating habits have evolved. In other kitchen-y news, my pantry project is almost ready for the big reveal! (One of the things I did during this project was shift the Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook down to the cupboard with the infrequently-used cookbooks.) I am just waiting for new cabinet knobs to be delivered.
|Last night we had a quinoa and green lentil curry with coconut milk and baby Kale. |
We still eat vegetarian several nights a week.
Have your eating habits changed in the face of new food fashions and/or the latest nutritional research?