(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)
I have a huge, ugly confession to make. Let me explain.
Tonight I decided to give my family a break and feed them a regular dinner but I’m proud to say the veggie did have some thought put into it. However, don’t hate me – it was collards cooked the way my mom used to make them – with fat back. Ok that’s not the ugly confession. It’s coming.
While I was cooking I decided to try the Krispy Kale as a bit of a snack to munch on. One of my co workers had just talked about how amazing kale is when done this way. So why not try it. I had some kale left over for the turtle so I got it out, stemmed it and cut it up. The recipe was effortless and it was done (or possibly overdone, not sure) in 12 minutes. Now my confession.
I absolutely and without a doubt ….hate kale. I’m sorry but I have really tried! I have tried it three times now and have done the same thing each time: spit it out. I’m sorry but there are no nice words to describe that. I guess a little self discovery is also part of this journey. So my new truth is… I hate kale.
My dog, on the other hand, was horrified that I was “reverse eating” it. So I gave her some. She had no problem with it. About that time my son came home and I had him try it. Heck, he had eaten two helpings of it on Shrimp and Grits night. He will like it. His reaction was similar to mine except that now he was determined to do something about it. He admittedly loved kale and now he was out to prove it.
So he opened up the spice cabinet and starting pouring things on it. I watched while he tried it again…and again. He now said it was good but that I just hadn’t put enough flavor on it. So my dog and my son enjoyed the Krispy Kale while I learned a bit about myself today, but I promise not to avoid cooking kale in this challenge. After all I am doing this for the health of my family right? So they can eat it!
~Kim Howard Hastings
February 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm
I’ve discovered something about vegan cooking and eating: your palate changes over time. If your palate is accustomed to meat and dairy, cream, butter, and eggs, if you compare that to their animal product counterparts, you may find yourself disappointed. However, if you jump in and commit to it, oh say, for about 30 days, your palate will change. Those new foods will give you the same satisfaction and enjoyment as their animal counterparts. And, more importantly, you will expand your tastes and try brand new natural foods and food combinations completely different from what you’ve eaten before. That doesn’t have to mean you’ll suddenly start liking kale, there’s no need to. Greens are so nutritious, you may want to use a milder green such as Swiss chard or spinach in those recipes.
If you “try vegan” for 30 days, maybe not bring your whole family along yet until you’re feeling more confident and comfortable. They are less likely to be resistant if you’re enthusiastic.
Although I’d recommend jumping in and committing to it for 30 days, if you’re not ready to do that now, maybe try giving up classes of foods. For example, if you give up chicken’s eggs, that will have a LOT of impact on animals (look up battery cages and you’ll see what I mean). Betsy can guide you through baking without eggs, and I know you’ll never miss them. Just try the brownie in a mug, trust me. You can focus on the baking section of the book. Next maybe commit to a period of time of cooking without cheese or milk, and let your palate adjust.
One last suggestion, I know you’re doing this for health reasons, but ask Betsy to take you with her to a farm animal sanctuary and meet some cows and chickens, and you’ll get some more inspiration for making your diet animal free. Or watch “Forks Over Knives” for some health inspiration, or Cowspiracy if you’re an environmentalist.
Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you, maybe some of the new blog posts can feature Betsy helping you with this task. It’s not all about recipes, it’s about learning a new lifestyle and habits and finding inspiration. And try some Swiss chard!!!!
February 19, 2016 at 6:30 am
What an affirming, idea- and information-filled comment, Anne. Practically an essay, and one to be shared broadly. Thank you so much for taking so much time to be so clear and so inpirational. I bow in your direction. I find that, as you suggest, I appreciate the flavors of vegan foods for themselves in most cases. In others, I want them to taste like their non-vegan counterparts and, as you almost always suggest, there is virtually always a way. In fact, just last night I made yet another attemtp to perfect what I thought was my perfected recipe for (natural) Vegan Cola Cake. And this version is a truly brilliant “copy” of the “real” thing. I’ll share soon. Best to you, Anne, and thanks again for philosophical and practical insights.