Feb. 16, 2011
A little history about me: I didn't care for meat as a child. I much preferred vegetables (raw, not cooked) and fruit, so it wasn't really a surprise to my mother when I decided to be a vegetarian. At age 7.
Although I eventually caved to peer pressure (and familiar pressure) and went back to eating meat for a few years, my decision to once again return to vegetarianism, and then veganism, was not the least bit surprising to my mother.
Since we lived in different states, it didn't really matter because it wasn't something either of us had to address on a daily basis.... but then my mom decided to come pay me a visit and I wondered how this would go. How was I going to feed my Italian mother who was raised on spaghetti and meatballs tofu sour cream?
By the way, if you ask her, my mother will tell you she panicked the entire car drive to my apartment, worried what she would do if the food was awful. My mother isn't the kind of person that can force food down against her will. If it grosses her out, she gags -- there is no "grin and bare" it with my mom. She knew this about herself, of course, which only made her MORE nervous. What if she gagged on my vegan food?
Thank the mighty tofu Mama Shay loved my food. She even said "Now I have to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect but this is really quite good."
This was four years ago.
Ever since then, my mom always looks forward to my cooking -- which really makes me proud. Over the years she and my father have also gone to a number of vegan restaurants with us. In fact, they loved one in LA so much they went back three days in a row!
Anyway, I've been trying to get my mom to make my recipes, particularly the ones I've made for her that she liked, at home for eons, but she was always a little intimidated, mostly because she had to navigate around my website and she prefers the ease of a book.
She kept telling me she'd cook my recipes when the book came out -- and she's really kept to her word. Her and my father keep taking turns preparing dishes out my cookbook and thanks to Oprah's show, they have also adopted Meatless Mondays!
Here are some of the recipes from the cookbook, as prepared by my mom -- and with her commentary:
TVP Tacos (p. 98): "Really authentic tasting. Reminded me of tacos I had South of the Border. They were ridiculously simple to make -- we made the "meat" in five minutes. The longest part was chopping the tomatoes! So quick for us."
Southwestern Pasta Salad (p. 183): "Ugh, it was amazing. A wonderful lunch side dish. We ate it for lunch for two days because it made a nice bowls worth. It was refreshing. The spice was "it" -- it made the dish. Very refreshing--did I say that already?"
Ghandi Bowl (p. 124): "I only had Indian food once before, and did not care for it, but this was soo good. I couldn't believe what the curry added to this dish. I also liked this recipe because you can use any greens you have. I like spinach. I just loved the curry flavoring, and I'm not one for those flavors usually. I also don't usually use a lot of spices in my cooking, but really enjoyed seeing how they all came together to make something so flavorful."
Black Bean Brownies (p. 209): "Well you know me, I love anything with chocolate. They were surprisingly rich, moist, full of chocolate flavor. I want to make more desserts in your cookbook. Your father wants me to make the carrot cake cupcakes because you always brag about them."
My mom also found this cute little elephant and attached a handmade leaf to his nose so he'd look like HH's logo. How adorable, right?
I am so proud of my parents for incorporating more vegan meals into their diet and adopting Meatless Mondays -- and hopefully with a little love, encouragement and self-discovery, they will find their way into a plant-based diet full-time!