Growing up, I had a very meat-potato-dessert outlook on meals. I honestly have no issues with this. My parents did the best they could, providing food which they felt was most nutritious and tasty. As I neared the end of my undergrad program, I went home with some exciting news. In March of 2008, I told my parents that after much thought, I no longer wished to consume meat. I asserted my vegetarian independence. My dad gave me 2 months; my mom had a little more faith, estimating I’d be back to eating meat in 6 months.
That summer I moved back home, at which time I had already surpassed my dad’s prediction. My parents were nothing less of supportive. They made my Boca burgers along with their beef burgers and my dad even started transferring my food on a separate plate when grilling! When holidays came around, my parents tried bites of Quorn and Tofurky roasts. I even made my parents and their friends a vegan feast (just salad, garlic bread and pasta with Tofurky sausages) during a family trip.
However, this past weekend, my parents really blew me away. They opened their kitchen to my novice skills, and I prepared a fully macrobiotic-vegan meal. Now, I am not macrobiotic, but I have several recipes and I really love the beliefs of that diet. The meal was Winter Udon Noodles with Vegetables (see recipe below).
- 16 oz cooked udon noodles
- 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
- 1 C onions, sliced in thin half-moons
- 1/4 C burdock, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1/2 C carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1/2 C cabbage, shredded
- 1-2 Tbls tamari
- 1/4 C scallions
Place the dark sesame oil in a skillet and heat up. Add the onions and saute for 1-2 min. Add the burdock and saute for 1-2 min. Add the carrots and saute for 1-2 min. Add the cabbage and saute for another minute or so. Reduce the flame to low and place the cooked udon noodles on top of the vegetables. Cover and cook for 5-7 min until the udon noodles are hot. Add the tamari, mix the vegetables and noodles, cover and cook for another 3-4 min. Add the scallions, cover, and cook another minute or so.
I served this with teriyaki tofu and sesame garlic tempeh. My dad is a, “meat at each meal” kind of man. He detested the tofu, however, to my huge surprise, he enjoyed the tempeh! I couldn’t believe it. Tempeh and tofu are hardcore veg additions (I think). The texture is not like most meat; it is very different from the Boca burgers and Tofurky sausages. My mom enjoyed both, very much. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Their main criticism was that the dish did not have enough veggies! I completely agreed. I followed the recipe (sans the burdock and scallions) and I found that it was too much noodle.
I have come a long way since my declaration of vegetarianism in 2008. I have been strict vegetarian while slowly transitioning towards veganism over the past year and a half. It has been great receiving support from mentors, friends, and co-workers. However, at the end of the day, nothing beats support from your parents. Thanks mom and dad.