28 August 2008

I brought the money. Did you bring the arugula?

For one week only, I’ve decided to give vegetarianism a whirl.

I’d say a solid 70% of my good friends are vegetarians. Many, recent converts. And yes, I AM doing it because everyone else is doing it. The fact that everyone else is doing it—voluntarily—means there must be some sort of draw. I want to see what all the hype is about.

And to answer your question, if they all jumped off a bridge, yada yada… Well, there must be something cool under the bridge, right?

I'd maybe strap on a parachute, so just in case it’s a let down, I don’t die.

That’s kind of the idea with the one-week timeline. It’s my parachute. In case the vegetables turn against me.

So far (four days), the experience has been pretty surprising. The first day was easy, it was pretty much a normal meat-free day. I've dabbled in one-off meat-free days for years. The second day was when things really started to reveal themselves...

All of the things I thought would be hard really haven’t and vice versa.

The hardest thing so far hasn’t been craving steak, bacon, or turkey sandwiches (which are usually my lunch staple), like I expected. It hasn’t been finding good vegetarian alternatives, either.

The hardest thing has actually been being conscious of what I'm eating. Like tuesday, for example, I didn’t bring my lunch. So I went around the corner to Au Bon Pain and was next in line to order my usual, a thai chicken wrap. Then I realized there is actually chicken in the thai chicken wrap. So I left, cause everything else at Au Bon Pain is garbage.

Then I walked over to the new Whole Foods that just opened in Tribeca (which is gorgeous, by the way) and went for the sushi counter. I picked up a tuna-avocado roll, and then set it back down. Remembering then that I can’t eat fish either. TRICKED AGAIN!

So I went to the salad bar. And you know, there are a lot more meat dishes than you’d expect at the salad bar. I had to stop myself from going for what I normally would have. Then I wondered if I actually do eat a lot more meat than I thought, without ever really thinking about it?

What else do I eat without thinking about it?

Weather or not this stint goes beyond a week, it’s an interesting exercise in thinking about what fuels your body. I’ll definitely stick to the week, but the longest this could possibly last is Thanksgiving. No tofurkey for this girl. I want the real thing.

Tonight I am entertaining my favorite vegetarian couple for dinner and Obama speech-watching. I’ve decided to cook stuffed peppers I have all of the ingredients except the actual peppers. So at lunch today, I walked to the grocery store to load up.

On the way, I came across a street vendor selling peppers.

This is one of the great things about New York. You can pretty much buy anything on the street at any given time. Jerk chicken and/or goat? There’s a Jamaican lunch truck two blocks from me. Delicious roasted nuts? Get off at the nearest subway stop anywhere in Manhattan and follow your nose. Hot Cartier watch? I can’t guarantee it's authenticity or if the battery will last longer than the end of the week--but yeah, you can get those too. Then, wedged in between the $5 cashmere scarf vendor and the designer imposter fragrances vendor is a guy with a wagon full of bananas, raspberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe…and today…orange bell peppers.

Some people are wary of buying fruit on the street. I think maybe you should be more wary of buying hot dogs and/or goat meat on the street. Doubly wary of goat-meat-hot-dogs.

I said to myself "If they've got a ridiculously good deal on peppers, like 3 for $1, I will buy street peppers."

SIX for $1.

I don't know how they grow those peppers, but it probably involves some sort of black magic.

Is black magic considered a certified organic growing process? I don't think you would categorize it as "conventional," at least.

But whatever you do, don’t you dare classify my peppers as elitist.

They are street peppers. Even filled with couscous and baby spinach, I’ll know where they came from.


Sarah said...

Interesting observation... I was a vegetarian without good reason for 6 months or so in high school. I stopped because I was gaining weight and it was too hard to eat out when on the road with the family, etc. (fast foods, family meals, whatever tend to involve meat).

Dining Out Vegetarian:
Candle 79 (one of the best meals I have had in New York and one of the priciest)
Blossom (good, though I wasn't as impressed with it as Candle 79)
Candle Cafe (Since going to the more expensive version, I have wanted to try this one. You weren't interested when we did gyros/Alice's Tea Cup last year.)
Angelica Kitchen (on my to try list as well)

I'm sure there are more. These are just off the top of my head.

C said...

Finding Six for One on the street is the Holy Grail of Orange Bell Peppers. That's an impossible price for the finest of all peppers.

I actually wondered if you were taking artistic license.

lameevan said...

For the record, somewhere in the middle of your post you spelled "whether", "weather".
I'll be there in three weeks.