Prairiecowboy asked our opinions on food trends; his daughter had come across a vegan.  I had to look that up to be sure what I was talking about. No animal or dairy products. Sounds like a lot of soy to me. That will keep Nebraska farmers happy, except I suppose most of our soy goes into cattle feed. Probably all of it. 

In the beginning of time, according to the Jean Auel books, people ate meat and vegetables. Meat came in a pretty big package; you went hunting and frequently brought home enough for several meals. You preserved it so you wouldn’t have to go “shopping” as often. Vegetable items came in smaller packages, and you had to roam the prairie for hours to gather enough to provide a meal. I look at what grows naturally around here, and friends it isn’t much. I have eaten most of it; yucca blooms and stems, rose hips, chokecherries, a few roots, not much in the vegetable department. Somewhere along the line people started staying home so they could cultivate crops and cut down on their vegetable shopping time, then they domesticated animals for the same reason.

Our bodies have a predator design, eyes in the front of the face and nice sharp teeth. Deer, rabbits and buffalo have eyes in the sides of their heads so they can watch for predators. Cows don’t even have top teeth. That is the design of a plant eater.

My step-daughter is a vegetarian. Like Phoebe from Friends, if it has a face she won’t eat it. Janine is 20 and was slightly overweight in a family of rake handles as she grew up. She would not have been very noticeable in a family of normally-sized kids. Somewhere in high school she quit eating meat and lost those extra pounds. She is now the picture of health and beauty, but she still doesn’t eat meat.  Part of this decision might be just being young and wanting to have a “thing” like when my step-son wore only white Tshirts for two years straight. Part of it might be conscience, or maybe she believes that is why she lost the weight. I don’t think vascular health has anything to do with her decision. She doesn’t talk about it much, but she did say once that she didn’t think she would be a vegetarian for the rest of her life. Her boyfriend of four years isn’t. She said he tried and lasted for part of a week. We respect her decision and explain it to our kids neutrally. We don’t tease her; we just try to provide her with food she is comfortable eating and go on.

Personally, I am too lazy to be a vegetarian. It takes too much time to plan meals around no meat. I have about a cow and a half in our freezer right now. When Janine comes over I have some Chinese thing, with part of it cooked separately, and some macaroni or spaghetti thing, refried beans then I run out of ideas. I did buy a container of vegetable bouillon for use with my Chinese stuff. I want to include her without alienating my husband over the weekend. I try to have lots of left-over vegetables in the fridge for meal supplements, but I am not very good at coming up with meals. She does eat a balanced diet, not just pasta like some “vegetarians” I know.

I know of one vegan family. I can’t imagine trying to cook for them except in August when we live on tomatoes and zucchini from the garden. But how do you prepare food without using milk and eggs or cheese, God forbid I give up cheese! 

We are fortunate that nobody in our family has allergies or other food sensitivities, and my husband has confined his pickiness to avocados, croutons and eggplant, which are all pretty easy to avoid or pick out.

Admittedly I am naive on the subject of veganism, but it doesn’t seem smart to put all of your protein “eggs” in the soy basket. Remember the potato blight in Ireland? Well, remember reading about it? Crops fail, weather patterns change, resulting in food shortages and price fluctuations. Haven’t you heard news reports of freak freezes in Florida ruining the orange crop and juice prices skyrocketing?

I am happy with my decision to be an omnivore, and I respect my daughter’s decision to be a vegetarian, but if she goes vegan she might have to pack a lunch when she visits us.

I feel another blog about agriculture may be just around the corner.

BTW if you have any good vegetarian meals, I would love recipes because I want Janine to keep visiting us, and I am bored with my current repertoire.