Monday, January 11, 2010

The Meat & Potatoes Vegetarian

My name is Tara (aka, Cindy Lop-her, OG rollergirl from Charm City). Playing a competitive sport as an adult has changed the way I think and feel about my body. It’s not just an outside reflection of who I am, but it’s also a machine for life, for laughter, and for love. Most people take better care of their car than they do themselves, and it’s not surprising given our upbringing. We live in a society of mass consumption, where we treat our bodies as poorly as we treat our credit scores (and where we check our credit scores more often than our health!).

After years of dieting, I gave up, and against what I thought was my better judgment at the time, I decided to sit down and look at food in a way I never had before. I’m part of the margarine generation - if it was labeled low-fat my parents bought it - yet fake spray butter scares the hell out of me. The only thing that seemed “right” to me (aka, the least detrimental to my quitting dieting) was eating whole foods and limiting my consumption of processed foods to one item per day. Surprisingly, I lost 20 pounds when I quit dieting. Go figure.

I love to cook. As a kid I grew up watching my dad make dinner every night, my mom asking him if he wrote down what he did this time so he’d remember to do it again, and him explaining once more how cooking’s an art and no two recipes should ever be followed twice. This daddy’s girl has followed in her father’s footsteps, and with an outright refusal to follow recipes, I’ve relied on my taste buds and instinct to create hundreds of delicious meals and dishes over the past 12 years.

Previously a whatevertarian, I’ve recently become disappointed with the quality meat and fish at all my local stores and markets, and I refuse to pay through the nose at those specialty grocers, so I thought I’d give more alternative sources of protein a whirl: beans and the like. This paired with my increased inability to ignore where my food comes from and how the animals are treated gave me the idea to challenge myself by learning to cook vegetarian or vegan (without my partner noticing or complaining he isn’t eating meat).

A die-hard meat and potatoes girl, I became frustrated with the vegetarian and vegan cookbooks at my local bookstores – the meals were either not substantive enough for my taste or the ingredients were impossible to find. This is when I decided I’d again say “Fuck it” to the manuals and take the principles of cooking I’ve learned through trial and error and apply them to making clean vegetarian or vegan meals, hence The Meat & Potatoes Vegetarian.

We live in a society that values fast over slow, quantity over quality, and now over later, and the results we get from living this lifestyle through food perpetuate the cycle of our wanting a quick fix that doesn’t exist. It’s time to get back to basics, people. Use your head and think about the consequences of your actions – they not only impact others and future generations, but they also impact your quality of life every minute of every day. What would you do if you had more energy? What dreams could you make a reality if you’re not always fixated on feeling like crap? What would you be free to do if you were satisfied with your body?

This blog combines my seething disgust with consumerism and my presence of mind with my love of cooking (and eating!). Every recipe I post on this site will be proprietary, in that I put the ingredients together because I thought they would taste good, not because I read that they should be put together from a book or the internet. Some dishes will be good, some will be bad. Such is life. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I’m sure I will, and I hope you can find the time and the presence of mind to do something good for yourself as well. LET’S EAT!


  1. Do you accept "guest" recipes. {Why did I put guest in quotes? Glad you asked} What I mean is, if I sent you a recipe and you tried it and liked it, would you post it?

    I'm with you - there are so few healthy recipes out there that involve easy-to-find, less expensive ingrediants. Thank you for finding a hole and filling it.

    Umm. Yeah. I said it.

    and yes, you know me IRL.

  2. Why not?! Send em my way:

    The "hole fill" comment makes me think you're a rollergirl, but I suppose I could be wrong. Hmmm... You'll have to fill me in when you email that recipe ;)

  3. Hi!
    I just wanted you to know I was curious about you, so I decided to send this. I received a real shock the other day...sorry to "pay-it-forward" Just wanted you to know I am your half sister, Kelly.
    PS-Your writing is very good. I won't stalk though, just wanted to say "Hi!"