Our vegetarian journey


I have had a request to write more about our vegetarianism….

For me it started when I was 6 or 7 years old and I found out where meat came from! That was it!
I wasn’t a big meat eater anyway, but our family was pretty traditional at the time, so for the next 2 or 3 years I ate only potatoes, peas, carrots….supplemented with cheese!   I was lucky that my mum was very laid back about food and never put any stress onto me about meeting nutritional needs.  She says it was just ignorance!

I remember once, aged 10, getting really mad with a teacher who said it was impossible to  live without meat.  We had just seen a move about an abbatoir, which only served to confirm my convictions!  I was pretty shy then believe it or not, and couldn’t bring myself to challenge her, but my words were ringing around in my head –
“Well, touch me, am I a ghost them??!”
Funny the things you remember…

My sister got really sick when I was a teenager and after trips to the Natropath, Mum and therefore the rest of us, went healthy & vegetarian which was lovely for me, after  years of  lonely cutting-myself-a-piece-of-cheese mealtimes.  Now it was my carnivorous brother who cooked up his own meat at mealtimes!

Vegetarianism just wasn’t as known about back in the ….um, well when I was growing up.  As a teenager I remember being billeted out in Christchurch on a school music trip and my host family served up a one pot stew for dinner!  I was so nervous about saying something, but had to make myself.  They were completely thrown and I ended up having bread and butter for dinner!!

I have ploughed through many a quiche over the years, the classic  “Oh I have a vegetarian coming for tea” dish. Often there would just be “just a few bits of bacon in it too.”
Farm folk especially just would not accept no meat – “You will eat fish though, or chicken, that isn’t meat!”

I had three healthy pregnancies, never had low iron (I put it down to considerable amounts of chocolate personally) and although I dithered for the first year or so with Hannah, I then realised…. of course I would raise the kids as veges, no debate.

I am under no illusions that they will try eating meat as adults and I have no problem with that.  Just as I know they will end up at McDonalds one day too.
I am raising them to make their own decisions and make their lives their own.
I cook yummy meals, and lots of them, so they have no complaints and never seem to think they are missing out on anything.

Wayne has even chosen vegetarian meals when we eat out sometimes –  he has been known to order a felafel Kebab like the rest of us!
Most people I know seem to eat alot of vegetarian meals these days, which makes it easier for us all, and I am so glad for my kids that eating at friend’s homes is so easy.
It has been a subject of ridicule for years, but luckily friends have found other topics to tease me about lately!
(and there are plenty of those to choose from just don’t get me started!)

Favourite beans…..

Chickpeas – make hummus, have cold in a salad, eat with toothpicks, fry up with soy sauce, put in any other dish

Kidney beans – good for nacho type mix to have on rice, over potatoes, mash up and have in tortillas

Haricot beans – I make our own baked beans – fry up onions and garlic, when soft add a small amount or sugar, curry powder and oregano,  cook a couple more minutes then add soy sauce &  a tin of tomatoes.  Blend this up and it goes all creamy and looks like the tinned ones!  Of course it tastes much better.  Add the cooked haricot beans.  I make bulk and freeze portions.

Lentils – red and brown – in everything, pasta sauce, lasagne, soups, salads,  patties & everything as they are so quick!

Black eyed beans – nice in a tomato and herb flavoured stew thing with coconut cream added.

Most beans need an over night soak and a boil for one and a half hours.
Lentils are the exception and take only 30 mins (brown)and 10 mins (red)

I like making dips (like hummus) from different beans – black beans are yummy and using white beans like haricot are great when you want to make a interesting colour.  For example beetroot is a fantastic pink!  Or piles of spinach, or sundried tomatoes and paprika,


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