Are you a sucker for those 'southern food group' jokes? ---the ones defining what constitutes a food group in the Southern diet? The groups vary according to what Southern state you are in at the moment. In Alabama, the four groups are pork lard, white flour, caffeine, and sugar. In Kentucky, you have to add bourbon. In North Carolina, the lard morphs into barbecue. In Virginia, it becomes Virginia ham.
My husband has convinced the house to go vegan for the next six weeks. And not any garden variety vegan. This is cold turkey, bite the bullet, cold sweats kind of whole grain/ real veggies/ no-processed-foods-or-oils kind of vegan. Except he still gets to drink all the coffee he wants. And he's not in love with the word 'vegan' and prefers to call it 'plant based' instead. After all, he is not taking a moral high road here. He's not ashamed of his lifelong addiction to bacon. He just wants to give his body a break is all. He is a charming man, laid back. He had us watch a documentary promoting this kind of diet. At the end, he smiled at us and said "Let's do it." He could sell a bald man a lifetime supply of haircuts.
That was four weeks ago, and for the last four weeks I have been hungry. Who knew what a role cheese played in my life? This food plan does not even allow the fake soybean created cheese. Not that I would consider eating it.
My day goes something like this. Arise and cook oatmeal. Make large food carrier of a variety of foods for husband's work day. Work hungry. Eat unsatisfying combinations of healthy foods that don't necessarily taste like anything I've ever eaten before. Work hungry some more. Shop for healthy raw plant food. Prepare healthy raw plant food from scratch. Eat something prepared in a blender and made of foods I have never before pronounced. Clean up kitchen. Go to bed hungry.
That's a good day.
At the two week mark, I was depressed. It was Friday night. I was tired of cooking. I was hungry but nothing seemed worth eating. My husband WENT INTO THE KITCHEN. He stuffed mushroom caps with mashed avocado and topped them off with two capers and a few drops of fresh lime juice. He offered me one.
Such a comedian.
What I have learned is this. He plans to continue this regimen indefinitely. I have learned to make red spaghetti sauce and red chili with TVP (textured vegetable protein) that tastes somewhat like the real stuff. If TVP suddenly gets crossed off the allowed food list, I am in deep trouble. Woman cannot live on vegetable soup and water alone. Southern girls love their veggies, but some of them also like their bacon, sugar, white flour, bourbon, barbecue, and Virginia ham.
Not to mention pizza, grilled grouper, real butter on baked potatoes, and crab cakes. And fried oyster salad. Oh my goodness, fried oyster salad.
And those incredible raw milk cheeses from the Virginia highlands, and that belle chevre from right up the road here in North Alabama.
What a woman will do for love.
The only thing that keeps me going in this bruised bleak beat-down February is the hope of fried green tomatoes, which I plan to blog about next.