|Kale - The "Holiness" Church of Cabbages|
Why is it that every time you try to make things nice for folk, there's always someone who comes along who wants to put a hair shirt on it. For those of you unfamiliar with medieval monastic practices, supposedly celibate monks of the middle and dark ages used to believe in a quasi-sexual practice call "mortifying the flesh". Basically they would cut themselves, whip themselves with cute little whips, starve themselves and generally get naked and hurt themselves in some titillating fashion. Let's face it, monasteries were kind of like asylums for sado-masochists in many cases. They did some good, but there was an awful lot of really disturbing behavior behind those walls, one of which was the hair shirt. A hair shirt was an animal skin worn inside out so the hair was next to the skin. It poked you, made you itch unbearably, and kept the fleas close to you.
|Haystacks are way better than hair shirts.|
|My favorite Vege-meal: Barbecued Tender-Bits|
That said, most of us tend to be vegetarians, or at least what I call "mostly lacto-ovo vegetarians with an occasional tuna sandwich". My website "The Potluck Vegetarian" is dedicated to the sort of Adventist potluck dinners I grew up with. The food is unique and quite delicious. Adventists invented The Haystack, for instance. It's basically I giant Tex-Mex salad consisting of either Fritos or Tortilla chips (there are minor theological differences as to which is the correct base for haystacks). Atop the corn chip base you then pile, Ranch Style Beans and/or Vegeburger, lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar cheese, maybe some sour cream, Ranch or Catalina salad dressing and a smattering of olives. Other ingredients are added or subtracted depending on the local culture. In Hawaii some churches make haystacks with pineapple in them. I tried that and it's really good. Adventism is a mission-intensive faith and so there are literally thousands of local versions of the haystack around the world. This happened because it's easy to make them for potluck and will feed hundreds on a giant pot of beans and a dozen heads of lettuce.
|King Ranch Vegetarian Chicken (uses mushroom soup)|
ENTER THE MILITANT VEGANS! These dour, and usually unhappy people inevitably intrude upon the scene of potluck celebrations and commence to criticizing the vegan orthodoxy of everything in sight. If you use lettuce in the salad, they'll stand over the bowl and loudly enough to be heard at the far end of the hall, announce that lettuce has no nutrients and that you should have used kale!
Kale, I believe, is the vegan version of the hair shirt.
I've tried kale just to make 'em happy. I firmly believe that there is a reason God made so kale so rare that it's expensive. It tastes bad. I'm sure some caterpillar somewhere loves the stuff and turns into a beautiful butterfly after eating it, but to me it tastes like dirt on an oak leaf. And I know what oak leaves taste like. I lived most of my formative years in the tops of North Texas oak trees.
|Non-Vegan Cottage Cheese Loaf|
Militant Vegans do like the idea of raw kale and carrots and other RAW foods. I capitalized it because when they say RAW foods, it comes out like a kind of roar - imagine charging Mongolian hordes and you kind of get the sound. But even their favorite RAW foods are not safe. Recently I saw carrots blasted as unhealthy by one of these Super Vegans. Apparently someone like me shredded carrots, sauteed them in olive oil (not the expensive kind) and made a sweet base for a spaghetti sauce. It's quite delicious by the way. Probably why it received the Super Vegan curse.
I believe in being healthy so far as you can. I believe God intended for us to enjoy food or he wouldn't have made it taste so good. Remember he promised us a land of Milk and Honey - both animal products by the way. My principle is that if I can eat something that no animal had to die to provide, then, I'm probably okay with God on that.
|One of my favorite Harry Miller creations.|
As to the kale-eaters who jump on my website to criticize my straying from Vegan purity, I usually don't approve their posts. I think potlucks should be celebratory feasts and should not be haunted by gaunt spindly figures dressed in black and gray who will come to the table and tell you stories about how unhealthy they were till they started eating kale-based organic, non-GMO food and six weeks later passed a cancerous tumor they'd had for years. I can do without that mental picture, thank you and I've had it happen to me many times, so I'm not making this stuff up. There really are people like this out there. And to those of you non-militant Vegans, I'm not talking about you. This is about your fanatic friends. You know who they are. They're like Ron Paul Libertarians only holier than them.
So, I say celebrate the bounty God has provided. Avocado is virtually the perfect food. Bananas are full of nice healthy potassium and soy and wheat gluten is God's gift to Chinese and vegetarian cuisine. In addition, I can tell you from experience that cows are quite proud of their many tasty cheese products. And drop by The Potluck Vegetarian for some ideas for you next church potluck or, for that matter, for Sunday brunch at your house. I think you'll enjoy the joyful version of vegetarianism.