Mutual Menu turns one year old today and so much has changed in this year. My initial idea for this blog was to document how Brian and I navigated a relationship with him being vegan and me being an omnivore. I thought it would be fun to visit restaurants that would accommodate both of our diets and then write about the experience. I would think of recipes that could work for both chicken and tofu. I’d give tips to other “mixed” couples and groups. I never planned on giving up eating meat and Brian never asked that of me. When we first met, I thought vegetarians were noble but that it would be too hard for me to be one. And vegans? Forget it. I wasn't going to live without cheese.
On June 6, 2007, when I posted for the first time, I had already stopped eating land animals, much to my own surprise. At this point, I started eating more fish than I ever did as an omnivore because it made eating out at restaurants a little easier. More than that, I just wasn't ready to be a vegetarian, mainly because I didn't want my eating habits to be judged by others. As someone with a complicated relationship to food, I just didn't want my food to be even more dissected than it already was, by me or others.
Just about seven months later, I finally decided to stop eating fish. After months of listening to Vegan Freak Radio and Compassionate Cooks' Food for Thought podcasts, reading Veg News and Herbivore Magazine, collecting links to many vegan & vegetarian blogs, and visiting Catskill Animal Sanctuary with Brian, I was finally ready to be a full-fledged vegetarian. Anything less than that was completely hypocritical to me. I wasn't, however, ready to give up eggs and cheese, although I was at least open to the possibility of being vegan. I bought my cage-free, organic eggs knowing it was a meaningless label and tried to buy only rennet-free cheese but still ate whatever cheese I was given when eating out.
Last month, I was eating an egg for breakfast and the same feeling of revulsion I felt while eating roast chicken for the last time came over me again. Without fanfare, without announcing it to anyone, I gave up eating eggs and dairy. I just felt like I was ready to stop.
So, I guess I'm vegan now, though I'm reluctant to say I am. I just don't want to deal with people who don't understand why I would make a choice. I also still remember how enjoyable eating cheese and even meat can be and I worry that one day Brian will find me in a closet injecting cheddar into my veins. I feel like it would be a bigger disappointment to him, myself, and any of you reading to be a big talker and end up failing at this than it would be to just never have gone down this road at all. I'm doing, though, and it's really not nearly as hard to be vegan as I thought it would be.
I have a lot I would love to do with this blog, one being just having more time for it. I work full-time as an editor, have a long commute, and a very nasty case of repetitive strain injury in both arms, so the last thing I need to do when I’m not working is sitting in front of a computer typing. Luckily, having tendinitis/carpal tunnel/arthritis/chronic pain doesn’t interfere with eating!
I've picked some of my favorite posts from this year, starting from recent time and working my way back to earlier days. One of the biggest reasons I've been able to see the world so differently and change my behavior so drastically is because writing about my thoughts and experiences here has allowed those things to happen:
Would You Like Fries With That? Viva Las Vegans, Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, making new friends.
Guest posts by my friends, Sky Chari of Eats Well With Others and Jessie.
Everyone Is A Little Vegan on how many of the foods we already eat are naturally and perfectly vegan.
Mutable Menu I describe my reaction to passing a truck full of pigs on my drive to work.
My Food Resolutions for 2008
Guess Who Has the World's Best Boyfriend? The answer would be me. There's also a quick and simple comforting soup recipe in this post.
Seven Ways to Host a Vegetarian-Friendly Cocktail Party
What Nigella Lawson Said To Me
Baking Power! Even though Brian doesn't post often, this blog is a joint effort. Here he writes about the maple walnut cake we made. It looked like Pac Man.
The Nature of the Beast Another post by Brian on language.
Author, podcaster, cooking instructor, and activist Colleen Patrick-Goudreau sends a lively greeting my way, by way of Sky.
An ode to Summer 2007.
Devising a Mutual Menu is my all-time favorite post because it's the most personal post. It's about my grandfather.