Growing up, I knew instinctually that there were two kinds of people in this world: normal people and vegetarians. I also knew without asking that the vegetarian existed in an unholy realm no Wagner should ever dare enter. Just as children of strict Catholic parents know they risk disinheritance if they leave the church, I knew that becoming a vegetarian might create an insurmountable schism between myself and my father.
And yet, I felt pulled to it. Like a theater-loving boy in small-town Texas checking out Sondheim scores at the library, I used my library card to access the stuff of temptation. I found secret treasures in the cookbook section. An illicit thrill prickled up my spine the day I brought home my first vegetarian cookbook, but I was able to hide the titillating vegetarian nature of the recipes from my family, for I had found an ethnic cookbook, charming all of us with exotic ingredients from faraway places. I'd found Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, and it proved to be a gateway drug. It took me a while, but I found my way to become an herbivore.
Now, almost twenty years later, I've been revisiting the Moosewood collection of cookbooks. I've made something out of almost every cookbook they've written, and Sundays remains a favorite. The past three weeks, I've made almost nothing that wasn't a Moosewood recipe (or at least, Moosewood-inspired. If you've read this blog before, you know I can't stick to a recipe for love or money). I'm happy to say that we've eaten like kings.
Vegetarian kings. My dad would laugh his butt off at the thought.