The Vegetarian Jungle.

I am not a vegetarian and I probably never can be. Do not get me wrong I love vegetables, minus a few exceptions like peas, cauliflower, and celery. I had to go to school to learn that kids hated spinach. I was ok with that just meant more for me. I love vegetables, I like them raw, I like them roasted, I like them grilled, I like them sautéed, I am not a fan of boiled vegetables and that is where I think most people go wrong. Boiled vegetables are horrible, sorry there is just no other way to put it.


So other than boiled vegetables I am a vegetable fan, so much so that I will eat the broccoli first before it gets cold kind of person. So it would be safe to assume that I would dig vegetarian food. Sadly that is just not the case. I am sitting here at work picking at a dish of poblano peppers filled with quinoa grain. It smelled good, it even looks pretty good. The dish has poblano peppers in it so it must have some flavor.

Nope, seriously how much mad skillz does it take for a chef to take a delicious poblano pepper and render it tasteless? Yes there is a hint of heat from the decidedly mild peppers but I have eaten a chicken stuffed poblano that tasted fantastic. The pepper itself was just bursting with flavor. This all tasted like boiled vegetables. It not only tasted like eating a shadow but the act of eating it created a mouth feel that was mushy and grainy.

That is one side of the vegetarian spectrum I have tried, the other was long ago on a trip to Chicago. We stopped in at a local authentic vegetarian Indian establishment. I had a feeling that I was punked. The place was a large dirty buffet type restaurant with trays of unidentifiable food. There were no explanations of what the dishes were so I just played a game of food Russian roulette. The immediate results were not enjoyable. Every dish I sampled was nose wateringly over spiced. The later results were even worse when I crash redecorated the hotel bathroom that night. I now have an unhealthy fear of Indian food that will probably never go away.

I have also experienced home cooked vegetarian food. Jonette and I were invited over to a friend’s house to enjoy a feast of vegetarian lasagna. The lasagna came out of the oven and it looked like paste, there was no color just white and beige. I took a plate full of the half liquid mass and took a bite. Once when I was a kid someone dared me to lick a salt lick. Salt licks are big blocks of salt that ranchers use for their cattle. I had one in the back yard to attract deer. Deer like salt licks as well. I think that there was more salt in that lasagna than in the salt lick in my back yard. I forced myself to eat the rest and refused any second helping. To top it all off she served a desert of flourless chocolate cake that could have had a spectacular career as a puck in an NHL playoff game. Good thing there was a Burger King on the way home and a 7-11 where I could get a gallon of water to counteract the salt.

I will admit that I have not had good vegetarian food; maybe good vegetarian food is worth eating. Sadly I have yet to experience vegetarian or vegan food that is worth trying a second time. I am actually sad that my experience today just racks up another point in the bad column. I will go on eating vegetables and meat. I like them both and will keep my options open. Maybe someday I will find vegetarian food that is worth eating.

Until then “Stay hungry my friends!”


About ikcewicasa

Ikcewicasa means common man in Lakota. I guess that describes me. I am turning 40 next year. I have a college degree and I have a professional job. The blog is just random stuff. I try and keep most of my posts humorous in nature sprinkled with a bit of American Indian items, soundtracks (which I love), food (something I also love) and movies (when I have the money and time to go see them. so basically ramblings that rattle around in my mind. Hope you enjoy. Like what you read? comment and re post. don't like what you read, let me know as well. ALL STORIES ON THIS SITE ARE ABSOLUTELY TRUE... EXCEPT THE PARTS I MAKE UP!
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5 Responses to The Vegetarian Jungle.

  1. ikcewicasa says:

    Ditto!! I’m a meatatarian, it’s a lifestyle choice.

  2. It’s really unfortunate that you’ve had so many bad vegetarian experiences – I can say that I’ve never had a truly bad vegetarian experience. I’ve found that in order to make vegan and vegetarian food of really high quality, you basically have to break food down into its component parts, understand it, and reverse engineer a dish. This requires a level of thought and respect for the food that rarely results in anything bad.

    I’m a recently-converted vegan, but I’ve always had an aversion to meat – in fact, I really don’t miss it or animal products at all. I think, though, that this is an easier transition for women in our society than men. Men are told to barbecue, love bacon, kill the antelope with your bare hands, wrestle the bear! GRR! I guess I’m more of a gatherer than a hunter in that case.

    I’ll add here that being in the Bay Area as a vegan is surprisingly fucking hard – and I can’t even imagine what it’d like in other parts of the country. It is a diet of privilege, for sure – produce and healthy meat alternatives are expensive, and hard to find in all stores. And if you want to be a sustainable, organic locovore (my eventual goal) – it’s even more pricey. It’s fashionable here in this well-to-do urban area to pretend like you’re making things up to mother nature, and people are quick to rub it in your face. Before I went vegan, I once threw a party for a friend that was crashed by smelly gutterpunks who turned their nose up at the food I’d made, asking if it was vegan. People like this are wretched to deal with, horrifically smug, and usually the product of rich white people who made their fortune in Silicon Valley. But screw them. The more I’ve learned about where our food comes from – why meat is cheap and veggies are expensive, why processed corn is in every single thing in grocery stores, the list goes on and on – the more I can’t abide participating. I’ve had to learn, and in the end it’s made me a better, more thoughtful cook.

    Regarding your experiences, in all honesty, I think you’re the victim of nooby mistakes and bad circumstances. Indian places with buffets are the worst, most unsanitary things – you can find excellent Indian all over for great prices. I recently found that the normally bland Indian place I get delivery from actually can be fucking awesome – they simply don’t spice it for white people, so you have to ask. There’s a few Buddhist Chinese restaurants in my area here that serve tofu and seitan instead of meat, and I literally cannot tell the difference in taste or texture with some of the dishes. Mongolian fake beef, mmmmm. Although I can’t account for your friend’s sad cooking mistakes, I make a mean eggplant baked casserole and polenta, and everyone I’ve made my couscous concoction for has loved it – all men, including my very carnivorous brothers, I might add. .

    I guess it’s a matter of exposure, being inquisitive – but not pushy – in restaurants, and not letting the rich white kids get you down. 🙂

    //end soapbox

    • ikcewicasa says:

      I admit that I have had horrific experiences. And I would like to try good vegetarian food. And I bet I would like it. I eat and enjoy many things that have no meat in them. But I probably will never become a strict vegetarian. I like meat too much and I understand fully were meat comes from. Even though I prefer to acquire my meat wrapped in plastic or paper from the supermarket or butcher shop I have assisted in butchering a buffalo. That is a nasty messy process, it will not keep me from eating buffalo any chance I get.

      and yea part of my dislike is the overly pushy rich wasicu kids that seem to accompany the vegan scene.

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