Someone needs to write this cookbook
My poor mom, after years of cheerfully going her Midwestern way and cooking what she knew how to cook, is baffled about what to feed my sister the vegetarian. She has not yet been told about me and my no-food-with-legs diet, because I'm afraid that it might put her completely over the edge and into despair over what she can possibly cook for holidays anymore. I mean, it was a big step up this year when she had the great idea to stock Gardenburger products, so my sister wasn't faint with hunger over the entire holiday.
I had the great idea of buying her a vegetarian cookbook for her birthday, something with some simple recipes, using ingredients that did not have to be purchased at a specialty store, that she could make when she had the Visiting Vegetarians to deal with. So confident was I that there must be a product to fill this niche that I Googled the phrase "vegetarian daughter cookbook" and was baffled when nothing came up besides posts on vegetarian message boards discussing how to raise small children on a vegetarian diet-- posts in which the parents were also vegetarians. I eventually spent hours on end combing through cookbooks at Amazon and settled on a Betty Crocker vegetarian cookbook, trusting that ol' Betty would be kind enough not to send my mother screaming into the night by making her buy tempeh or seitan. (Thus far, it seems to be a success.)
The thing is, this is far from an uncommon situation. Everyone I know who's a vegetarian is a) octo-lacto (and occasionally sea-food-o and, in moments of dark temptation, bacon-o), b) from a traditionally omnivorous family, and c) resigned to spending every Thanksgiving and Christmas eating cheese sandwiches and selective side dishes. (This does not count online buddies, for the moment.) Many are the tales I have heard of mothers who just throw up their hands in despair and say, "Well, I guess you can eat the side dishes; I'm not cooking two dinners." A few Christmases back, my Hub felt so sorry for my sister that he took over my mother's kitchen and threw together a special vegetarian soup just for her, out of ingredients found in my mother's cupboard-- a move which cemented him as an okay guy in my sister's books.
I have no statistics on this, but I know that this is far from uncommon. My guess would be that most vegetarians have omnivorous parents, and that the parents are baffled. Why has nobody written a book on the subject?
And no, I can't write one myself. I'm still trying to figure out what to eat, for pity's sake. Half the reason I was hoping to find a good cookbook that would suit my mother was that I was hoping to be able to get a second copy for myself. Why, why, WHY is this so hard?
I think I may need to create some kind of challenge: the "tasty vegetarian food in 10 ingredients or less" challenge that has a basic "pantry" list, outside of which you could not venture. Hrm. What do you guys think? Cut for length-- click to read more.