A Month of Vegetarian Cuisine
Vegivore Month: Three high-end restaurants take vegetarian cuisine from earthy to ethereal.
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Three out of four Americans still don’t eat even three servings of vegetables a day.
This month I decided to make up for them.
I had a reason. Veggies, I suspect, are about to have their moment in the culinary spotlight.
New York Magazine recently insisted, “Vegetables are the new meat.” Michael Pollan wrote a No. 1 bestseller (In Defense of Food) built around the mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”
Recently, I had dinner with Hawaii food maven Joan Namkoong, who insisted she had become a COW, that is, a Carnivore On Weekends. That seemed fitting for the woman who set off the Farmers’ Market movement in Hawaii and got people in Honolulu to stand in line for things like organic kale.
OK, so I’d eat vegetables this month, undistracted by animal protein. I intended to be a vegivore, not a vegetarian. But to get the food I wanted, I was going to have to ask for vegetarian offerings.
Two problems. First, like 97 percent of the population, I am not a vegetarian. I am leery of even using the term, since it’s so contentious.
Vegetarians are split into sectarian camps. All across the Web, you can find pure vegetarians offended by those who eat fish occasionally.
Or vegans, who eat no animal byproducts, looking down their noses at vegetarians. (Imagine eating eggs!) Or, and this is my favorite dispute, vegans feuding with yet other vegans who—gasp!—eat honey.
Problem No. 2: Where would I eat? I couldn’t face a month of small, often amateurish vegetarian restaurants serving bland and sometimes ill-textured food, whose best quality was its moral status as vegetarian.
Then I read something that made the lights go on.