November 1 will become a momentous occasion: The one-year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian! It is something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager, and in recent years, I kept thinking it was on my bucket list (a concept I hate, BTW). It had been years since I'd eaten any meat, besides poultry and fish. But for some reason I could not give those up -- even though I felt guilty eating them. Finally, last year, I suddenly went "cold turkey," and it was easier than I'd imagined! I do not miss it at all, and did not, even in the first days. I feel much happier and more aligned with my principles. I was reminded of this today, when I got an email from a local farm about ordering my Thanksgiving turkey. When explaining that they will not know exact weights until the turkeys are "processed," I felt a pang at the euphemism. Not that I think agro-business slaughtering thousands of hormone-injected birds after they lived under inhumane conditions is better, because I certainly don't. But I still was disturbed by the email.
The new lifestyle has some health benefits for me, that I won't go into here in detail (suffice to say that a lifelong problem I had is just about gone). It is probably easier than I'd thought it would be because I am not a vegan. I understand the health benefits and support the philosophical reasons for veganism, but I can't figure out what I would eat. I go to restaurants often, that isn't changing any time soon, and vegetarianism is challenging enough. I might attempt it someday (and may find it easy, who knows) but for now I am pleased and proud to be a vegetarian.
Yesterday I made a vegetable pot pie. I've always loved pot pie and used to occasionally make chicken pot pie, and it occurred to me that it would be a wonderful vegetarian dish for fall. I made up to recipe. First, I made a double crust (2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup butter, 5 tablespoons cold water). Then, I made the filling (saute 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 can mushrooms, a handful of carrots, 1 can small white beans, 1 bag frozen corn, 1 bag frozen peas -- I would have used potatoes too, but didn't have any). Then I made white sauce (2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk, 2 cups stock made from boiling vegetable peels). I poured 2/3 of the white sauce over the vegetable mixture, put it all in the pie crust, baked it for 50 minutes at 400 degrees, and served it with the remaining white sauce. It was awesome.