After the last beef recall I made the mistake of going online to watch the video of the mistreatment of cows being processed through a slaughterhouse. It was horrific, and I don't recommend watching it if you enjoy a cheeseburger now and again. I then fell down the rabbit hole and started to link my way through more and more horrific tales of industrial/corporate farming. I will spare you the details, they are out there if you want to read up, but its not for the faint hearted. I do, however, recommend reading up on the ecological impact these large industrial farms have on the environment.
Once I resurfaced and quelled the bile rising in my throat I decided to go vegetarian for a while. Just to see if I could do it. I've given up red meat, pork, and all poultry (lamb goes without saying). I still keep organic dairy, eggs from local free range cage free chickens , and fish (wild, not farm raised) in my diet. Some might say that's not really being a vegetarian, but dude, I'm so not givin' up my dairy! I have to say it's been easier to stick to than I thought it would be. Probably because my decision has nothing to do with my own dietary needs, but out of my personal sense of ecological and moral responsibility. It's too bad there is no ethical dilemma in chocolate (and if there is, shut up, I don't want to know!).
I have toyed with the idea of being a vegetarian since my pseudo hippie days in college(yes, I was one of those), but have always loved a good cheeseburger or meatball every now and again, so have been hesitant to give up meat. But the more I hear about how we raise our livestock and process them for slaughter, I become more and more neurotic as I walk through the grocery store. I pick up a package of chicken, gross myself out, then put it back down. A package of hamburger? Ditto. I have to put it down again. I look like freekin' Rainman pacing back and forth down the meat section picking up things, muttering to myself, and putting them back. It's not pretty people.
Now I know, local organic meat is a responsible option, and I may do that at some point, but it is so prohibitively expensive, I don't think I could afford it, and I can't even begin to imagine how someone could afford to feed an entire family that way. It's sad really, that only the well off can afford to feed their families quality foods that haven't been so pumped full of poisons and chemicals that you can no longer even call it food. The cheap crap is just that. Crap. Whew! Don't get me started on that soap box, I'll never get down.
So now I'm having a big time digging around cookbooks and the Internets looking for groovy vegetarian dishes, and trying out different ways to rework dishes I always cook. The Stuffed Peppers the Tap dancing Queen posted the other day were a direct result of such digging. She added chicken, which is great, but it tastes just as good without.
OK, here's where you guys come in. I need ideas, recipes, general vegetarian tips. (Yes, I know, the minute anyone asks you for a recipe you draw a blank - I'm lookin' at you Miss B). So if you have any good ones, post em in the comment section. Maybe I'll start posting my culinary attempts here, complete with pictures.
Now I'm hungry.