junk food (sort of)

I so wanted to serve this on a paper plate, but that’s just not in my nature—I don’t know that I’ve ever purchased paper plates. I was going for the fried chicken take-out thing, but this ended up being not nearly as low-rent as I’d hoped (although I guarantee you it was cheaper than take-out). Sure, it’s deep-fried processed chik-alike. I coated Trader Joe’s chickenless strips in spicy, corny cajun seasoning and dipped them in good old-fashioned oil, oil, oil! Then, to round out our not-so-fast-food spread, I mixed up some cole slaw (sort-of recipe at the end) and baked up some biscuits with shredded Italian-blend Diaya worked into the dough. If I’d used boxed biscuit mix or bagged slaw vegetables I could have raised the convenience quotient, but whatever. It was sorta junk food. And we stuffed ourselves silly.

This was definitely a novelty dinner—the apartment smelled of oil for hours. And since I’ve gotten myself over my fried food addiction I don’t want to backslide. Moderation, boys and girls, moderation.

I’ve been itchin’ to come up with a not-so-good-for-you meal since someone recently asked me how I stayed in good shape eating vegan, because all the vegans she knows are fat. Well, I’m not in all that great of shape and I suspect “all the vegans” she knows is one guy. The fact is over the last five years I’ve lost about 25 pounds. Some of that is due to my not being sick anymore (endometriosis among other womanly lumps and bumps and icky tissues), but also because I just can’t help but eat better. I do eat a lot of pasta, and I do love a good cupcake, but I guess stepping out of the convenience food arena does a body good. I’m exposed to a lot less high-fructose corn syrup and modified <fill in the blank>.

Yesterday I ran into a Fred Meyer, a regular ol’ giant chain grocery store, and after picking up my cabbage, agave nectar, and Vegenaise from the “natural” section, I walked the rest of the store, aisle by aisle. There was nothing there for me. Shelf-stable pickles, canned soups, frozen pizzas—and people were filling their carts up with this stuff. It’s not elitism, just sadness that most of our country is filling up its carts (and bodies) with additives and preservatives and other unnecessary crap, even though they know better. It’s not ignorance, it’s acceptance, and that’s the sad part. The check-out guy chuckled as he scanned my groceries, “I just love the names they give this stuff. Vegenaise? What’s that other one, Tofurky? Just funny is all.” And they are funny, but they’re marketing shortcuts. I get it. I just told the guy “They can call it whatever they want to as long as there’re no animals in ’em.” Then came the silence. I hope that meant his brain was working.

The sort-of-recipe for cole slaw:
• ½ head cabbage, shredded
• 1 shredded carrot
• some shaved onion
• a quick squirt of agave nectar
• 2 scallions
• maybe 2 T Vegenaise
• juice from a tiny lemon
• maybe ¼ t celery salt
• salt & pepper ’til you like it

Mix together. Chill for at least an hour. Mix again. Eat.

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