Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The definition of a vegetarian

The Perfect Housewife might shank the next person who writes a recipe that includes chicken broth or seafood and labels it vegetarian.

A vegetarian does not eat poultry, red meat or seafood. That is why they are called vegetarians. A person who eats seafood, but no poultry or red meat is called a pescetarian. A person who eats poultry, but no red meat or seafood is called a pollo-vegetarian.

This distinction is an important one, but sadly one that not many people know about. Luckily for me, my friends and family know that, as a vegetarian, I do not eat seafood or poultry. They saved me from stomach distress many times because of this knowledge. However, writers of many cookbooks and vegetarian recipes don't seem to understand the difference, and contribute to the myth that real vegetarians eat poultry or seafood.

It is extremely frustrating to be told that the "vegetarian" soup on the menu at a restaurant actually contains chicken broth, and that I have to wait for the second course to eat because none of the first course options will suit my needs. And yes, it is a need. I have been a vegetarian for more than twenty years now, and thus I cannot digest an animal product that I have either never been exposed to (red meat) or haven't been exposed to in nearly two decades (chicken, after my brother told me the chicken nugget was a giant Tator Tot when I was 11.)

It's even worse when it's something cooked in another person's home. I always feel that declining to eat something that has been prepared for me is rude, and I don't want to offend someone by refusing to eat their cooking. Unfortunately it's become more and more common for people to assume that vegetarians can and will eat poultry or seafood, and I firmly believe it's due to the pervasiveness of recipes labeled as vegetarian that are actually anything but.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another chocolate and peanut butter experiment

As I've noted several times on this blog, I love chocolate, and I love peanut butter. I love it even more when they're together. And thus, I'm always on the lookout for something else that will put the two together. My last experiment was the chocolate peanut butter cheesecake I made for my brother's birthday in October. This time, I decided to make some candy.

Usually for Christmas I make some mint-chocolate cookies from a recipe that I discovered several years ago. This time, Mr. V and my brother suggested that I try something different (not that the original cookies weren't good of course.) So, I scoured the Internet looking for something with my favourite peanut butter and chocolate.

I found these. We had everything in our pantry, so I set out the ingredients and set to work last week. The recipe is not complicated, but I found it to be very, very time-consuming, and messy. After rolling a few of the treats, my hands were sticky and covered in chocolate, and the counter was full of bowls and cookie sheets. It took about an hour and a half from start to finish, and then they hung out in the fridge overnight.

However, the end result was absolutely, one hundred percent delicious. Though they were definitely the most time-consuming of my baking this past week, they were worth it. My in-laws gobbled them up, and my family polished off their share handily as well. I will definitely be making them again.

The downside to Christmas? The huge mess in my apartment. We didn't have time yesterday to put our gifts away, so they are now sitting in our den waiting for us to have time to find a place for them. We were very lucky this year, and our families and friends were very generous with what they gave us.

Now the Perfect Housewife has to get off her butt and put everything away. The pile of laundry in our room is yelling at me, the carpets need to be vacuumed since there are scraps of paper all over it from my wrapping party last week, the floors need to be washed, and the stove and kitchen countertops need to be cleaned. Taking a week off from housework is plainly never a good idea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The problems with dieting

Mr. V and I will be heading to Mexico in April for our honeymoon, and thus, I have returned to my strict calorie-counting ways. While dieting is never enjoyable, it's proving to be more of a challenge than it used to be.

This entire blog is devoted to becoming the best "housewife" I can possibly be, and in general that includes cooking delicious meals for my husband. Though it is always good to be watching what you eat, no matter who you are, I don't want to be passing on my food issues to those I am cooking for. Mr. V and I have been eating delicious food since a couple weeks after our wedding, and it's been amazing. However, I couldn't even begin to count the calories in some of the food I've been making in the last few months. Though I follow the recipe from beginning to end the first time, I've then been deviating and improving on everything I've tried, if it's deemed worth making a second time. This makes calorie-counting rough.

I don't want to shut down the cooking side of my Perfect Housewife Project until May when we return from our honeymoon, but nor do I want to continue on my path of eating tons of delicious food without even thinking about what goes in my mouth. I was not born with a metabolism fast enough to negate everything I eat, and though I enjoy the gym, I don't want to live there either.

Ah the conundrum of The Perfect Housewife. It is now my project to find healthy, delicious recipes where I can count the calories, but also not to deprive my husband and others I cook for. Food is an important part of our lives in that we enjoy going out for dinner with friends or having people over to spend time with us. I also live for baking, and I would die if I could never bake again. But unfortunately life is no longer simple enough just to eat, drink and be merry.

Even at Christmas.