As a chef it is a funny thing to state you are eating vegan. People look at me strangely, wonder if I am okay, and when invited over to their homes are wondering if I will be satisfied without a piece of meat on my plate. That’s okay. This was my reaction to most vegans who came into my life.
Over the course of the past ten years I have worked with many vegans here at the inn, all of whom have given me ideas and assistance on what could and would make a nourishing breakfast without eggs or meat or cheese (some of the mainstay building blocks of breakfast). Their education has opened my eyes and palate to try new things that are all plant-based, and I have fallen in love with most if not all of what I have made. Many have shared recipes, tips and tricks with cooking and keeping things in balance, and over that time I have come to appreciate the challenge of vegan cuisine at breakfast. Generally I can say I have been fairly successful and am still growing in presenting new and exciting breakfast items for vegans.
Then, as some of you know, five years ago I had a fight with a bad piece of cheese and, Hi-Ho the dairy-oh, the cheese stands alone- I lost the battle. Since then I have been unable to eat pork, beef, or dairy. Did you know that beef and pork share the same protein structure? There is something in that protein structure that doesn’t agree with my body today. It is never immediate but takes hours for the pain to become uncomfortable
Okay, so I made adjustments, found a great source of Vegan Cheese called “Follow Your Heart” and even Jamie loves it (it melts, cooks well into product, and goes well with crackers). I am a cheese-a-holic, need a piece every day to feel whole and satisfied as a human being. Chocolate? Could leave it behind. I know, I know. For some of you those words are anathema. Yet for me it is everything. Leave cheese behind? Never!
Recently a guest, William Brown, came through the house, a doctor who had recently moved to vegan and shared a bit of his story with me, how going vegan has been proven to reverse heart disease. What? Reverse it? Oh my, yes. I did my research, read some more and decided to give it a try. Oh, I’m not perfect by any means. I still eat eggs. I simply cannot give up that deliciousness. Also, they call for a reduction or elimination of refined flour products (ugh, what, no bread?) and sugar (give up sugar? have you tasted my chocolate chunk cookies?). I suppose you could call me a Vegan-Cheater.
I tell people that I am 99% vegan. The one percent is for when I don’t want to be vegan as something so delicious is sitting in front of me I must take a bite, or ten. Like homemade flour tortillas. I will let you know how I progress. Yes, I will still incorporate eggs, dairy, and meat into breakfast as I want to play with a full deck of ingredients as I continue to work toward my goal of 250 breakfast recipes. 150 down. 100 to go!