I was reading through my latest blog entry, and while it seemed like a fine (re-)introduction, it didn’t seem to cut it for VeganMoFo. Since I’m coming at this with no planning, I’m going to at least do a prompt a day. I will try to participate in the daily themes starting this weekend (when I get paid), and hopefully in the coming years come up with a personal theme to stick to. In the mean time. . .
1) Your Origin Story (what led you to become vegan?)
Me and meat have had a rocky relationship. When I was fifteen, I decided to become a vegetarian. I was what you might call an “ethical vegetarian.” I abstained from meat and meat products, but also leather and gelatin. My thought was: if nothing died, I’m fine. I had a lot to learn about the egg and dairy industry!
This was over seven years ago, so I’m struggling to come up with the details. I don’t remember a backstory, but I remember one day, I was sitting at the table when my mom set down a grocery store rotisserie chicken. Something about it felt wrong. I grew up in the boneless-skinless breast era of America. Whole chickens freaked me out. This wasn’t arbitrary meat: this was an entire chicken, in tact down to everything but the head. I picked at it for a little before declaring I was a vegetarian.
Nobody took me seriously on it and it took a while to get my family behind the idea without thinking I would die. But I stuck with vegetarianism for about two years in high school, before I had a weak moment in front of a Thanksgiving turkey. I cast aside my $25 Tofurkey purchased just for me and dug right in to meat like I had never stopped.
The funny thing is, there were several points where I wanted to go full vegan, but I was a minor and my family wouldn’t have gone for it. I went from experimenting with soy milk and rice ice cream to munching on turkey overnight.
When I was living in San Francisco in the summer of 2012, I spent a day at the library and sat down to Everything You Know is Wrong. One of the articles opened my eyes to the environmental impacts of human meat consumption. I learned the impact of the water, the feed, and the gas emissions from the feces. I had always felt uneasy about meat eating from an ethical stand point, but this changed everything. I later read A Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life and did ample research online. As soon as I was able to, I went vegetarian with the intention of going vegan.
However, I was in a situation where vegetarianism was enough of a strain on my living situation and the people I lived with, so I had the idea of “well, eating eggs and dairy doesn’t help much more than eating both with meat,” and picked meat back up around 2013. Once settled into a place of my own, I finally went vegan in May 2013 and have no intention of going back!
2) Share your first experience cooking with tofu.
My first experience eating tofu was when I was fifteen. My dad had made me tofu fried rice in the same style he made chicken fried rice for the rest of the family. It was a sweet gesture, but I was a bratty fifteen year old and made no attempt to hide my dislike for food on my plate. It tasted bland and mushy, and when I commented on it, I was told, “that’s tofu,” as if it was inevitable.
It wasn’t until I ate tofu in Taiwan that I realized tofu is supposed to absorb flavors and be quite flavorful. My first attempt of cooking tofu solo was during my vegetarian months in 2012. I approached it with plenty of research and. . . . despite pressing it, marinating it, and doing everything I possibly could think of. . . I burnt the shit out of it. What I could salvage tasted to me like rotten mayonaise.
It wasn’t until a month ago that I learned to cook tofu that actually tastes good. I still can’t do it without freezing first. . .