Posts Tagged ‘vegetarianism’
I love to surround myself with creative, expressive people — photographers, designers, chefs, writers, gardeners, artists of all kinds. There’s something calming about them, even in the midst of a frenetic debate over architecture, wine or modern art.
The first time I met Chef Jeremy Hanlon was in the West Palm Beach studio loft he shares with photographer Montana Pritchard. I had just returned from a summer trip to New York and was bored senseless with Palm Beach life when I received an invitation to Studio 1608 and decided to check out the space with a few girlfriends.
This is a small town, people. Most of us return to the same haunts, make small talk with the same people, drink the same cocktails and nosh on the same canapes, weekend after weekend. Sure, we have some great times, but the Palm Beach social scene has its monotonous moments.
Studio 1608 was a light at the end of the tunnel. Funky back-door steps leading up to a loft full of art galleries and loads of people — none of whom I knew, for a change — jamming out to Bon Jovi and checking out Montana’s new shots.
It wasn’t long before I was barefoot and singing “Living on a Prayer” at the top of my lungs, channeling the funky crowd I’d just partied with at fund-raiser for the Watermill Center.
In any case, I’ve kept in touch with the boys over the years, and recently I’ve tapped Jeremy to share a few veggie recipes while I search my soul over meat consumption. Here’s one that makes for a fresh, end-of-summer first course or side dish.
Napa Cabbage Coleslaw with Florida Navel Oranges & Raspberry-balsamic Vinegar
1 head of Napa Cabbage – shredded
4 Florida navel oranges – peeled & segmented (juice reserved)
1 large red onion – finely chopped
15 leaves fresh basil – torn into pieces
½ C raspberry balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Shred cabbage and place in large mixing bowl. Season with 1 Tablespoon salt. (Note: this begins the “cooking” of the cabbage and will absorb the flavor of other ingredients better)
2) Add segments of orange, any reserved juice from the oranges, red onion, basil and raspberry balsamic vinegar. Toss ingredients well with coleslaw, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinade for 10 minutes at room temperature.
3) Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning. (note: this coleslaw gets better with time, so making this recipe the day before is never a bad idea!)
The response following my review of the “Earthlings” documentary has been so enlightening. There are so many passionate people on this little planet of ours, and also so many realists to play devil’s advocate. As long as there is suffering, there will be debate. But there will also be hope.
Thanks so much to those of you who have brought to light for me the questionable regulations behind organic farming. The Sunday after I watched Earthlings, I spent three hours between three grocery stores — Costco, Publix and Whole Foods — and found that the organic meat offerings were few and far between anyway. The butcher cases are full of antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed meats, but none certified organic that I could see. None of the meats in the Greenwise section of Publix are actually organic, nor are they free of all chemicals. The words classifying these meats are a dance around reality. A warm blanket to help us feel better about what is still likely a poor choice.
What difference would the USDA organic certification make in any case? Doesn’t a free-range chicken still have its beak burnt off to prevent it from pecking its cellmates? How much “free range” do they get? Are the birds still starved to promote molting? And doesn’t a fat and happy organic cow still have to die at some point before it’s carved up and delivered to our plates? What does that process look like?
And then there is the food chain. The natural order of life. Animals eat animals. Man created tools to improve this process. Does that make man more or less violent than the mother lioness who takes down a gazelle with her teeth to feed her cubs? Or even the geckos who tongue-lashes the moths that buzz around our porch lights?
It is in our nature to hunt. To gather. To thrive. But it is also in our nature to know better.
For me, the jury is still out.
Disclaimer: I’ve just prepared a delightful vegetarian meal — Ina Garten’s Lemon Fusilli with Arugula — and I’ve consumed the accompanying two bottles of 2005 Sonoma County Merlot (with a little help from my husband). So excuse my dreamy pondering, but I’m weighing the virtues of vegetarianism. Sure, I’ve dabbled – from 1995 to 1997 or so. But my one-teen enviro-movement came to a crashing halt over dinner at a neighborhood Longhorn Steakhouse, during which my older brother’s taunts became too much to bear. To be fair, he was my sole role model and inspiration, having raised me from age 12 until my freshman year at University of Florida. Our relationship is based on sarcasm and will-bending — is there any other way? — and so, wanting to be cool for his 20-something friends, I caved. One medium-rare prime rib, please.
Obviously one of the most earth-friendly activities one could pursue would be to take it easy on your fellow fauna by, well, not eating them. But why? After all, the three little piggies are just so gloriously yummy. Plus, the powers that be are shouting PROTEIN! from the rooftops. Can’t get much more protein-rich than from a blood-red New York strip, or maybe Azul chef Clay Conley‘s “steak and egg” appetizer, which tops beef carpaccio with a crispy, truffle-scented egg yolk. Nutrient-rich, to be sure — though this gal wasn’t exactly dropping for a set of pushups following our Saturday night dinner.
Do we really even need meat? Veggies — and though one of my greatest comforts is a medium-rare fillet mignon from the Palm Beach Grill, I count several good friends among the non-meat-eating set — say we’re all overdosing on protein by the time we down the Activia (more on that later), hummus and black bean soup.
Either way, I am farily certain this gal is nowhere near boycotting the meat. And it’s not just the vino talking. Mama had a ridiculous dinner of coldwater oysters, followed by a trio of Moroccan-inspired lamb — braised, plus grilled chop and loin — at the aforementioned Mandarin Oriental eatery, and I’m not quite sure I understand the difference between chowing down on a sweet-faced, wooly mammal versus a graceful, overfished Swordfish.
Care to enlighten me? Veggies, sound off. Controversy is most welcome.