Food for Thought – Bruni reviews Vegan Resto Candle 79

This review is one of the more interesting ones I’ve read, not because the writing is scintillating or because I find the topic irresistable. The reason this review tickles the gray matter for me is that it actually poses questions about how we shift our thinking or how we fail to do so.

Entire countries and cultures live without meat-centered meals and yet we have such a tough time here thinking outside the box.  I came away from a lunch meeting the other day with a very thoughtful vegetarian and one of the metaphors she used stuck with me all day. She said it seems to her that a lot of meat-eaters imagine their meal, say a hamburger, minus the hamburger. They imagine she is left to eat an empty bun. They feel sorry for her. In fact our meal was full, flavorful, delicious and meat-free. No deprivation, no sad, empty bun.

It is that failure of imagination that causes the knee-jerk fear, loathing and rejection of the very notion of vegetarianism. Reconfiguring our meals thinking of what we add, instead of what we subtract can lead to wonderful discoveries. Imagine Bruni eating seitan. How many of you have tried seitan? I feast on farmer’s market finds all summer, often gorging myself on the wonderful, seasonal produce and meat is often an afterthought. It never feels like deprivation.

I’m thinking a lot these days about re-ordering how we think of things, food, life, values. (see Forget the Dog Whisperer) I’m trying to be positive about sustainable sushi. I’m not the best cheerleader for that yet. I mean, I’m all for it. But I’m selfishly still thinking about what I will have to give up. I need to re-think this from the position of addition, not subtraction. What new preparations and new fish have I yet to try? Maybe one of them will be something I like just as well as maguro or unagi. Maybe I’ll find something I like even more. Right now I’m still stuck on that little rice mound, forlorn and missing its tuna.

I say this fully aware how ridiculous the “sacrifice” would sound to someone who is hungry. I have the luxury of eating – first of all. And secondly, of choosing what to eat and what to not eat. The luxury comes with responsibility. It’s up to me how to meet that.

Kudos to JJ Gonson for being the first to enthusiastically take the sushi advocate pledge – you are brave and admirable! I’ll be gathering information – and courage – at the Blue Ocean Institute event at the French Culinary Institute in NYC Thursday. I look forward to reporting to you my progress on this journey.

For now, give Bruni’s review of Candle 79 a read, tell me what you think…?

~ by jacqueline1230 on October 15, 2008.

2 Responses to “Food for Thought – Bruni reviews Vegan Resto Candle 79”

  1. Most carnivores and omnivores just can’t get pass the idea of “mocking” meat. I love vegetarian, as well as vegan, food when done right. But they should be approached differently. One must abandon the notion of reconciling name of a dish to it meat equivalent. Just enjoy the dish as what it is… a vegetarian dish.

  2. Isn’t it true? It’s the burger-less bun or the “tofurky” dilemma. The only time I had mock meat that was good was shojin ryori – Japanese Monks. They know how to do it right. But that’s not everyday cooking.

    So much good food to be enjoyed if we stop thinking about it in terms of the big slab o’ meat in the middle of the plate way…

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