A very good friend of mine told me a few years ago that he’d started a blog. He was having another go at losing a significant amount of weight, but, being something of an epicure, this was somewhat challenging for him; one of the three loves of his life is food, and he’s extremely good at preparing the stuff. (The other two loves are, of course, his wife and his three kids. Thinking about it, that probably makes fives loves. Well, you know what I mean anyway, stop being so pedantic.)
So as an additional incentive, he started blogging about his progress and sharing recipes most weeks that are bound to be very good eating without causing you to worry about where the dial on your scales will stop.
He’s such a good friend that, nearly three months after he first mentioned this to me, I finally got around to reading his blog. I had to admit, I was quite impressed. It was pithy, light-hearted, mildly amusing in places, and genuinely interesting. In fact I wasn’t just impressed – I was envious, and a little put out. We both harbour ambitions of being published writers some day, and he’d stolen a march on me.
Not one to be left eating anyone’s gourmet trail dust, and inspired by the ideas that my good friend used, I decided to start a blog of my own, after a not dissimilar topic: I am, as my alias suggests, a part-time vegetarian.
I should explain: a few years ago, when my wife was some months pregnant with our second and final child, she suddenly and voluminously discovered a hitherto latent allergy to fish. Our eldest son shares this allergy – along with being the only person I know to be allergic to, of all things, chicken – so it is not unreasonable to suppose that our nascent offspring shared his brother’s intolerance, and it was manifesting through his unfortunate and now slightly sticky mother.
The sensible approach here, I think you would agree, would be to avoid further consumption of anything with gills, and probably to establish a general moratorium on eating any creature that finds it desirable to remain submerged for most of the working week. Somehow, in my wife’s case, this transformed into a sudden yearning to stop eating anything that finds it desirable to breathe oxygen. This, she explained, was something she’d wanted to do for ages, on the grounds that she thought it was an excellent way to lose weight.
Now this took me not a little by surprise and, I freely admit, I was more than slightly nervous at the prospect. Ever the optimist though, I found a silver lining to the black cloud that was my impending steak famine – we were, frankly, skint at the time, and as your average pair of free-range chicken breasts costs the majority of a crisp tenner, I figured here was a great way of saving money. But, like my aforementioned good friend, I have a penchant for good food, and no desire to get too closely acquainted with nut roast. So an agreement broke out: let us trial this vegetarianism of which you speak, but, having two loud and demanding small children and busy jobs, we’d better be a bit organised about it, or we’ll end up subsisting on rice and peas. We thus embarked on a journey – my wife, the health vegetarian, and me, the part-time economic vegetarian.
I say part-time because I eat meat whenever I can. Very occasionally we’ll make a meaty meal, which the kids and I will have while my missus has something different; I’ll eat meat whenever we go out, usually with a meat sauce, a side order of meat and something containing extract of pig bones for dessert; and I don’t discriminate against meat-filled sandwiches at the work canteen (I avoid them all with equal disdain most of the time). But I am certainly also eating more healthily as a result of this exercise, and having cut out most of the snacky food I’ve been indulging in for years, I actually lost a bit of weight myself. I didn’t have stacks to lose, but I was horrified a couple of months prior to note that my stomach was starting to sag over my seatbelt, so I’m quite pleased with the waist reduction.
Several years on, my wife has relented slightly and now occasionally eats fish, but has otherwise successfully avoided meat and feels much better for it (and looks fantastic). We did indeed save quite a bit off the weekly food bill, although this was in some part down to the fact that we were just a bit better at planning our meals and thus had less waste and bought less whimsical food. Because we plan it with some care, our menu is still fairly varied and mostly very tasty, with only one or two meals taking longer than about 45 minutes to prepare.
So, the original purpose of this blog was partly to share quick and tasty vegetarian recipes with anyone who stumbles across this set of inane ramblings, and partly to practice my writing skills, sharing some stories or comments that are in no way food-related. As time has gone on, I’ve found it harder to dig out new recipes, as we have a fairly set portfolio of good meals that we only occasionally add to, so I am less rigid now about regular food themes and providing a recipe with every post; I am now aiming just to write articles, regardless of content, that someone, somewhere, might enjoy.
PS if you have a recipe you’d like me to share, or a theme you’d like to see explored, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.