I'm going to do what I tell my students to do; I'm going to write through my block. Yup. that means I'm taking on the stream of my conscience, babbling visually, finding my way to having something to say. It wasn't as hard as I thought it might be since I'm thinking about parmesan cheese and, well, that is a writing topic, is it not?
People as me if I miss meat. Nobody ever asks me if I miss yogurt or cheesecake, foods I loved much more than I ever loved meat. I suppose the answer is yes and no. When I first became vegetarian it was a gradual process and the salty-fat taste of meat in my diet was impossible to give up, even though I was no longer interested in great hunks of flesh. I made stews and soups with meat broth initially and then went through the phase many vegetarians go through where I overcompensated with cheese. As a vegetarian both yogurt and cheesecake are still on the menu, but at some point which I find difficult to recall, I became vegan.
There are many faux foods on the market and beverages labeled milk which are non-dairy are varied and readily available. Faux meat and faux cheese have never really excited me much but I've dabbled in the use of them. Cheesecake can easily be replicated with tofu but I've never found soy yogurt to be worth eating. Its unappealing greyish colour doesn't help. Faux cheese either doesn't live up to its promise or is not actually vegan due to the use of casein or rennet. Although I once lived cheese, I have gone beyond missing it. I can make a cheesy tasting sauce that fulfills my desire for mac n cheese or grilled sandwiches.
But today, as I whipped up a pasta primavera I recalled how a little fresh parmesan really does add that je ne sais quoi. (I am now wondering what the Italian version of that is) I have tried faux parmesan-nope not the same. I might be good in its own right as a flavourful sprinkle, but there is just no duplicating that ultimate fat-salt taste of parmesan cheese.
Often I tell people that it is easy to be vegan. In a short time your taste preferences change and you no longer crave the animal taste. That is mostly true. Cheese and butter have an animal grease taste and smell that really puts me off now, my body reacts as though it is wrong to eat them. I have no doubt this is purely psychological and I am fine with that. But I miss the parmesan. Just once in awhile. I guess I'll get over it with a nice carton of Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag non-dairy dessert.