I received a lovely e-mail yesterday requesting a cookbook. Ironically, I just got started on one recently. Here is the first page, completely unedited….
I have had requests for a cookbook for years. Decades. I have a folder that contains encounters with the public that I thought would make funny recipe sidelines. Some of them are 20 years old. However a cookbook at this stage of my career presents a certain dilemma. I have been a vegan for 7 years. Many of my most requested recipes are not vegan. These requests come from loyal customers who have followed us through every metamorphosis. I am planning to open an all gluten-free vegan cafe. Many of my recipes contain gluten. I really want to include all of the recipes. I will likely, no, surely, offend some people.
I am not the kind of vegan who thinks that animals are never meant to be eaten. I struggle with that issue. As a woman who worships at the feet of Master Jesus, (something that annoys people even more than my being vegan), the book that I base my truth on has many instances of animals as food. And Israel was called the land of milk and honey, something I still grapple with. Because I definitely don’t think we were meant to drink the milk meant for other baby animals. Just our own mother’s. In an ideal world, a limited amount of meat would be consumed from animals that had a nice life and lived to a nice age. I think. Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. And since I can’t figure it out, I don’t eat meat. Of one thing, though, I am sure. The Creator has to be appalled at how we treat the creation. I know that I will never eat meat as long as factory farms exist, and as long as animals are treated as nonentities. I don’t even trust the farms that say they are humane, so I suppose that I will never eat meat again, and I am OK with that. The thought of it has become creepy to me anyway.
So, do I include the quiche and the brisket from a few restaurants ago, two of my most sought-after recipes? How about the potato pancakes? The brownies that started it all when I opened my wholesale business 27 years ago called Mark’s Mother’s Brownies? Those brownies are the one thing that I have not been able to satisfactorily veganize. I go back to them every so often in my learning curve and try again but so far they are not worthy of their namesake. I just got a request for one the other day, from someone who has remembered them for 25 years. What to do?
I have learned a lot in the 27 years that I have been doing this. Of course a whole lot of it is about food, but more of it is about people. More specifically, about one person. Me. Nothing brings out all of your shortcomings as much as having to rub elbows with other people, lots of them, day in and day out. Employees, customers, landlords, government officials, electricians, plumbers, the linen guy, the water softener people, the produce supplier, the dry goods supplier, the dishwasher chemical serviceman, the homeless people hanging out in the alley, the people from the restaurant next door using your parking, the vendors at the stands at the farmer’s market, the passersby wanting to use the restroom, the musicians, the charitable groups that daily request free raffle items, the friend who works for you while you try to work on not destroying the friendship, the POS support man, the wine and spirits distributors, the nonstop parade of salesman, both in person and on the phone, and the friends and family members who surprise me and don’t understand that what they are seeing in my face is frustration that I cannot sit down with them and not annoyance that they came.