We’re in PDX — have been for the last couple of days and the next few, which explains my lull in posts. First, I’ve been waiting for our new vegan cookbook beacon, and got it today! I pre-ordered my copy of Vegan Yum Yum: Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Everyday and, in the interest of lessening my carbon-footprint, had it delivered to the Powell’s by my folks place. We’re back on track, folks.
Being back in Portland is funny — there are things I miss, and things I don’t. When I visit Portland, things like the rain seem so much more charming than when I stood in it every day waiting for the bus. Or the hipsters — I detested the mere presence of them when I lived here, but found myself happily standing among the best of them at last night’s Sunny Day Real Estate show at the Crystal. There are things I definitely don’t miss — traffic, mostly. My heart is torn right in half, part of it a loyal Oregonian, the other part a happy Spokanite.
The thing I might miss the most, however, is being a cook in Portland. No, I never worked on a line or as a chef — just as a home cook. I used to drive all over the damn city trying to find what I needed. A tiny Korean grocery story on North Killingsworth was my spot for cheap shallots and $1 cans of coconut milk. New Seasons or the Farmer’s Markets for beautiful produce. I could find anything I needed here (except papadums, which forever eluded me) — not so much in Spokane. And going out — you can be vegetarian in Portland and eat anywhere. Our favorite was Farm Cafe, but we always knew Proper Eats, Kalga Kafe, Vita Cafe and the Red & Black Cafe were all just a few minutes away. Sigh.
My mom warmed my heart the other day when she held up to the camera (we chat on the computer) an ad for Veg Fest 2009. “There’s a food presentation by… Isa…?” … I cut her off. “ISA CHANDRA MOSKOWITZ OMG I HAVE ALL OF HER COOKBOOKS!” Dorky, you don’t even know the half of it. So we headed today down to the Convention Center for Veg Fest, and while it was mostly a banquet hall of samples, it was cool to see how mobilized the Portland Vegetarian community is, and how mobilized it isn’t. It was impressive how many people were there — but the message seemed overwhelmingly militant to me. Why put dead animals in the faces of vegetarians? We know why we’re vegetarian, at this point. And all the shirts for sale with animal rights-y slogans across them… it just all seemed kind of similar to abortion activists to me. It made me think we have the right idea with the Spokane Vegans: veganism and vegetarianism is conscious, healthy eating. We don’t have to be in people’s faces about our diets to feel good about it. Alright, enough pukey, happy shit. We left before Isa — I survived.
Tonight I tested a little Vegan Yum Yum action on my parents with the really yummy looking Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna. My parents are pretty conscious omnivores — but they aren’t exactly ready for tofu cutlets or seitan. They freaked over this. My dad ate two pieces. I always give him shit for taking a bite of my cooking and nodding, chewing a little and saying “yeah, it’s not bad.” Which I always argue means it’s not that good either. He was all over this shit. Loved it. That’s saying a lot, I think.
I really need to work on my food photos not looking like puke. That’ll come with time, I’m hoping.