Eating

Just over 6 years ago, on June 27, 2010, I committed to pescetarianism. In those six years, I have gone from missing the occasional chicken sandwich, to not missing poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or any of the rest of it. I still haven’t got it all figured out – is octopus ok to eat? Snails? Frogs? (I think yes, no, no, respectively – snails and frogs can survive out of the water).

When I first started, I didn’t really know how to feed myself. I knew I could use the internet to find recipes, and I like to cook, so it was actually a fun challenge. But it was also really easy to get stuck in a rut. Eventually, in May 2015, I settled on trying HelloFresh, and so far, I really enjoy the vegetarian meals.

Some drawbacks are not being able to order fish + vegetarian meals (you can only choose between meat + fish, or vegetarian), I’ve had some problems with the vegetables being wet and partly frozen when they arrive (and then rotting extremely rapidly), or arriving mildewy. Lately, those issues have cleared up. Whenever something has not been up to par, the support staff has been very responsive and helpful – since we’re talking about fresh food, I get account credits, rather than another zucchini (for example), and I also have felt that they company has been consciously improving the offering over time.

What is especially nice is having so many recipes that we really like (Bob eats these with me), and even the ones that are “just ok” are better (health- and taste-wise) than, say, microwaving a pile of frozen potatoes and just eating that (not that I’m above that – especially with butter and seasoning).

Lately, Eleanor has been eating some of these with us as well. We order the meals for two, and there is typically a lot of food – enough for the two of us and Eleanor, or even a full meal the next day. I’d like there to be a little less overflow sometimes, since that is one of the reasons we wanted to do meal delivery – not buying too many ingredients for a single recipe, some that you may not use again any time soon.

Eating in this way has taught me a lot of new things, and since I’ve spent so much time eating this way, I’ve also gained some perspective. Here is a small sampling (an amuse-bouche, if you will) of what I’ve learned:

  • Salmon is probably the world’s easiest thing to cook. You can make it complicated, but it’s delicious fresh and bare – as long as it is not overcooked.
  • Salmon is definitely the world’s easiest thing to overcook. Just cook it less.
  • Some fish is pretty blah, or – worse – fishy. But there are a lot of fish that are meaty, like mahi-mahi, and seared with butter are crazy good.
  • A wholly vegetarian meal can be flavorful and filling. Same goes for vegan. It is easy to fall into the “must eat meat with every meal” trap. You can eliminate a lot of meat from your diet and not miss it.
  • Shittake mushrooms are an amazing bacon substitute.
  • I’m not a fan of fake meat, I’ve found. Probably the best I’ve had is made to resemble ground beef (we use it in tacos). Other than that, I’d rather just eat vegetarian.
  • Probably 12 out of 14 days, I eat wholly vegetarian, and I’m happy with that.
  • Fish tacos are the best meal on the planet, and I love trying them at every restaurant that has them.
  • Restaurants like to put bacon on everything, and sometimes don’t mention that on the menu.
  • My meals aren’t “normal meals minus the meat” – they’re meals. I don’t exist on sides alone (except at Thanksgiving, when the best part of the day is the sides and the pies).
  • On this side of 6 years, eating meat constantly seems weird to me. Really weird. And unsustainable – but I do think it’s totally normal for people to hunt their own game instead of people living off of these industrial meat farms. I think everyone gets to make their own food choices, however.
  • This shouldn’t be shocking, but it’s completely possible to gestate and raise healthy kids to be pescetarian (or practically vegetarian in Henry’s case – he will eat shrimp).
  • I’m glad I’ve learned to cook new things I may not have tried before – quinoa (which I only learned how to pronounce maybe last year), couscous, pearl barley, making my own sweet potato fries, making my own sauces and dressings, and more.
  • Being out of my cooking comfort zone has made me more exploratory and open to different ideas. I don’t get to cook as much as I’d like, but I know I’ll have more time before long.

So, all in all, it’s been an exciting and interesting 6 years, and I look forward to many more.

 

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