I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving—or what is more like a long weekend of gluttony of epic, and usually Dionysian, proportions.
I mean, I totally get it… It's a tradition about being thankful for all of your blessings and for reaping a good harvest, though I think most of us are pretty far removed from what constitutes a good harvest, but we still celebrate it anyway. And we do this by eating so much that we can't move, can't take another bite, can't drink another drink and in some cases, can't even sit up straight.
And then after all of the giving of thanks we go out and spend, spend, spend, which I won't get into since I talked about it in my last blog, but I just have to say that watching all the news clips of people going crazy on Black Friday reminded me of watching zombie hordes on "The Walking Dead". Just sayin'.
Anyways, as I sit here and write this, I can honestly say that I feel like complete and total crap. On Thursday, I feasted upon a few helpings of wonderful turkey and gravy, cornbread sausage stuffing, a heaping pile of mashed potatoes that were mixed with a whole stick of butter, corn that was sauteed in bacon grease, and my grandmother's green bean recipe that consists of simmering green beans in chicken stock with a few ham hocks for several hours. And that's not even counting dessert. My family was so full from dinner that no one really ate any dessert, so I was left with a whole pumpkin pie just sitting there and staring at me for the past few days. Have I mentioned that pumpkin pie is my favorite?
Well, it's gone now.
And of course on Friday you have a fridge full of leftovers to experiment with. My dad makes the best "Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Gumbo" on the face of the planet—and he's from Ohio. And another amazing concoction is the "Leftover Turkey Sandwich", which for me consists of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and a slice of cheddar cheese between two slices of bread all warm and toasty from the toaster oven.
And then on Saturday it was THE game. It was like Christmas morning for me and every Buckeye fan (and Michigan fan) when we woke up. And what is at every football viewing party? Food, of course. A grand tradition in "The Rivalry" is starting off your day with "kegs and eggs," which we did, because I'm not one to mess with 100+ years of tradition. There were also buckeye cupcakes (a "buckeye," to the uninitiated, is a ball of sugared peanut butter mixed with butter and dipped in chocolate so that it looks just like our poisonous nut mascot), barbecue, hot dogs, all manner of chips and dips, and all washed down with beer. Healthy!
But hey, the Buckeyes won and might I add had an UNDEFEATED season, which totally makes me feel better about all that bad food I consumed because that's it for us. No bowl games this year. Thanks a lot, Terrelle Pryor!
So now that all that is over, I sit here thinking that I need to put things back into balance. I need to do something drastic, and that's not an easy thing to do during the holiday season. And it's also not an easy thing to do where I live.
When I first moved to New Orleans, I wondered how in the world anyone could be vegetarian down here. There's just so many signature dishes and foods that revolve around meat. How does one make a vegetarian po-boy? Or vegetarian gumbo? I'm sure you can try, but I'm also sure that it would be so completely sub-par to the real thing that it wouldn't even be a fair comparison.
Also, in the Bywater, I'm surrounded by so many temptations at all times. Back when I was in Ohio, I worried about my waist-line when I moved within walking distance to a Dairy Queen … but now I live down the street from The Joint, Pizza Delicious, Maurapas Foods, Frady's (and their breakfast po-boy), The Country Club, Schiros (I love their lamb curry), Suko Thai, and the list goes on and on. I mean, I'm not complaining … but damn, is it hard to stick to a diet around here.
But I'm going to do it. I'm going radical, you guys … just for a few weeks. Just to get things back into balance, I'm going to spend the next two weeks vegetarian. This means no meat and I'm also nixing seafood. I'm not going totally vegan, because I tried that a long time ago and came to the conclusion that life is not worth living if you can't grate parmigiano reggiano over your pasta … but I am staying away from heavy and unhealthy foods.
So come back for my next blog in two weeks to see how I fared in this wonderful meat-loving city of ours. I'm going to try restaurants that are more friendly to vegetarians and I'm also going to experiment and see if I can go to some of the meatiest places around and still come away with something reasonably healthy.
So tune in next time! Also, if I have any New Orleanian vegetarian readers out there, I'd love your tips or suggestions on where to go.