When I was 14, I decided I wanted to become a vegetarian. I’m not sure what exactly triggered the diet change, but I was committed. It was a big part of my self-taught cooking practice due mostly to the fact that my meat and potatoes mother told me that if I wanted to eat a vegetarian diet I would be cooking meals for myself. I had a lot of fun exploring the meatless kitchen and after not too long my family was asking that I cook enough to share. And then one day I had a massive craving for a cheeseburger which I satisfied until I was 19 and living with a vegan in college. I, once again, decided to challenge my culinary skills by participating in the diet for a year or so. At some point I realized my diet consisted of fake cheese, fake bacon, fake turkey, and so on and so forth. I placed a strict moratorium on fake foods around the age of 12, and when I saw I was breaking my own personal moral boundaries, I had a rare filet mignon in my mouth just as quickly as I could.
I made the decision to never again commit to any sort of restrictive diet plan. Until last year when I started dating a vegan. He was never able to share in the exquisite cheeses or finely cured meats or gourmet ice creams I so frequently indulge in. When I started to think about the big picture, well, I accepted the fact that most of the chefs whom I admire most hold a rather strong disdain for vegans. If my vegan companion and I were to, wishfully, stumble upon a table at momofuku, would chef Chang honor the request of a vegan menu? My unfortunate conclusion was most certainly not.
The most disappointing of all realizations was that said companion would never taste my father’s favorite dish from my kitchen, steak tartare. Due to my father’s current state of health, the treat is only served on special occasions, or just because It’s Friday, depending on the mood. The restrictions of a vegan lifestyle are too demanding for a palate such as mine. I believe in eating with respect to the environment and I certainly do not support the mistreatment of animals for the sake of human consumption. I do, however, believe that a human’s diet is left incomplete with the exclusion of animal products. That being said, let’s eat some raw meat!
the recipe will be included in the article that i submit to creative loafing, a link will be posted accordingly 🙂