Thank You, Vegans

It’s been nearing two weeks since I posted last and apart from general work business that is sometimes disruptive, I got sick with a virus. It was probably a cold—definitely not the flu—but unpleasant just the same because of fatigue and congestion. However, this time around there were two things that were undeniably different—A) I was constantly hungry (I wanted to eat all the time), and B) I didn’t consume dairy.

Now, I don’t have philosophical issues with dairy—I was a raw milk drinker for many years. I love cheese (raw and pasteurized), yogurt, butter, ice cream, and I drink full fat lattes. I only really use non-dairy milk (coconut) when I prepare a chia breakfast bowl in the mornings. My unplanned abstinence from dairy confirmed something to be true that I’d been told over the years—cut out dairy to cut down on mucus. I know it is there for a reason but it’s also a real killjoy.

To go without dairy here in Portland was a breeze, and a lot of credit goes to our vegan friends who have worked hard for years to bring animal-free products into the true commercial mainstream. I was able to enjoy creamy salad dressings (tahini), coffee with milk (coconut milk), soft dark chocolate (also raw with no refined sugar—hats off to you, Honey Mamas), and yogurt (coconut milk). I’d actually like to try my hand at making coconut milk yogurt after this experience.

As an aside, I also plan to work on a ginger bug to make naturally fermented ginger ale, another good thing to drink when you’re sick (it’s also good any time).

As I continue to get over this virus, I plan to keep dairy out of my diet, and will take this opportunity to eat more dairy-free food. I don’t expect to eliminate it completely in the long run, but for now I’m content to explore the world sans dairy.

One Tip For Feast Portland

If I could give those of you attending Feast Portland’s Grand Tasting—or really any of the events that involve a lot of eating—one tip for enjoying the vast amounts of food that will be in front of you, I’d say chew your bites thoroughly. It will force you to slow down just a little bit, and your digestive tract will thank you.

Happy Feasting!

Asian-Style On My Mind

When I see an Oriental Chop Chop or a Secret Asian Man, I feel … weary. Because the language of the Asian salad is revealing of the dangers of bland, disembodied generalization: When you fail to see countries and cultures as discrete entities, what kind of consideration could you be expected to give to individual people?

–Bonnie Tsui, author of the essay, Why Is Asian Salad Still on the Menu?

The other night in Portland I ate a downright delicious thing called the Crispy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich. Along with the pleasantly moist chicken with a crackly crust, the condiments hit all my favorite notes—creamy, tangy, savory, spicy—and the bun held the sandwich together without getting in the way of its filling. In the sandwich’s menu description there was a list of elements and they included, among other things, “Asian-style coleslaw.” What?  Continue reading “Asian-Style On My Mind”