A New Adventure–Vegan Cooking and Raw Food

As some of you already know, I haven’t done my own cooking for a number of years.  I have a friend who needed a job and who loves to cook, so she has been providing my food for several years now.  However, yesterday, in my discussions with my therapist, I realized that my issues around cooking stem from the way I was raised and the way my ex-husband carried that mind-set on for our 20 year marriage.  I was always told that I couldn’t cook.  This was just part of the baggage of being told that I couldn’t take care of myself, etc.  And I have bought into that for way too many years.

So today, after much soul-searching and thought, I have decided that my therapist is right–I need to take back my identity and my power in this very important area.  I need to learn to cook for myself as a way of nurturing me and as yet another creative outlet.  I think maybe this is why so I have been drawn to several blogs which deal either primarily or at least often with vegan cooking.  I have been inspired by what these women manage to create and how wonderful it all sounds.  I have no idea if I will be able to do that also, but I sure won’t know if I’m not willing to try it out.

And so I’m getting a gas cook-top put into my kitchen (well as soon as the gas line is run to my home as part of the alternative heat source project) and for once I’ve made the decision at an auspicious time as my kitchen along with the center of my home is currently under remodel.  I sure will be hoping for help from my readers to guide me in this new adventure.  For instance, I have no pans.  My therapist says that with a good wok I will be able to do wonders, but what is a good wok?  I’m looking into raw foods and in fact have a couple books coming from Amazon on Tuesday (including the Idiot’s Guide to Raw Foods!), but I noticed already that they make use of blenders, juicers, dehydrators, food processors, etc. etc.  I have none of these and I sure would be interested in what you lovely cooks like and use.

I am reasonably intelligent and my food tastes are simple.  My favorite dish is steamed veggies with tofu over rice or other grains (can’t do wheat), but when I did the steamed veggies they tasted pretty boring.  The ones my friend makes have nutritional yeast and I imagine other stuff, but when I tried that, when she was on vacation, it was a gummy disastrous mess!  And I had a delicious amaranth and millet cereal with raisins and coconut milk made by my friend Leigh’s friend Pat when my usual cook was on vacation, but I have no clue how to do that either.  Ok, I’m basically a complete novice in the kitchen.  I can boil water, and I have a veggie steamer for steaming things like edamame.  Otherwise, I need to learn vegan wheat-free cooking from the ground up in a gentle and non-frightening way, so any recipes or help would be gratefully received.

I know that this is a good path for me and that it will enable me to put a lot of old demons to bed.  It is exciting on the one hand and absolutely terrifying on the other.  However, I do have my frozen edamame, my protein bars from my doctor’s office, my soy yogurt, and my soy ice cream, so I have basics to survive on while I learn.  And it will be another way for me to discover that I can take care of myself on all levels, that I am a creative and at times inspired person.  It will enable me to try something new, which my personality type does thrive on, and when that something new proves to be good and wonderful, it will also lessen my fears of the unknown and encourage me to try more new things.

So there it is–a new page in my life, a new adventure, and I welcome any help along the way!

8 responses

  1. Wow, this must be quite the change for you!I don't know much about wok quality unfortunately. I would recommend buying the best one you can afford, though. My grandparents bought us a really nice set of cookware a few years ago. I'd been cooking with flimsy metal pans before that. They were cheaply made, burned food because different parts of the metal heated at different rates, were very difficult to clean, and had wobbly, plastic handles that got very hot if you were simmering something.It was _amazing_ to me to see the difference when I began using our new cookware set. It isn't top of the line by any stretch of the imagination…but a higher quality of workmanship made a big difference in our lives in that area.This is what I can recommend: http://community.livejournal.com/vegancookingIt's a blog about every aspect of vegan cooking imaginable. If you scroll down a little there are tags for all different types of recipes – including wheat-free ones.I think you'll find a lot of good ideas there.

  2. Many thanks, Lydia, for the website (which I've already bookmarked and put in a new folder entitled Vegan) and for the suggestion about buying quality. I do plan to get good equipment as no one can work well with faulty materials. It remains to be seen if I can work well with good equipment, but I think eventually I should be able to cook reasonably well. I was looking briefly at blenders, for instance, and it seems as if each brand has its cheers and jeers. Quite a quandary, but over time, I'm sure it will sort.

  3. Good for you Daphne! I'm sure you'll find your way in the kitchen and get to know your "real-cook" self! I know for lots of people cooking is more of a chore than a pleasure, but I hope that you will find a new-found pleasure in cooking, and if not, then it still comes in handy to at least have a place to cook if need be. (I'm jealous of the gas stove; I'm stuck with an electric cooker from circa 1975; heck it's an antique! :)You'll do wonderfully though! I wish you much fun in the kitchen finding your inner creative cook! Oh, and check out this post at Andrea's blog; she seems to know a few things about woks, which is more than I can claim.

  4. Thanks, Rose, and how could I not have fun cooking in a pink kitchen! Meanwhile, do you have any suggestions for things like blenders, food processors, and whatever else I might need? Thanks also for the link to Andrea's blog–I'm following that now on Google Reader and it also led me to a lot of other sites to add to my knowledge. And by the way, your blog and your descriptions of your food have greatly inspired me! Thanks!

  5. I don't have any specific recommendations for brands etc…I just have a Cuisinart food processor and an osterizer blender…nothing too fancy. If you're interested in raw etc., I know a lot of people are really happy with their vitamixes and blentecs…I'm sure they're wonderful, and would probably be worth the money if you think you'd use it on a regular basis.

  6. Thanks, Rose, and yes, I figured I'd get a Cuisinart and I just ordered a vitamix, so we shall see. I sure appreciate your input! This is quite an adventure for me.

  7. Hey, Daphne!This is exciting news! Good for you! I think your therapist is right on. So would Vincent Van Gogh, who said, If you hear a voice within you say, "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. (Only he'd say "cook," if he were talking to you!) ;-)Like Rose, I'm terribly envious that you'll get to cook on gas. I dream of getting to do that myself in our next place! We have a nice stainless steel wok (a Joyce Chen, I think?) that we seldom think to use. I really should get it out and use it more – we used to use it all the time! Our most indispensable kitchen appliances are an 8-year old Waring blender, two different food processors (the f.p. is my most-used kitchen appliance), my Berndes non-stick cookware (especially our stock pot at this time of year – we eat lots of yummy soups!), an old-school style T-Fal pressure cooker and a low-tech rice cooker. I couldn't be without any of them. I'll be curious to hear how you like your Vitamix (you shouldn't even need a blender with that beast!)Most of our cooking is usually pretty simple. For dinner last night, for instance, we had butternut squash (cooked in the above-mentioned pressure cooker), wild rice blend (cooked in the above-mentioned rice cooker), and steamed kale with walnut dressing (which is delicious on lots of stuff, from potatoes to tossed salads, and was made in the above-mentioned blender. See, told you I couldn't get along without any of them!) :-)Rose's blog is utterly wonderful, I am not surprised she is one of your inspirations. For recipes I also love FatFree Vegan Kitchen (well organized, clearly written, great photos and absolutely wonderful, healthy recipes, many of which are gluten-free. And her current post is quite timely for your purposes!) 🙂 Let us know too if you want any cookbook recommendations. There are so many vegan cookbooks now, along with all the blogs and web sites! Yay!Have fun stocking your kitchen! We didn't enjoy cooking till we became vegan, and I'll bet you'll get in a groove quickly and really enjoy yourself! It is a lovely form of creativity and self-nurturing, and a grand adventure! 🙂

  8. Many thanks, Laloofah for your suggestions and support, and I shall remember the Van Gogh quote for sure! And funny that both you and Rose should wish to cook on gas, although I'm learning that good cooks (such as you both) do prefer gas. I've always had electric as I'm afraid of fire, but I gather that the new gas tops are not anything like what I remember. This adventure is working on a number of fears all at once. Thanks also for the blog suggestions and yes, even before I decided to do this I thought Rose's way of presenting recipes was quite excellent! I look forward to more from both you and Rose now that I'm getting into this! Thanks again!

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