Monday, January 19, 2009

Vegetarian leftovers

If you're looking for a good vegetarian cookbook, buy Veganomicon. Yes, it's vegan, not just vegetarian. That means you don't have a pound of cheese in every other recipe. But for those of you scared by the word vegan, I'll say this: anyone would love the recipes in this cookbook. Among my favorites:
  • The best effing barbecue I've had since I stopped eating meat, and possibly ever. I served the BBQ Seitan on New Year's Eve, and several meat eaters thought it was pulled pork and asked for the recipe. Yes, it's that good.
  • Three different tomato-based pasta sauces that compete with restaurant-quality Italian food. (No, not Fazoli's quality.) Serious kick, serious flavor.
  • The best tofu marinades I've found anywhere.
I've loved almost everything I've made from this cookbook. Seriously, buy the damn thing.
On a completely different note, I'm reading and re-reading various chapters of the Bible for a course I'm in. I only mention this because of something in Genesis I'd never noticed before. I was aware that some religious groups use Genesis 3 to argue that, in our original, pre-fallen state, human beings were vegetarians. (NB: I'm an atheist; I don't believe in any original, pre-fallen state. I'm just summarizing the argument.)

Here's what's interesting, in terms of the vegetarian Eden argument: as we all know, Adam and Eve clothe themselves with fig leaves after they eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. But notice this, Genesis 3:21: "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them." (Italics mine; NSRV translation.)

That moment sticks out to me for two reasons. First, what a weird moment of empathy that God shows, making clothing for Adam and Eve on their way out. Strikes me as a complicated parental gesture. Second, and much more interesting for the vegetarians/Christians out there, is that, though Adam and Eve clothe themselves in fig leaves, God creates animal skins for them. It's the first use of animal flesh for any functional purpose, and it's a result of God banishing Adam and Eve from the life of paradise. Bizarre.

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