CHUsday: Flexitarian, Vegetarian, Vegan and Carnivore

So, do you know what kind of “eater” you are?  Or have you ever even wondered.  Maybe you grew up with fried-green tomatoes, ham biscuits and red eye gravy.  Maybe you grew up with brown rice, tofu and bean sprouts.  Or maybe your family was eclectic and ate a little of this and a little of that.  Chances are, though, that there were only two real categories.  Vegetarian or ‘real food.”  The rest was immaterial.  And if you were a vegetarian, you’d better plan to eat a lot of macaroni and cheese, because wherever you went, that was the dish people made for you.

These days categories have expanded greatly.  We have “pescatarians” who are vegetarians who also eat fish. “Lacto-ovo” vegetarians who eat no flesh but do eat eggs and dairy products.  We have “vegans” who eat nothing associated with animals, including gelatin (remember Janya’s reaction to the gelatin in Wanda’s grapefruit pie?)  “Raw food vegans” who eat–no surprise here–only raw food. And the newest addition and my personal favorite “flexitarian,” which allows any foods but heavily emphasizes vegetables. 

I’ll confess I’m not, like Aggie and Ed in my mystery series, a vegetarian.  I’m a flexitarian.  And what a relief to finally have a word to describe my eating habits.  I rarely cook red meat.  The closest I’ve come this year was a chuck roast I divided into small pieces for soup stock.  We occasionally buy an organic chicken and use it sparingly, broth, taco filling, stir fry, pizza.  Turkey sausage makes its way into jambalaya and gumbo, and we eat lots of seafood along with at least twice as many vegetables as we once did.  I order whatever sounds good when we go out, but more and more find that beef and pork’s not high on my list, and I always avoid veal and lamb.

We slipped into eating this way when we began to look for healthy recipes.  As we became more and more interested in vegetarian alternatives, I began to look for cookbooks.  When I saw The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen was highly recommended, I asked for it for my birthday.  Then it sat.  Sound familiar?  That’s the CHU motto.  Buy a new cookbook to decorate your bookshelf.

This week I decided to pull out MVK and try a recipe for my CHUsday blog.  First, though, I’d thought about making my favorite Turkish red lentil soup from The Sultan’s Kitchen, but I only had green lentils, so I looked for a new lentil soup to try.  And am I glad I did.  The Turkish version is fabulous, but Egyptian Lentil Soup from MVK is exceptional, too.  Different, with cumin and fennel seeds sauteed with vegetables before the lentils are added, but equally good.

I’ll confess when I realized I now owned a “vegan” cookbook, I wasn’t overly excited.  Vegan?  Didn’t that require all kinds of odd meat substitutes?  I mean, I adore tofu, but “fake” meat doesn’t appeal to me.  The good news?  Nothing in this cookbook is fake.  Just fabulous ingredients combined in new and delicious ways.  If this recipe is in any way representative of what I have to look forward to, I can’t wait to use it again.

Do you know what kind of eater you are?  Let us know.  We’re interested.

Don’t forget, CHUers.  Make a new recipe from an old or unused cookbook OR this month, make one you’ve found online and wanted to try.  Then comment here or on any of my Cookbook Hoarders United blogs and let us know what you made and how you liked it (plus where it came from) and you’ll be eligible for this month’s giveaway.  Details here.


  1. Nancy Badertscher on October 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I had to read this posting to my mostly vegan daughter. Not sure what the word is to describe her – she used to be very strictly vegan, but now she has gotten more “reasonable,” my word, and will sometimes eat something with eggs, cheese or milk in it — especially my Poppy Seed Bread – when she is at our house – or when she goes out to eat. As I mentioned previously I have 4 kids, all some version of vegetarian. Oldest daughter is a pescatarian – her husband, bless his heart, is the main cook in the family and makes sure she had plenty to eat while fixing meat things for himself and their 3 kids. Middle daughter is just plain vegetarian – so eats lots of cheese and pasta but no jello or marshmallows, etc. Son, who started this whole trend as the eldest of our children, now is much more flexible apparently, and was always flexible when he was around the oldest daughter’s husband when he grilled ribs! Whenever we all get together everyone brings things and no one seems to go home hungry!

    • Emilie Richards on October 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Wow, you represent everything I talked about. I make mental lists of all the things my children won’t eat when we’re together and the odds of satisfying all of them are small. However, oddly, everybody in the family adores Indian food. So we’re safe when we have to pick a restaurant.

  2. Nancy Badertscher on October 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Emilie, thanks so much for the autographed Whiskey Island and the Yolky. How neat that he sits on the edge of the bowl. I will be using him the next time I make pancakes since I beat the whites separately. And now I have a big griddle too instead of just the reverse of the waffle iron pieces.

Leave a Comment