It’s a little thing, but one of the reasons I love visiting Penn State is that it is like stepping in a four year time machine. It’s me and Tracy and her friends and sometimes our girl friends from high school, depending on the visit. And everyone I meet calls me Loqi, just like it used to be.
Tracy is carnivorous. Correction, Tracy WAS carnivorous. She is a regular at Herwig’s, “where bacon is an herb”. She can eat a rack of lamb. By herself. Tracy was so carnivorous that when we made a secret society for our friends in high school, we named it Mu Epsilon Alpha Tau. MEAT.
Tracy went vegan the Wednesday before last. She wanted to get her ducks in a line and iron the indulgent collegiate wrinkles out of her J. Crew sweatervests. She read Skinny Bitch and discovered the meat eating, chemical laden error of her ways. She went to what Pete calls the “nuts and berries store”, bought a whole new pantry and started over.
I have read bits of Skinny Bitch before and had written it off as extremist propaganda on the scale of Glenn Beck. I expected to find Tracy holed up in her apartment, shivering, rocking back and forth, twitching and mumbling about meat products. But she is fine, and very happy! So I decided not to be an ass and ask her to come with me to Herwig’s; instead, she has been preparing vegan delights for us, and the challenge of eradicating meat, dairy, and chemicals from her life has only made Tracy a better and more determined chef.
When I arrived, she had a plate of hot pecan and raisin muffins waiting, where the eggs had been replaced with a powder substitute, the milk with soy milk, and the white sugar with a more natural brown cane alternative. The muted sweetness of the muffin was elevated by the raisins and the nuts seemed so rich. Yesterday we had a quesadilla of epic proportions when we got back from the gym (Oh, you thought college students visit PSU to DRINK?), and I liked the spicy chili and the chunks of avocado much better than chewy meat and sour cream.
This morning I read Skinny Bitch and it appears that I had judged it (her?) too soon. Vegans aren’t crazy hippies. Well, yes, they are. But they’re on to something. I think I’ll be making some modifications to my own pantry, and when this two hundred and thirty nine dish mission is complete, I may iron the indulgent wrinkles out of my own J. Crew sweatervest.