Tag Archive | vegetarian

Product Review: Parma! Vegan Parmesan Seasoning

parma vegan parmesan packaging photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I will be the first person to admit that I am not the most creative home cook, so having seriously-restricted access to restaurant-prepared meals  means I am fighting food boredom. While I’m relying more than ever on the amazing frozen food section at my local Trader Joe’s, I’m also exploring my ability to make tasty rice and pasta dishes with minimal effort. When it comes to pasta, the more cheese, the better, so Parmesan cheese is always in my pantry. Now, vegans and others following a dairy-free diet can also enjoy the cheesy, umami flavor of Parmesan with Parma! Vegan Parmesan seasoning.

parma side by side photo by gail worley
See The Goodness. Left: Garlicky Green Parma, Right: Regular Parma

The folks at Sister River Foods, makers of Parma! recently sent me two different varieties of this versatile seasoning blend to review for the blog, and I can’t believe how much I love it. Parma is the original plant-based parmesan; a dairy-free, protein-rich condiment ideal for use on pasta, pizza, salad, vegetables, popcorn, avocado toast and most other main dishes and savory foods. Parma is made from only natural ingredients including superfoods such as nutritional yeast, Himalayan crystal salt, organic sunflower seeds (clearly identifiable in the above photo) and organic hemp seeds, among other healthy ingredients.

Parma! Comes in Four Varieties, Including:

parma original bottle photo by gail worley

Original Parma! – Featuring an irresistibly cheesey umami flavor. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds.

parma garlicky green bottle photo by gail worley

Garlicky Green Parma! – Distinguished by a cheesey umami Italian herb flavour complemented by nutritiously delicious kelp, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Garlic, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Kelp Powder, Organic Dried Basil, Organic Dried Oregano.

And two more I would love try!

Better Than Bacon Parma! – Voted Favorite Bacon Flavored Product by VegNews and featuring a smokey cheesey umami bacon flavor. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Ground Paprika, Organic Dried Onion, Natural Flavor, Organic Brown Sugar, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Smoked Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds.

Chipotle Cayenne Parma! – Blessed with a smokey umami flavor akin to the most popular barbeque potato chips, with a slight cayenne kick at the end. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Organic Ground Chipotle Pepper, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Ground Cayenne Pepper.

pasta with parma photo by gail worley

A generous dusting of Garlicky Green Parma! on hot pasta elevates the flavor of your favorite sauce, and creates an exciting contrast of textures as the crunchy seeds mix with the tender pasta. Absolutely delicious.

breakfast with parma photo by gail worley

Here, I have seasoned my breakfast of a cheese omelet and a scoop of cottage cheese with Original Parma! The Parma! was especially helpful in adding much-needed flavor enhancement to the cottage cheese, because I had accidentally purchased the unsalted variety — which otherwise, honestly, tastes of nothing. Thanks, Parma!

Founded in 2004, Parma! has steadily grown to its current status as a leader in the dairy-free cheese alternative arena and a key player in the multi-billion-dollar global vegan food category. Looking back on the origins of the Parma! brand, Sister River Foods’ co-founder and CEO Shannon Schnibbe recalls that it all started as the result of her severe allergies and effort to find foods that might give her relief. Introduced to raw foods, she was soon inspired to begin making what is now Parma! for herself, friends and family. After moving to Oregon and becoming pregnant with her first baby, Shannon decided to combine her passion for healthy eating with her corporate experience and turn her hobby into an actual business. The vegan parmesan revolution had begun!

Find Out more about Parma! and Sister River Foods, plus get Delicious Recipes, at This Link!

veggies with parma photo by gail worley
Perk Up Frozen Veggies with a Dash of Parma!

Copper Branch Brings Delicious Plant-Based Cuisine To NYC’s Greenwich Village

Copper Branch Store Exterior
Above Image Courtesy of Scout 22 PR. All Other Photos By Gail, Except Where Noted 

New York City knows how to do food. No matter what type of cuisine you’re craving, finding a great restaurant is easy. But when you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might end up settling for a place that offers just a few meatless choices, rather than walking into a restaurant where you can enjoy every dish on the menu. And while there’s a Sweet Green or Chop’t on nearly every block, it’s challenging to find a healthy, quick lunch alternative when you are tired of eating salad. This is why the NYC arrival of vegan restaurant chain Copper Branch is cause for genuine excitement!

Bianca Andreescu Endorsement
Celebrity Endorsed!

Copper Branch was founded in 2014 and currently has 50 locations across Canada (and six in Europe), but the chain’s new store in NYC marks its first US location. In mid-September, just a few days after the store opened, I was invited to a private tasting at Copper Branch where guests had the chance to taste not only bite-size samples of many popular menu items, but were also invited to order anything on the menu that we wanted to try. As a confirmed meat-eater myself, what I discovered is that Copper Branch is about so much more than veggie burgers and tofu: this is vegan food that even a die-hard carnivore can get enthusiastic about. Check out just a few of the items offered on Copper Branch‘s very extensive, all plant-based menu.

Mushroom Galaxy Burger

The satisfying Mushroom Galaxy Burger starts with an oven-roasted portobello mushroom, which is topped with zucchini slices, carmelized onions, vegan provolone cheese, lettuce and aioli sauce. All burgers and sandwiches are served on your choice of organic kamut (an ancient variety of wheat) or gluten-free bun, collard green wrap or organic spelt wrap.

Copper Beet Burger Bites

Copper Branch also offers a delicious Spicy Black Bean Burger (which I tasted but neglected to photograph) and a Beet Burger, bites of which are pictured above. I love beets, so I really enjoyed this item, which is served as a patty comprised of beets, organic brown rice, pea protein, sesame seeds organic hemp seeds, sunflowers seeds and lemon juice. These sample bites were dressed as the burger is, with sprouts, caramelized onions, shredded lettuce and Dijon and maple ‘vegenaise.’ I would definitely go back for this burger alone!

Beet Hummus Ad

Beet fans can also enjoy organic Beet Hummus served with house-made Blue Corn Chips!

Shiitake Teriyaki Sandwich Bites

I know there’s a lot of greenery here but underneath fresh lettuce, sprouts and tomatoes is one of Copper Branch‘s tasty specialties: Shiitake Teriyaki Mushrooms, which can be served as a Sandwich or a Burger. The taste and texture is comparable to teriyaki chicken.

Zucchini Noodles with Coppernata

Pictured above is a bite-size tasting of the Zucchini Noodles with Italian-inspired ‘Coppernata‘, a take on Caponata, the delicious Sicilian eggplant dish. This combination is available in one of the Signature Bowls for a hearty, healthy vegan meal that you won’t find anywhere else in the city!

Nachos

Do you like Nachos? Who doesn’t!  Featuring black beans, vegan cheese, jalapeños, olives, tomatoes, vegan sour cream and guacamole piled onto organic blue corn chips, at Copper Branch, you can enjoy this Mexican favorite guilt-free!

Spicy Buffalo Wings

Soy-based Spicy Buffalo Wings (served with sriracha cole slaw and a choice of dipping sauces) could please the most discerning palate. They taste just like your favorite spicy wings and they even look like chicken on the inside.

Spicy Buffalo Wings

Mmm, chicken-y.

Sweet Potato Copper Cubes

Also on the menu are oven-baked Copper Cubes (made with white potatoes) and Sweet Potato Copper Cubes as a popular and health-conscious alternative to french fries.

Asian Fusion Bowl with Tofu Scramble

You can make you own bowl or choose from a selection of Copper Branch‘s own creations, such as the Asian Fusion Bowl seen above, which features edamame salad, organic kimchi, lettuce, beets, spiced chickpeas, carrots, broccoli and non-GMO General Tao sauce. The bowl above was customized with the addition of Tofu Scramble.

Copper Branch Waffles
Image Courtesy of Scout 22 PR

A breakfast menu, featuring Copper Branch Blueberry Cocoa Waffles, is served all day!

Copper Branch Meal
Image Courtesy of Scout 22 PR

Copper Branch will cater your next event or office party!

Chocolate Zucchini Brownie

There’s also a selection of house-made vegan desserts, like this most and decadent Chocolate Zucchini Brownie!

And now, dear readers a Special Offer: To further celebrate Copper Branch‘s New York City location, the restaurant is offering a FREE General Copper Bowl or a Black Bean Burger — two of their most popular  menu items — to both new and repeat customers at the Greenwich Village location for one day only! The General Copper Bowl is a  specialty that features General Tao tofu, fresh avocado, sriracha coleslaw, steamed broccoli and organic brown rice. The Black Bean Burger is a classic, featuring a black bean and sweet potato patty, tomato, lettuce, vegan Southwest sauce, all on an organic Kamut bun. This special promotion will be held all day on Friday, October 25th, 2019. Store hours are 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The offer is valid for one item  per customer and it cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Tell them Worleygig.com sent you!

Copper Branch NYC is Located at 195 Bleecker Street (Between 6th Avenue and Macdougal), in New York’s Greenwich Village. For More Locations, Menus and Other Details, Visit Eat Copper Branch Dot Com.

Watch a Video from the Opening Night Event!

Copper Branch Menu

The Quest for the Perfect Cheeseburger Begins and Ends With Jarlsberg Cheese!

Jarsleberg Burger Trio
All Burger Images Courtesy of Jarlsberg

This summer, Jarlsberg launched its second annual Global Burger Awareness campaign, starring two of everyone’s summer favorites: Burgers and Cheese. As part of the campaign, Internationally acclaimed chef Elizabeth Haigh, who is considered to be one of the brightest shining stars on the London culinary scene, created four burger recipes, each with an essential story: the Northern Temptation, Nutty Mushroom Melt, Orient Cheese Express and the Korean Hot Bite.

Jarlsberg Cheese Board
Photo By Gail

The Global Burger Awareness campaign hit stores and social media, showcasing the excitement and versatility of Jarlsberg Cheese. While the campaign has officially ended, the burgers live on. Check out these international beauties!

Jarlsberg Northern Temptation Burger

The Northern Temptation  Burger, based on an exotic Swedish recipe, features regionally specific ingredients such as thinly sliced Reindeer meat, freshly Pickled Chanterelles and Lingonberries. Find the recipe Here.

Nutty Mushroom Melt Burger

The Nutty Mushroom Melt is a Vegetarian, mushroom-based burger with Jarlsberg double layered on the patty and the bun, for extra melty goodness. In addition to mushrooms, the vegetarian patty includes black beans, walnuts and rice, and the recipe also includes step-by-step directions for making your own pickles to top the burger. Check out the super easy-to-follow recipe Here.

Korean Hot Bite Burger

Are you craving a burger with little extra kick? Try the Korean Hot Bite; a seitan-based veggie burger with melted Jarlsberg that’s first coated in a seasoned-flour mixture — that includes pulverized ramen noodles —  and then fried to a crispy finish! Top with Vegan Kimchi, et voila! Recipe Here!

Orient Cheese Express Burger

Homemade Gochujang Mayonnaise (with red chili paste) is a secret ingredient of the Orient Cheese Express Burger. This is a juicy beef burger that you can make with or without added bone marrow. Find the recipe Here.

Enjoy, and thanks to Jarlsberg for the delicious cheese featured in this post!

Product Review: Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes

Garden-Lites Logo
Above Image Source, All Other Photos By Gail

Being a single, working woman means that I am all about convenience foods. With so many options available to shoppers, I know that I can count on finding delicious meals in the grocer’s freezer section that will go from the package to my plate in about 30 minutes, but I also want to eat food that’s healthy. That said, the ideal frozen entree should fill me up, but not fill me out, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Packaging

For all of those (and so many other) reasons, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are a terrific way for convenience-seekers to eat smart. Part of the Garden Lites line of vegetable-forward products that include muffins, waffles and entrees, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are an easy way to create a tasty, meatless meal that anyone who saw it would think you spent hours cooking.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake With Packaging

For this review I tried three different varieties of Vegetable Bakes: Cheddar Broccoli (seen above), Zucchini, and Roasted Vegetable. Each vegetable bake comes in its own baking dish and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to bake thoroughly, which gives you time to open a bottle of wine and make a pot of rice, if you choose — which I did.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Back of Packaging

When fully cooked, Vegetable Bakes are similar in consistency and mouth-feel to a very vegetable-dense quiche or frittata, where eggs have been added only to bind the ingredients together. Therefore it’s understood that these dishes, while vegetarian-friendly, are not vegan, due to having whole eggs or egg whites as an ingredient.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Cooked

Here it is, just out of the oven, and you can see that the cheese has browned nicely!

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Serving Suggestion

It looks amazing, doesn’t it?

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Ready to Eat

Broccoli Cheddar Bake is a delicious and nutritious dish that is loaded with healthy, superfood ingredients like broccoli, onions, brown rice, and select spices, topped off with cheddar cheese.  Like all of the Vegetable Bakes, it is gluten free, Non-GMO and kosher, as well as being free of peanuts, tree nuts and soy. The full portion clocks in at just 210 calories and 7 Weight Watcher Smart Points. If you wanted to serve this as a side dish, it could easily feed two people.

Roasted Vegetable Bake Packaging

About a week after enjoying the Cheddar Broccoli Bake, I tried the Roasted Vegetable Bake. This dish is filled with tender carrots, broccoli, onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and potato, seasoned with assorted spices including black pepper and garlic salt. The Roasted Vegetable Bake is just 150 calories (wow!) and will set you back 5 Weight Watchers Smart Points. Check out all of those veggies!

Roasted Vegetable Bake Over Rice

I put some cheese on it as well!

Roasted Vegetable Bake With Cheese

There is no such thing as too much cheese.

Zucchini Bake Packaging

Last, but not least, I tried the Zucchini Bake. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and it makes everything that it touches taste better: this Vegetable Bake being no exception to that rule. Here, everyone’s favorite summer squash is combined with cauliflower, onions and  potatoes, as well as eggs, and a select seasoning mix for a farm-to-table dining experience.

Zucchini Bake over Rice

Here it is served over rice with a generous grating of sharp cheddar cheese, for just 150 calories and 5 Weight Watchers Points. A satisfying, delicious and low calorie meal that’s healthy and convenient: Win Win Win!

Find a store near you that sells Garden Lites products and get a money-saving coupon to use on your next purchase at This Link!

Vatan Indian Restaurant Offers All You Can Eat Vegetarian Feast in an Authentic Setting!

Table and Menu
All Photos By Gail

One of the most enjoyable parts of dining in an Indian restaurant, especially if you possess an adventurous palate, is the experience of being able to taste many different dishes as part of one meal. If I am looking for an incentive to step beyond the comfort zone of my ‘stand by’ favorites, and the quality of the food is still reputably high, I might check out a place that has unique decor, or that features the dishes of a region or state whose food I haven’t yet tasted — because all Indian cuisine is definitely not the same.

Entry Hall

I was recently offered the opportunity to visit Vatan, a Vegetarian Indian Restaurant in Kips Bay which specializes in Gujarati cuisine. A little bit of Googling told me that Gujarat is a state on the western coastline of India, with a strong influence of Jain culture and philosophy, which explains why Vatan favors purely vegetarian dishes.  Vatan is also distinct for its  prix fixe dinner, which includes a thali-style arrangement (many servings of various foods all served together on a large silver platter) of appetizers and condiments, followed by a thali-style main course array, including bread, followed by dessert. The price is $34 per person and it includes all you can eat of any featured dish from any of the three courses. Exciting!

Left Side of Dining Room with Tree

As soon as you enter Vatan, it is clear that you will be dining in an immersive atmosphere unlike other Indian establishments in Manhattan. Vatan’s cozy main dining area emulates the look of a beautiful open courtyard, so you will almost feel that you are dining outside. There is even a tall, leafy tree in the center of the room, whose branches spread out across the ceiling. If you look closely, up high you will see a couple of monkeys perched among the leaves, ready to playfully pelt you with an orange! Just kidding, of course, but it does look that way!

Monkey in Tree
“Hi, There!”

Interior Courtyard Shot

Interior View with Ganesha

Two seating options are offered for your optimal comfort: you can either remove your shoes and sit cross-legged, or sit western style.

Ganesha

The focal point of the dining room has to be this glowing red monumental figure of Ganesha, the Elephant-headed God who is the Remover of Obstacles. It is really captivating!

Mural Indian Lady

The walls also feature may colorful murals like the one above, which is just outside the kitchen, and the mural  below, which was adjacent to our table.

Dining Room Mural

All of the staff are dressed in beautifully-detailed, traditional costumes, which gives the experience an even more immersive and authentic feel.

Merlot

Our server arrived promptly to take our drink order (beverages are not included the fixed price), and they do have both beer and wine on offer. I ordered a glass of this lovely, full-bodied Merlot, which provided a nice complement to the spicy food. Menus are not really necessary, since Vatan serves a fixed fare (though you can choose a vegan, or gluten-free option), but they do have a few specialty sides, which are available for an additional charge. With the Entree Thali, you also have the choice of your preferred degree of spiciness. I opted for mild (which trust me, was still quite spicy) while my dining companion went with medium spiciness.

Appetizer Thali
Appetizer Thali and Condiments

When our appetizer course arrived, our server took a few moments to describe the ingredients in each dish, as well as brief details of how each was prepared (boiled, fried etc). She even offered suggestions as to which condiments went best with which appetizers, or main course dishes. The service was truly impeccable throughout the meal. Here’s a description of everything on the Appetizer Thali:

Chana Masala (Chickpeas With Onions And Coriander)

Khaman (Puffed Cream Of Wheat Flour Cakes)

Muthia (Steamed Flour With Spinach)

Mirchi Bhajia (Fried Hot Peppers With Garam Masala)

Batatavada (Fried Potato Balls In A Chickpea Flour Batter)

Ragda Patis (Potato Cutlet In A White Bean Sauce)

Sev Puri (Potatoes, Garbanzo Beans, Yogurt, And Chutney Filled In A Crispy Bread)

Samosa (Triangular Savory Pastries Filled With Spicy Potatoes And Green Peas)

Despite what you may be “used to” when dining out, I encourage you to just surrender to this unique experience. You may be tempted to ask for bread and raita (popular cucumber yogurt dip), since many Indian restaurants serve those items with the appetizer course, but sit tight, because that’s coming up.

Appetizer Thali

Detail shot of the Chana Masala (foreground), Muthia (right rear), Khaman (left front ) and Batatavada (left rear).

I enjoyed every dish on my tray, though I did offer my hot pepper to my friend, since I did not want to tempt fate. We were asked if we would like seconds of anything, but not knowing how much food was still coming, we declined.

Entree Thali 1

The Entree Thali arrived next, and it was just as beautiful as the previous tray. Here’s what we ate, as seen in the photo above:

Toor Dal (Boiled Lentils Cooked With Indian Spices)

Bhaji (Sautéed Spinach And Corn)

Ful-Cobi (Cauliflower And Green Peas Sautéed In A Savory Sauce)

Batakanu Sak (Potatoes Cooked In A Mild Red Gravy)

Chole (Chickpeas Cooked With Garam Masala)

Puri/Roti (Puffed Whole Wheat Bread/Whole Wheat Flatbread)

Papadam (Thin Lentil Wafers)

Kheer (Rice Pudding With Dry Fruits)

Aam Rus (Mango Soup)

It is not uncommon in Gujarati cuisine to have both savory and sweet dishes in the same course, such as the entree dishes of Rice Pudding and Mango Soup, which I enjoyed mixing together in a single bite.

Entree Thali 2

The little puffed Puri breads are ideal for holding small bites of food and making little tacos with them. Super tasty, and also, fun!

Rice and Yogurt Soup

Because you are not quite exploding just yet, they also bring you delicious Entree Complements (Seen Above):

Pulao (Boiled White Rice With Peas)

Khichdi (Lentils Mixed With Rice And Assorted Vegetables)

Kadhi (Soup With Yogurt And Chickpea Flour In Authentic Spices), which is similar to Raita, and which we shared for use as a sauce to cool the fire of the spicier dishes.

Roti Plus Two Dishes
Roti Flat Bread

Everything was delicious.

Indian Ice Cream

After a short break to let our food ‘settle’ a bit, it was time for the final Dessert And Chai course, consisting of mango and one other flavor of Homemade Indian Ice Cream, which we split evenly.

Gulub Jamun

There is also Gulab Jamun , a warm Donut Ball in a Sugar and Rose Syrup, which I just added to my ice cream because I thought would be more fun, and it was.

Masala Chai

Masala Chai is a sweet Indian Tea with Cardamom, Ginger and Milk; the perfect ending to a perfect meal. While we were advised that we could have as much as we wanted of everything, frankly, the cumulative portions served were very generous. The fixed price menu is an excellent value and I could not possibly have eaten one more bite. .We really enjoyed our evening at Vatan, and I am looking forward to returning for future visits with new friends!

Indian Lady Artwork

Vatan is Located at 409 3rd Avenue (Between 28th and 29th Streets), in the Kips Bay Neighborhood, New York City. Visit Vatan NY Dot Com for more Information and to Make a Reservation.

Vatan Signage Elephant

Product Review: Cucina & Amore Ready-to-Eat Farro Meals!

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal
All Photos By Gail

Farro is an ancient whole wheat grain that, along with grains like Quinoa, is enjoying a rise in popularity (although it’s been around for thousands of years). Not only does Farro taste great — it’s also very good for your health; being an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Before it’s cooked, Farro looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley. It’s a small, light-brown grain with a noticeable outer layer of bran. Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and unique, chewy texture.

Grilled Vegetables and Herbs

At Cucina & AmoreKitchen of Love, they are giving this an old world cuisine a modern twist. Cucina & Amore’s new ready-to-eat Farro Meals leave even the busiest person with no excuse to skip lunch, because each healthy and tasty meal is fully cooked and ready to eat! The meals taste great served chilled or at room temperature, but they are packaged in microwave-safe containers if you wish to heat yours up in the office microwave. They even come with their own spoon! Preservative and GMO-free, these farro meals are packed with nutrients to keep you energized during your long day.

Farro Meals include both farro and red and white quinoa, and they available in three different flavors: Artichoke, Lemon & Roasted Garlic, Grilled Vegetables & Herbs (with a medley of eggplant, zucchini, & artichoke), and Roasted Peppers & Artichoke.

Box Top

Recently, I made the Artichoke, Lemon & Roasted Garlic farro meal for a quick lunch while I was home blogging. Here’s what the farro meal looks like during easy preparation.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Preparation

While the cup holding the grains is deep and roomy enough to hold the vegetables, I used a separate bowl to mix and eat from to give you a better view of the ingredients.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Preparation

Here’s everything in one bowl before mixing. You can see the nice-sized pieces of artichoke and red pepper, which is marinated in a garlic, oil and lemon juice, and seasoned with salt, peeper and parsley for a fresh, light taste.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Ready to Eat

Co-workers will think you’re eating a delicious Mediterranean dish that you cooked and brought from home. Farro Meal  are shelf stable to they are perfect to take on-the-go, and so quick to prepare if you only have a short lunch break. Delicious, healthy and super easy!  Kitchen of Love’s new Farro Meals and other fine products are available at grocery stores nationwide. To find a store in your neighborhood visit This Link!

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Packaging

Diary of Indignities and a Holiday Rant About Vegetarians

Diary of Indignties
Diary of Indignities = Good Reading!

I just started reading Patrick Hughes’ completely hilarious memoir, Diary of Indignities, a copy of which I strongly recommend you pick up if you, like me, enjoy laughing your ass off at other peoples’ ridiculous misfortune.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a chapter where Patrick talks about the various negative and super annoying characteristics of vegetarians, and how the behavior of said vegetarians tends to alienate everyone around them. I can relate because I once had a close friend who claimed to be vegetarian because it was such a healthy life style. And yet she had no issue with the fact that she was a chemically dependent, bipolar, chain-smoking mess who had been in therapy for ten years.

So, yeah, she was insane on top of being a militant vegetarian, and maybe she shouldn’t have been condescending to chastise me about eating a few slices of bacon on a nice juicy burger. Mmm…burger.

But I digress. Here’s an entertaining passage from that chapter of Hughes’ hilarious book:

“I was a vegetarian for more than a decade. My crazy mom decreed us so when I was eleven or twelve, and I just sort of eventually went along with it. As my mom no doubt knew, being vegetarian was a good way to get attention and act all self-righteous and morally superior. When you’re vegetarian, everyone has to fuss over you, make special plans. When they don’t it gives you an excuse to sulk, especially during Thanksgiving or Christmas, when the rest of the family has eleven different dishes they can eat and you only have two, corn and cranberry sauce, and you know this because you sat there and counted.

And you can get even sulkier when nobody pays attention to you mewling out questions like, ‘Was this corn boiled in ham water?’ Because they’re all too busy eating delicious regular food to care. Also, when you’re vegetarian you always get to decide where to go eat, because the place all the normal people want to go, the place with “BBQ” in its name, ‘Doesn’t have anything you can eat.’ That’s a funny word, can.”

Yeah! It is so totally true that when you’re trying to decide what restaurant to go to with a group, and somebody in the group is a vegetarian, you have to surrender the restaurant choice to the food Nazi, which is totally unfair and means you can’t go anywhere good. Like these people forget that it’s a choice to not eat normal food.

I always used to say to my crazy ex-best friend that if it was so difficult for her to find stuff she could eat (because she was a particular kind of vegetarian who did not really like vegetables – crazy!) she should perhaps “investigate adding more stuff to [her] diet.” Duh.

She would also not allow her saint of a husband to eat meat in front of her.

Despite the fact that Psycho Vegan dumped my ass as a friend because I, honestly, forgot to buy her one year old son a birthday present, being as his birthday fell at a time when I was basically living hand to mouth as a starving Rock Critic and had to often choose between buying food and paying my electric bill, at least my painful experience with her taught me a valuable lesson: don’t be friends with crazy people who are also vegetarians. Because they will add zero value to your life.