Brace yourselves; it’s gonna be a long one! It’s been a rough and tumble couple of vegan days over here.
Let’s start with Friday. Friday was a really good day, actually. It was my last day of having to get up early and go into the office, and the bank (I work for a bank, by the way) was cool enough to buy us all lunch. Now, I was super scared that “lunch” was going to mean pizza that I could stare forlornly at but not eat, but I was wrong.
Sidenote: I had decided early on not to mention my new dietary preferences because I didn’t want everyone to have to accommodate me.
What they ended up doing was letting us order whatever we wanted at Noodles & Company so I got Japanese Pan Noodles with Seasoned Tofu.
Another sidenote: I’m beginning to like tofu. I was certain I could never get past the texture. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong!
There were a few good natured jokes made about the fact that someone was eating tofu, but it was tasty. Their loss! Friday continued being good even after that because we all got an extended lunch which I used to take a walk around the city. I even lucked out and the sun was out the whole time!
I actually love Pittsburgh, even though I still prefer to work from home. Nothing beats listening to music of your choice while you work, while wearing yoga pants and a hoodie. I do miss being able to take scenic walks like this on my lunch break. It’s a trade off.
After work, I sat in rush hour traffic for the last time (for awhile anyways) and then came home and made vegan poutine. I was a little scarred of what vegan gravy would be like, but it was actually really good.
Sidenote Again: Vegan cheese is still gross. Next time I’m going to leave the cheese out. More on that later.
Moving on to Saturday, I followed through on my plan to drag my boyfriend to a vegan restaurant, so after I finished working my overtime shift, we headed out to Loving Hut for their Saturday vegan buffet.
This food made me love being a vegan. I literally don’t have enough words for how freaking delicious all of it was. (The boyfriend didn’t like much of it, but even he went back for seconds on the seitan pepper steak.)
Now, let’s talk about Sunday. Sunday was not a good day to be a vegan.
Having finally sampled seitan and discovering how versatile and delicious it can be, I decided to try making it. Twice, even.
I failed horribly both times. My first attempt was simmered seitan from one of the cook books I bought. It turned into inedible meat jelly. I think I didn’t knead it enough. The second time, I tried baking it from a recipe I found online. This time, the texture was closer to correct, but it wasn’t good at all.
Along with that seitan experiment, I attempted a version of vegan mac and cheese. It was also inedibly bad. Remember what I said about how I hate to waste food? Both seitan attempts and the vegan mac and cheese went straight in the garbage. (Also, an attempt at a vegan “cheezee” sauce from earlier in the day went straight in the garbage as well.)
Disclaimer: I have cooked long enough to know that not all recipes are winners. I would even go one further and say that sometimes you try something new and it fails so horribly that it ruins you for that particular food item for awhile.
I know seitan can be yummy. I just might not have that skill set and that makes me a little sad. The cheese thing is killing me though. I love cheese. I miss cheese. And I have yet to try a vegan alternative or substitute or creative hybrid that is not terrible.
I’ll be perfectly honest here. I sulked most of the night after these failed cooking attempts and wondered why I even thought I could do this vegan thing. I wanted to quit. I was close to quitting.
My boyfriend went to Hardee’s and came back with a bacon cheeseburger and a chicken sandwich and it just smelled so good. I watched him eat them while I forlornly nibbled the fries I asked him to get me, and I was just so close to jumping in the car and coming back with a burger and chicken sandwich of my own.
I didn’t though. I told myself it wasn’t the first time I’d made a bad recipe and that there were other things I had yet to try.
This morning I knew I needed a good breakfast to get my head back in the game. Something vegan and tasty that would make me feel better. So I made a waffle with a banana in place of the egg, used peanut butter as my topping, and I decided to try some of the “Gimme Lean” (Haha!) vegan breakfast sausage I dubiously bought a week ago.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m back in the saddle again. The sausage was better than I expected and at least I know I can buy seitan products even if I never acquire the skill to make it. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about the cheese thing, but at least I no longer feel hopeless about it.