A Vegan Year

Days 22 & 23: Fettuccine Alfredo

Days 22 & 23 Pic 1 Fettuccine Alfredo

Rob took a bite of this Fettuccine Alfredo (from Vegan Cooking with Love) and declared it the most delicious thing ever. A few mouthfuls later, he commented that it was maybe a little salty, and about two-thirds of the way through he apologetically pushed his plate aside and said he was stuffed—and this is from a bloke who always, always has three helpings of any pasta dish. So, yes, this is pretty intense. It definitely does a good job of recreating the creamy, cheesy decadence of your standard Alfredo, but the combination of salt, miso paste, and nutritional yeast was just a little overpowering for our apparently wussy palates. I made enough for two nights, but the second night we had a smaller portion and added a salad for some, ahem, light relief.

I’d make this again, but I’d go easy on the salt, miso, and nutritional yeast, and I’d add more mushrooms (the recipe suggested roasting them, but I just sautéed them and they were fine). Actually, I think I’d try another Alfredo first; this recipe is modified from one in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Vegan Table, but the latest edition of her The 30-Day Vegan Challenge has a new version that uses apple cider vinegar, and that sounds pretty good.

And speaking of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge—I highly recommend this book if you’re a new vegan looking for sensible, compassionate advice (and pictures of tuxedo cats). As well as recipes, it includes a ton of guidance on topics like eating affordably, dining out, and how to cope when your partner won’t go vegan. I found the section on whether humans really “crave” meat especially interesting:

Blood, guts, carcasses, and corpses disgust most of us, and I think it’s fair to say that no one sees “road kill” and starts planning lunch. When we see an animal who has been hit by a car, we tend to feel compassion rather than hunger. . . . Humans don’t crave the flesh, sinews, tendons, muscles, and blood of animals. Obligate carnivore, such as lions and other members of the cat family, do; indeed, they would die without animal flesh. Moreover, they don’t grapple with a moral dilemma or find themselves in an ethical quandary when they contemplate their meals. We do. Humans don’t see birds, squirrels, or cows and start salivating, but if you’ve ever watched a domestic cat react when a prey animal is in view, you’d know what it means to “crave” animal flesh. The cat lies down low and flits her tail; her teeth begin chattering and she makes a funny little chirping sound. Her eyes dilate, and she remains completely still and focused on her potential prey. Is that how you react when you see deer grazing on the side of the road or birds flying overhead? My guess is that you don’t. So, I repeat: we do not crave the flesh of other animals, but what we do “crave” is fat, salt, flavor, texture, and familiarity, and all of these are found in plant foods.

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