Are you vegetarian? (Or vegan?) Do you ever feel that your dietary choices, while right for you personally, have excluded you in some way from your family's traditions? I read such a good piece at Gilt Taste today on this topic — I just had to share. Allegra Ben-Amotz shares a thoughtful, colorful piece on her experiences growing up as a third-generation Iranian-American, and as a vegetarian who would no longer eat fesenjan, her grandmother's duck stew. The writer shows goes beyond the simple, clichéd tensions of vegetarian child in a meat-eating family. This isn't just about meat and the convenience of making a meal that suits everyone; it's a look back on her struggle to become a cook, and to learn the way her grandmother cooked. Could she enter in to the treasured cooking of her heritage, find her way and her instincts, and still be a vegetarian?
Ben-Amotz's piece is really worth a read — whether you are vegetarian or not. It speaks to the experiences of food, culture, family, and memory. How do you grow up and become your own person while honoring the place you came from? How do you make your own way, with the tools of the past?