When I was 18, I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time … and I moved into my mother’s friends’ home. First of all, the very act of moving out of San Francisco broke a lot of my habits, so I got to develop some new habits. Second, since I was no longer living with my parents, I had more freedom … and more responsibility for taking care of myself.
Let’s back up a couple years.
During my later high school years, I became very conscious of the things I purchased and perceived environmental impacts. I was excessively proud of the fact that vegetarian diets have a lower environmental impact than the diet of the average American. When I did purchase sea animal flesh, I paid attention to the ‘Seafood Watch’ guide and felt very virtuous about being aware and avoiding the foods on the ‘red’ list (I still consumed some foods on the ‘yellow’ list). However, checking the list, weighing whether I really wanted a food so badly even though it was on the ‘yellow’ list … it’s a mental effort, and I found myself choosing to consume seafood less often simply to avoid the little dilemmas I set up for myself.
I did very little cooking as a high school student because I was busy with studies (I broke a record at my high school for the highest number of AP exams taken, I passed all of them, and I doubt that record has been broken since) and I had some time-intensive hobbies which weren’t cooking. On top of that, our kitchen was full of clutter and old cooking tools/equipment which barely worked. It’s not an inviting place for cooking.
Okay, let’s go forward again to when I was 18.
At first, I mostly just ate at restaurants near my new residence. But I couldn’t help but notice that I now lived in a house with a nice, shiny, clean kitchen, with equipment which worked well, and since it was hardly used, I could spend a lot of time there without inconveniencing anybody. So I got it into my head that this was a really good time to improve my cooking skills.
What I needed was a cookbook, and as a semi-vegetarian, I was obviously going to choose a vegetarian cookbook. So I looked through some vegetarian cookbooks … and was shocked by how many recipes called for milk and eggs.
I can’t say for sure why that bothered me at that time. I never fully examined why that put me off. I can make retroactive theories of why I reacted that way, but I can’t guarantee that they’re right. However, there was a simple way to avoid examining why I was put off by the thought of cooking with milk and eggs – just get a vegetarian cookbook which didn’t call for milk and eggs. In other words, I decided to avoid the situation by getting a vegan cookbook.
To be continued…