Surprise: I’m not a vegetarian

Surprise: I’m not a vegetarian



I don’t know if it’s my short hair or thrift store wardrobe, but some of my co-workers at the Writing Center told me I look like a vegetarian Thursday.

What does that even mean? Apparently I didn’t get the memo a person’s appearance is the best indicator of his/her diet. Not that I haven’t been guilty of this myself, retweeting jokes about vegans and their cruelty-free lifestyles.

Call me crass, but I think it’s cruel to deprive oneself of cheese. Still, I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone based on his or her diet.

Unless you have some bad habit like the boy my brother roomed with at basketball camp who insisted on topping his Fritos chips with ABC cheese – that stuff’s nasty.

And in all honesty Nate and Steveo, I thought it was funny you’d pin me down as a vegetarian. Because I hate cooking meat for one person.

But, the sad truth remains I am not a vegetarian. I probably eat more chicken than a white meat expert would allow and I make a mean modified version of my great grandma’s meatballs.

(Substitute the breadcrumbs for real bread — preferably stale — thank me later.)

Most Tuesday nights, we order pizza for The Gannon Knight staff and I’m often occupied with a slice of Porky’s bacon chicken ranch — food of the gods.

But what are you supposed to eat when you can’t order Porky’s and you’re stuck with a college budget?

One of the most college “vegetarian” staples I turn to is black beans and rice. Steam your rice. Top with a can of beans and Frank’s red hot. No, it’s not anything a sane person would order at a restaurant or probably cook for themselves, but it’s a lot faster than making a whole pot of jambalaya for yourself.

And it’s cheap – 79 cents for a can of beans and probably $3.99 for a large box of rice at Wal-Mart.

And if you’re feeling more festive than beans and rice alone, you can add stir-fried vegetables and cheese. Glorious cheese.

A good Italian variation of the beans and rice staple is cannellini beans, canned or fresh tomatoes, sautéed spinach and leftover meatballs.

Unfortunately, you probably need a real stove to cook these sort of dishes, but you can do rice in the microwave. Try the Uncle Ben’s that steams in the bag and heat up your beans in a microwave-safe bowl if that’s all resources allow you.

Having a kitchen to share with my roommates for the past three years has allowed me to cook things beyond the John Ghering toss-it-and-forget-it casserole. As much as I hate to admit to myself, I enjoy the mundane work of the kitchen.

Washing dishes is one of the most ideal busywork tasks where you can let your mind wander and forget about the rest of the world. Cooking, on the other hand, is a little more exciting because it’s a creative process where you can be part of something new.

Or not. Since I found a strong foundation in beans and rice, the only thing left to do is find a version that Jason likes. If I could just find an adaptation that includes chicken and biscuits, I’d be set.

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