Seitan, Smart Balance, and Sparks
By Lydia on March 1, 2009 10:55 AM| | Comments (2)
I am exhausted. I just spent the last month driving around the south with my boyfriend, staying at friend's houses, cooking them dinner, being shown sights and entertained. It sounds lovely and romantic, and yet I am so so pleased to be home again with unromantic things like kitties and tv and no obligation to talk to people. That said, it was a good trip, and I have a lot to tell you about. Numbered sections help me organize myself so we'll start with

1.) The phenomenon of people who are "health-conscious."  These people will talk a great deal about how sick it is to eat fast food like Popeye's and Chick-fil-A, they rarely eat meat, and they eat strange and confusing "health food." Sorry, guys, I do not understand eating Smart Balance instead of butter. Margarine products not only taste thin, chemically, and meager, they are in no way better for you than plain old butter. Trans-fats aside, they are purely chemical in makeup, and I cannot hold with such nonsense. Eat real food, and if you need so much butter its going to make you sick, perhaps you should cool it a little and have jam with your toast for a change. (Also, fried chicken is delicious, and if you have a 15 hour drive you owe yourself some good ole fashion torture-bred, oil clogged, good eatin' chikin and biscut.)

2.) Seitan: food of happiness. Staying in Athens, GA, we had the good fortune to have homemade seitan "cuban sandwiches." Some of you may know my dislike of what I call "willfully vegan" food. I cook a lot, most of what I cook happens to be vegan, but this doesnt mean I want faux-meat versions of favorite foods flying about. Vegan Philly Cheesesteak? Vegan Alfredo Sauce? I am silmultaneously shuddering and gagging while writing. Ashley's sandwiches though, were way too good to be called vegan cuban. The seitan was handmade by Ashley the day before, and seasoned with salt and pepper and spices. The bread was crusty and generous and together with tomato and lettuce they were so good I was picking up little bits of seitan with my fingers. Lovely on the whole.

3.) Savannah, GA. Pizza. After a day of driving, and a little too much driving about the city aimlessly, we got ourselves checked into a hostel and were soon on bikes, looking for food. What we found was some truly excellent pizza. This was crispy dough, fresh-tasting sauce, and fresh(!) mushrooms. And, no, this was not some hoity-toity boutique pizza for 20 bucks a medium; this was good, fresh, honest pizza, and I loved it. Where the hell is this pizza in GRapids? Are you people just not telling me?

4.) The True and Enduring Horror of Staying With Other People's Families. Florida, that 80degree wasteland of "Active Senior Trailer Retirement Communities" was a new level of hell for me, somewhere between watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" and the lecture portion of Drivers Ed. Ted and I did, however, become quite the connesieurs of Sparks brand energy/malt liquor, and we had some interesting meals. For the uninitiated, Sparks +/- is a lothesome beverage that tastes, depending on which "flavor" you get, more or less like rancid orange sweet tarts. I think all the "flavors" are orange, but one is orange orange and the other is black orange. Black orange is 7% alcohol instead of 6%, and tastes less like low-grade fermented sugar by-product.

Speaking of orange, the citrus groves were pretty neat, if boring in the manner of lovely fields of corn after the first excitement wore off. Ted and I stopped at the Orange Ring, and got a huge bag of oranges, grapefruits and tangerines for some incredibly cheap price, and ended up using some tangerine in a really nice sweet and sour pork. We fried up little niblets of pork in a pan and put it aside, then in the same pan sauteed some chopped onion, garlic and ginger, the de-pithed tangerine and some soy sauce. The pork went back into the pan to warm it up, and we served it with left-over peanut noodles. Yum.

I'll spare you the details of someone's crock pot chicken and condensed soup, and please stay tuned for the next installment, Lydia Goes to Mardi Gras and All She Drank Was Daquiri.

This trip was seriously lacking in Midwestern stops! And, by that, I mean Chicago. Wha' happened?

I'm coming to town mid-March to get my car fixed and go to Ann Arbor and pretend I'm already in law school with a bunch of other kids doing the same. Weird. But, I hope you've has some time on the 21st or 22nd to hang out with me!

First, I just want to say that I love your blog. It's made me laugh out loud several times this morning and it's my first visit to it. On the topic of pizza, I highly recommend Brick Road Pizza on Wealthy just east of Diamond. It's fantasitc! They also have a whole portion of the menu dedicated to vegan yumminess. Being a vegan myself, this find made me fell like a kid on her first trip to Disney World. They have a lunch buffet and they deliver.