Cook the grossest thing you can find from a 50’s cookbook
So a little change had to be made to this adventure. After searching for recipes Lindsay realized that it is awfully difficult to find a recipe without dairy or gelatin from the 50’s and both her and her boyfriend are unable to eat dairy or gelatin. So what was our solution? Obviously, we had to veganize a 50’s recipe therefore making it the grossest thing. Here is what I made.
I have to admit something to you. I LOVE tuna casserole. I think it’s the most comforting, mushy, warm thing in the world and I love it. Jesse and I have been known to make a huge tuna casserole and eat all of it in one sitting (we try to only do this once a year). It’s so disgusting. But with this love in mind I decided to make vegan tuna casserole. I found a recipe here.
Another thing that should be said is that I’m an absolute omnivore. I eat it all. The only thing I feel totally weary of eating is foods that are one thing but claim to be another. Perhaps you can imagine then the shame, horror, confusion, embarrassment, disappointment, etc. I felt as I was purchasing soy milk, fake cheese, margarine and searching for fake fish. It all felt so wrong. Why am I buying this soy milk when there is organic locally produced whole milk right there for the same price? Why am I going to consume this insanely processed cheese that is all oil? How can people eat this and feel connected to the earth and its bounty? (these questions are rhetorical. I don’t want to have a conversation about why being vegan is the way with any of you. I am going to eat a pulled pork sandwich after I write this, so lets not even talk about it)
After bringing my groceries home it literally took me days before I could build up the courage to actually cook the casserole. It’s a simple enough recipe, cook pasta, make a sauce, combine pasta and sauce, and throw in oven. But every time I looked at the recipe I felt absolute dread. Would I make this recipe and then immediately throw it all out? Was I really willing to waste that much food?
Finally, this morning I made the f*cking recipe. I blasted the happiest music as loud as I could and I made the goddamn vegan tuna casserole. The sauce looked like this:
Mainly its soy milk, nutritional yeast and some flavored powders. Stirring the fake cheese into the mix was gross because it sort of acted like cheese in that it melted but it left my hands totally covered in grease. When I added the pasta and the tempeh that I used as my “tuna” it looked like this:
And that’s pretty much how it continued to look even after it came out of the oven.
I ate this “vuna casserole” as one of my friends named it while reading Mona Simpson’s editorial in the New York Times, “A sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs”. Can I tell you right now that this was the worst idea ever? It’s a beautiful editorial and you see Steve Jobs outside of the context of tech genius, as a loving and passionate man who cared deeply for the people around him and strived to create beauty in the world. Needless to say it made me cry. It made me cry right into my horrible “vuna casserole” and as big wet tears slid down my cheeks and into my “vuna casserole” I realized what it might feel to be the exact opposite of Steve Jobs. Self-repressive, sad, and willing to eat something brown and weirdly textured, thinking that it is somehow OK to only live life half way.
I don’t know what sort of meaningful conclusion I was hoping to reach at the end of this. All I can say is this: you should not make vegan tuna casserole; if it were up to me we would all eat the things we know are produced with love, passion, and care; and you should never read something incredibly moving and sad while eating something you know you will hate.
Now I need to try to get the feeling of gelatinous lead out of my stomach and head over to Fatted Calf for some primo omgisthisferreal pulled pork.
GO FORTH ADVENTURERS!!!