Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Question of the Day #854

Many food allergies affect the family I cook for. So, yesterday, when I got the call saying that Mom's reading a book on Veganism, I started to hyperventilate.

"I think no dairy is crazy," she said.

I began to breathe again.

"But I think I'd like to try some vegetarian meals," she said. "What do you think we can have tonight?"

My brain was on page 18 of the customer service training manual I'd been writing about setting the right tone during customer calls. Not on vegetarian meals.

I had no words.

Do not let callers experience dead air. Set expectations regarding what you're doing, such as, "I'm going to do some research so I can better answer your question, so it may be quiet for a few moments, okay?"

"Um...uh..." I said.

"Um's" and "uh's" are symptoms of a lack of confidence.

1. Next time you answer a call, take note of how many times you say “uh” or “um.” Was it more or less than you expected?

2. How do you think “uh’s” and “um’s” make customers feel?

3. Make a point of consciously eliminating those symptoms of ill-confidence during future calls.

"Can I call you back?" I asked. It was the best could do.

Eventually, when I got my cooking head on, we settled on Eggplant Parmagiana. I made my Granny's recipe and it was delicious. But I'm a little worried. It's hard enough navigating the allergy land mines. Not being able to serve my clients meat may leave me recipe-less.

Which of course made me wonder about other people and their relationship with meat. How do you feel about meat? To eat or not to eat?



  1. I say eat meat if you know where it came from. Better yet if you killed it yourself. I eat meat, but I would like to be more conscientious of when/where/what. I've been vegetarian off and on over the years. Right now I'm "sparingly."

  2. I like meat on top of my meat - I say, cut up chewable pieces and have at it!!!
    Having said this, I do get concerned with all the genetic alterations we have been doing to cows, chickens etc. I understand you get more money for a 3lb chicken than a 2.5 lb'er, but just how big can you get a chicken to grow without it ever taking more than 5 steps in its life??? And what are the "cause & effects" LONG TERM?
    I'm not sure how it's going to pan out, or what is healthy or not. All I know is that I love eating steak, burgers, chicken, ribs, tri tip, roast bibst, turkey, fish, duck, venison, quail...now please pass the ham and the spicy mustard!

  3. Humans, as far as I know, are omnivores. I like food, all kinds of food. That includes meat. I do get "free range" meat, bird and eggs and wild caught salmon. For everything else I go as organic as I can.

  4. What a silly question. Of course I eat meat.:) I live on a farm. Of course it is all organic, and if I didn't have access to good pastured-raised organic beef and chicken, maybe I would reconsider my eating habits.

    I can't imagine one person being allergic to that many different foods. Seriously. Your question brought to mind an interesting article I just read in the newspaper about how farm kids have fewer allergies and less asthma than other kids, scientists think because being exposed to farm germs and good microbes strengthens the immune system by teaching the body what to attack and what to ignore. One in ten American children now have asthma and way too many of us have allergies.

  5. I always say that I'm on a twenty year vegetarian plan. First I gave up carnivores, like lions and wolves. That was pretty easy. Then baby animals like veal and lamb. Again, pretty easy. But I've been stuck on giving up pork for years. Eat it rarely, but still do occasionally. The next thing to go would be beef, and I just can't do it.

  6. I've been a vegetarian and wasn't getting enough lean protein. I've been a carnivore and my cholesterol is too high. I love chicken and turkey, with the occasional craving for a really good burger.

    I do worry about the way meat is produced for mass consumption. Since I used to work in a microbiology lab, I know WAY too much about Salmonella and E.coli

  7. I eat good meat, but I'm not inclined to eat it every day.

  8. Cauliflower steaks! YUM!
    Braised Diakon...also Delish!
    Also, Google "pressed salads" - Mmmm...Love those!!
    A good old fashioned grilled portabello is always a nice treat.
    There are some great vegan recipes in "The Kind Diet". (our dear friend SS has that book) Good Luck & Happy Vegan cooking!!

  9. I'm not anti-meat, I just often don't like the taste (specifically beef, chicken, turkey) although lately I am madly in love with lamb and duck. I make a lot of veggie meals - try lentils, quinoa, wheatberries, farro, and other grains. Cauliflower can mimic pasta and rice dishes - mashed cauliflower is amazing and I've made kinda shaved cauliflower which will come out like a fine grain. Mushrooms mimic meat and other more "substantial" foods (although if the Mom is allergic to so much mushrooms might be one of them). I am in love with portabello parm and portabello burgers. Speaking of burgers - there are tons of lentil or black bean based burgers, also chick pea burgers. Take a look at Indian cookbooks where you'll find LOTS of veggie inspiration.


Don't be shy! Please join our game of Questions.