In her last column, Jess Fostekew talks about a surprising change to her diet.
I’ve always been omnivorous but I’ve always cared where my food comes from. Simon Amstell’s eye-wettingly funny film Carnage, without ever preaching, has been the straw that’s finally sipped the almond milk, for me.
I don’t have a problem with killing animals for food, per se. And yes, I reckon I could do it with my own hands. For me, it boils down to this: population growth is fucking terrifying and I have, knowing that and just for fun, added another adjective to it. Selfish. The least I can do is start eating in a way which minimises human impact on the environment. I don’t want my son to live in a Tank Girl theme park.
I do not respond well to absolute rules, so I am not a vegan. Yet. About 80 per cent. Most days I am and I try to only very rarely, if ever, require the existence of a cow. One friend who is doing the same said she started calling herself a ‘flexitarian’, but she had had to stop because she realised it had made her sound too much of a cunt.
Breakfasts have been lush. Pret’s porridge with coconut milk is the absolute nips. So creamy. At home, if I’m monster-starving for breakfast (almost all days) I’ve been doing a variety of fit things with avocados. I baked some wholemeal scones with coconut butter with smashed avocado on one (with seasoning and a squeeze of lime), beans on the other and a few thwacks of tabasco over the whole idiot. That’s a glorious feast. Works just as well with toast.
Between the internet and books called Thug Kitchen and Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Cook, I’ve been set. Thug’s blueberry, lavender and walnut rock scones are one of the best things I’ve ever made. Molten, moreish, warming and spongy with massive tangy bursts of sweet fruit.
I’ve made lovely rich, tomato-based sauces with pasta or jacket potatoes with olive oil drizzled in (and on). These obviously need some sort of cheese on the roof. I’m told Tyne Chease are the dons of dairy-free cheese efforts, but I’m yet to save up for that.
The best fake cheese I’ve tried is Violife Prosociano. I got it from my local deli. £6.75. I nearly puked all over the counter. Was it made with a dying child wizard’s last breath? On the one hand I want to rave about this stuff because it was delicious. It smelled lush, it melted nicely, it tasted not unlike parmesan, really it was incredible. But fuck. That’s too expensive. Eating ethically in a way that doesn’t leave you bereft of all pleasure (cheese-less) shouldn’t still be something you have to be minted to do.
On flashier nights I’ve made lovely big ramen soups full of noodles and veg. My favourite way to get the broth delicious though is with a shit-ton of chilli, so I can totally see why the shy-tongued might find this a bit bland.
Some lovely tricks I’ve learned for making tofu less turgid are to press and dry-fry or bake it before marinating it in big flavours. If it’s soaked up a curry sauce it’s like a note from a teacher to your mouth saying, ‘100 per cent, take a week off’. Or maybe some soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic and sesame oil. GET IN MY MOUTH.
“It’s batshit how quickly your buds adapt. I ate a bit of a Lindt milk chocolate bear and I felt like I was being waterboarded with cream.”
When I’ve been rushing, I’ve been guzzling supermarket fresh soups. M&S have a lush range, like chickpea and tomato, which sounds like water with lumps but is like a hearty inside-out cuddle. Glorious do a Vietnamese Supergreens one which is a veritable mouth party. But weirdly, I’ve had to be a bit careful there, too. Some that I wouldn’t have expected, like Co-op’s minestrone, have got milk in. Perverts.
Sainsbury’s ‘free-from’ milk chocolate tastes of pound shops, painkillers and bad nostalgia. But their chocolate brownies taste like a kiss on the back of the neck from David Tennant. In other words, it’s a lottery. The best chocolate I’ve tried has been a white chocolate bunny by Choices. I guess white chocolate being 99 per cent sugar makes it easier to fake.
I’m lucky though, in the sense that I love dark chocolate and lots is vegan. Pop me a bit of dark chocolate with sea salt or chilli in and I will tell you all my secrets. Even what happened with my housemate one night in 2002.
There are going to be days, most if not every week, where I’m still some sort of carnist. But it’s batshit how quickly your buds adapt. I ate a bit of a Lindt milk chocolate bear and I felt like I was being waterboarded with cream. That was only about a week into this.
I’m going into a new relationship with food and it’s off to a sexy start. Don’t force me to define it though because if you do I’ll have to be THAT person and click ‘it’s complicated’. It could be worse. I could say ‘flexitarian’.
Catch up with Jess’s previous Hooverings here.7245 Views
Jessica Fostekew is a writer, comedian, actor, law degree-waster, sister, daughter and beard-fan with an unabashed food infatuation.