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Personal essays

Recommit - Essay from Newsletter 85

Where you are

College choice

I’ve been amazed at how many people end up at the college where they belong.

With all of the angst around applying to schools and picking a stretch school and a safety school, it just seems that even though many people don’t get into the school they think they should get into - almost all of them seem to get into a school that they are happy to be a part of.

Kevin disagrees.

He thinks that people adapt to the school where they end up.

We may be saying the same thing, but if I understand his point - he thinks that people work to make the school they attend into the best situation.

As he puts it, “people fit themselves to where they are.”

For those of you who remember Word Jazz - you have to read that line in Ken Nordine’s voice as, “it’s where you are… yeah.”

Fake meat

I love the “Fortunately” podcast and they discussed the other side of this which may be more of “people don’t let themselves move on from where they are.”

A couple of weeks ago they talked about men and women who find themselves repeating the sort of relationships they’ve had in the past - seeking out the same types of people whether for good or for bad.

That wasn’t, however, the point of their observation.

They were more interested in why vegetarians ate fake meat products. Is it just wanting to eat the food you’re familiar with even though you’re no longer eating meat.

Is dating the same sort of person just looking for the familiar once your ex or former is no longer available.

I have to say, the food observation meant more to me than the people one.

This past summer I got a recipe for making a hot dog from a carrot.

It tasted very similar and in a bun with all the fixings it wasn’t that different - but it’s clearly not the best thing one can do with a carrot.

Bittman’s veggie burger recipes are very good - but nothing has satisfied me as much as broiled or grilled mushrooms on a bun. It feels more meaty than any meat substitute I’ve tried.

I get the desire for meat-like meals. When Kim and I would go to the food co-op, whe would choose a spinach pie and I would try their veggie shepherd’s pie.

“I don’t want to hear it,” she’d say. “You never like the veggie versions of meat meals.”

Comfort and Convenience

This week’s follow-up on “Fortunately” argued in favor of these substitutes.

The veggie burger allows a vegetarian to have choices at a restaurant, their listeners argued.

Another said that sometimes you want a sausage so you you can make a familiar dish like toad in the hole (well - familiar on that side of the Atlantic).

It’s the comfort and convenience of familiar tastes.

To me it’s the unfamiliar textures that put me off. Even worse, I remember early experiments with melting vegan cheese - perhaps things are better now but man were they awful.

The carrot hot dog was admittedly pretty good - but it took a lot of time and effort and in the end it was masquerading as - what some midwesterners refer to as - a tube steak.


I’ve bought quite a few cookbooks this year as I try to cook more seasonal vegetables.

I’ve embraced some new recipes and techniques but I’m still a meat eater who’s mostly not eating meat.

I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m fully embracing this lifestyle.

After a couple of months of a weight-loss plateau, it’s time to recommit to eating healthy.

This was not the school I thought I was going to.

I’m hoping that Kevin is right and I’ll soon fit in and have friends among veggie dishes.

For now, sweet potato and squash are still mocking me - reminding me I didn’t make it in to my first choice.

Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 85. [Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe]

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