Welcome to Bad Vegetarian! My name is Sara, and I have been a vegetarian since I was fifteen years old. I’ve always loved animals, and while I also loved meat once upon a time, I made the decision to commit to a vegetarian lifestyle and have, with the exception of a post-anesthesia demand for a BLT, never looked back. As I get older, however, and imagine a future in which I have a family, I don’t know what I’ll feed them. Or, more specifically, how I’ll feed them. Just because I’m a vegetarian does not mean I necessarily plan on marrying another vegetarian or making that decision for my children, but I really don’t have any experience cooking meat. In the interest of full disclosure, I really can’t cook anything, meat or otherwise. I don’t want to spend my whole life ordering takeout or making food that my family is afraid to eat. At this point, my options are to marry a chef who specializes in cooking for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike or learn to cook myself. While I cross my fingers that a handsome chef comes along, I am going to roll up my sleeves and learn how to cook meat like a carnivore. At the same time, I’m going to try my hand at becoming a better a vegetarian cook so I have something to eat too!

The name Bad Vegetarian reflects the conflicted feelings I initially had toward this project. Should a vegetarian cook meat? Does that somehow cancel out some of my vegetarian points? There are almost certainly vegetarians out there who would say, yes, cooking meat does make me a bad vegetarian. I respectfully disagree on that point. The meat I am cooking will not be going to waste, and it would have been purchased and prepared by someone even if I was not doing this. In addition to being a bad vegetarian when making meals for others, this title also describes the diet I subsist on. People often think of vegetarians as super healthy—and most probably are—but I eat a lot of french fries and candy, which are both undeniably vegetarian but also undeniably bad.

I will be focusing on recipes that are well-known and loved by the majority of people. For each popular meat recipe I make, I will make some modifications to it to create a vegetarian version as well. I will be working with the staple meat and vegetarian proteins—beef, chicken, pork, and fish/tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Throughout this process, I will be using my parents as guinea pigs to test the meaty meals I make–I will also be looking to them to answer all of the emergency cooking questions that will inevitably arise once I start working through recipes. If all goes well, I may one day graduate to feeding my friends as well. I’m starting with family first because they have to forgive me if I poison them with undercooked meat or, conversely, serve them meat that’s been cooked to the point where it tastes like old leather.

Join me on my culinary journey; you may learn a thing or two as well!