Mastering The Art of Vegetarian Cooking


My name is Mary Kay Seckinger. I’ve been vegetarian since Thanksgiving, 1990. I had given up my rabbit fur jacket in high school, and had been pondering the ethical dilemma inherent in eating meat; my high school boyfriend visited me in Denver, we made our first (and my last) Thanksgiving turkey (with about a dozen calls to each of our mothers), and that was the last meat I ate.

From the first post to this blog:

The Mary Kay/Deborah Project?

I’ve been pondering this project for a few weeks. I loved “Julie & Julia,” and promptly read that book, plus Julia’s “My Life in France” and another biography of her. Then I started thinking… I’d like to do something like that. I’d like to get back to cooking regularly (and by cooking I don’t mean opening cans and boxes). I’d like to focus on one thing for a sustained period (and by sustained period I don’t mean twenty minutes). I was also prompted by a book I picked up at the school’s Book Fair: Eat This, Not That For Kids. It points out the various nutritional pitfalls in packaged and processed foods, and the kids and I have been looking things up (mostly to our horror and dismay). The last straw was a conversation Jon and I had the other day about our recycling bin. We were marveling over the fact that our recycling volume is at least triple that of our trash; I was feeling smug and happy about how great we are at recycling, when Jon said, “It’s not that. It’s that everything we eat comes out of a can or box or bag.” Oy! Sadly, he is right.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to make every recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison.  I’m a little up in the air about timing; I am shooting for year, but I won’t consider it a failure if it takes longer than that. It’s a huge book– 1400 recipes! I don’t promise to make every variation, but I’m going to take a stab at every main recipe.

However, I can’t seem to settle on exactly the right title… “Mary Kay/Deborah” definitely isn’t as catchy as “Julie/Julia.” So far I’ve settled on “Mastering The Art of Vegetarian Cooking,” as a tribute to Julie and Julia, the inspiration for this endeavor.  If anyone has a better idea, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Before I had children (Madeline is 10, Baxter is 8, and Sophie is 6), I cooked a lot. I had a pantry full of exotic ingredients, a well-stocked spice rack, and I enjoyed the process. Then, as time (and appreciation from the small people in my family) was in shorter supply, I got lazy. I opened cans and pouches, combined things from boxes and the freezer, and called it dinner.

Well, I’m weary of that approach, and have decided to cook– and eat– better. Here we go!


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