I already know you may not get this because it’s about a lifestyle that not everyone can understand.
But nothing will prepare you for the fact that I just made fake cheese. Vegan cheese. Like, there was nothing “cheese” about it yet it tasted and looked like cheese, and it made a hell of a pot of super creamy mac and cheese!
Let me preface this story with a little bit about how weird my food hang-ups are.
I don’t know when it happened but at some point within the last decade, I became a bit of a weirdo, meaning, I can’t eat certain things based solely on how they look and where my brain goes when I look at them.
Maybe I’ve watched too many horror movies in my day, or maybe I just see things for what they are.
- I LOVE omelets. They’re a common go-to breakfast item for me. But I can’t crack an egg and cook it because I can’t look at the ugly little pre-life that was lost in the journey to my breakfast plate. Therefore, I have to buy cartons of liquid eggs in order to make my omelets.
- I used to love meat. I grew up in a meat and potatoes household — we’re German, for crying out loud. But now I simply cannot look at meat, and I certainly can’t prepare raw meat. Just thinking of it makes me almost gag. There’s blood, veins, stringy parts, little tubey things, chewy parts. UGH…I can’t.
But back to the cheese part now.
I have zero hang-ups about real cheese and in fact, it’s a staple in my diet and it’s probably the reason I’m as curvy as I am. I know how fat it is.
But because of my other food hang-ups and my meatless tendencies, my mother bought me a cookbook for Christmas. A book full of vegetarian and plant-based food recipes.
I hate being in the kitchen and I suck at it, so I had never thought of buying myself a cookbook.
Image by K. Keller
My love of vegetarian cuisine really revved up when I was a frequent traveler of Jamaica. I’ve been there 36 times due to my travel writing career, and it’s really easy to eat VERY good vegetarian food on the island.
True Rastafarians are vegetarians and they’re basically bionic in the kitchen with nothing but a pot full of vegetables.
So, while on the island I would go out of my way to find this type of food and I thought that if just veggies can taste this good, who needs anything else? I mean, just look at this $7.00 plate of Caribbean vegetarian delights and I’ve never tasted anything like it in my life.
Image by K. Keller
So anyway, I painstakingly — and I only say that because I hate cooking — pulled out the cookbook shortly after Christmas and went directly to the recipe that caught my eye the first time I flipped through it:
Mac and cheese. Who doesn’t love it?
Half of me wanted to try it because it looked so good in the picture and half of me wanted to try it because there’s no way in hell that cheese without cheese in it could taste good. It is literally cheese made with vegetables and cashews.
I’m a believer! I followed through with the recipe, made my pot of dinner, and sat down to write about it because I can’t believe it was edible. Amazing, in fact.
My version looked exactly like the picture in the book except I used different pasta. And if you had come over for dinner and eaten it without knowing, you still wouldn’t know.
I used to do that to my son when he was younger — make tacos with fake ground beef and serve him. He never knew.
Now, maybe you’re asking, “But if you like cheese, why would you go through the trouble of making fake cheese out of vegetables?”
The answer is simple. Because I want to eat healthier and if that means eating more plant-based and less grease-based foods, then that’s what I should do.
I’m not a true vegetarian because, well….bacon….which I also won’t cook but I’ll eat a pound of it if someone else cooks it.
I’m not trying to make anyone try fake cheese or give up meat for that matter. I just wanted to let whoever might be unconvinced that plant-based eating can actually taste good, that YES, it does taste good and I’m sure it’s a lot healthier than my delivery dinners!