Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ragu and honey

Tuesday 8/5/2008

For breakfast, I had my usual: Fiber One mixed with a little Kashi puffed wheat, with light vanilla soymilk, followed by several Triscuits with hummus. You will come to realize after reading this blog 3-4 times that I have that exact breakfast pretty much EVERY morning. You’ll no doubt get tired of reading it.

I was strangely not hungry most of the day after that. It made especially little sense because I worked out fairly hard in the morning, and it was my first workout since last Thursday. (I would NOT have taken all those days off if I hadn’t been on my feet for many hours each day at Lollapalooza.) I skipped lunch entirely (an exceedingly rare occurrence) and just ate an apple and a cup of grapes in the afternoon. My tummy finally woke up at the end of the work day, so I had about half a dozen almonds before heading home.

I’m still lagging in motivation to cook, probably due to the vacation, so I made my go-to lazy meal: whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce. Today it was angel hair, and it’s always Ragu Old World Style.

Plain old original Ragu is what my mom fed me when I was little. (As a child, and up until I was 19, all I ate was orange crackers with peanut butter, spaghetti with marinara, pizza with the cheese peeled off, ramen noodles, some kinds of chips, plain bread, and sometimes tacos. Seriously. Sometime I’ll tell you about it in more detail.) When I escaped from the dorms after my first year at KU, I started trying every marinara sauce on the market – just to try them, I guess. I’ve eaten dozens upon dozens of storebought marinaras, and dozens more restaurant marinaras. I’ve even made multiple versions of homemade marinara. My homemade marinaras are good – but they’re not Ragu. Sure, it’s probably just a result of growing up with it, but no pasta sauce I’ve ever had tastes as good as Ragu. So finally, less than a year ago, I realized I had no good reason to keep trying to find other marinaras to test out, because none of them measured up. I then went back to buying Ragu, and haven’t turned back.

So, anyway, the long and short of it is that Ragu is not vegan. Barely. It contains the tiniest, most unnecessary amount of Romano cheese. To put it in perspective: halfway down the (still relatively short) ingredient list is dried minced onions. In the entire jar, there are like 20 of those teensy onion flakes. Several ingredients later is the Romano cheese. There must be less than a teaspoon in that big jar. Do I have a problem with this? Yes. It’s completely useless. It can’t even contribute to flavor in such a miniscule amount! I have seriously considered writing to Ragu and asking them to drop this worthless ingredient from their sauce. However: do I have a problem with eating it? Honestly, no. The taste I love makes it worth it to me to ingest a few milligrams of cheese each time I eat a serving.
*End rant.*

P.S. Does anyone happen to know if Ragu has a sauce that’s entirely vegan yet tastes exactly like the Old World Style? (I’ve tried a handful of others, including the Light and the Organic, and they didn’t make the cut.) If so, please tell me.

And finally, before bed, I had a handful of Kashi Heart to Heart cereal. It contains honey.

Whether or not vegans are "allowed" to eat honey is up for debate. The majority, it seems, vote no. I personally think it’s fine. I see all the reasons not to, but there are some very compelling reasons to not worry about it. (Slate had a good article about it recently.) Considering I eat vegan for health and not the environment or animal rights, I am fine with eating honey. Sorry to those offended by that.

Alright. Anyone reading may now be starting to understand what I mean by “almost” vegan. My hope is that that is more of a lure than a turn-off. I eat healthfully and inexpensively but, perhaps most of all, practically. I hope that anyone reading this glorified food diary of mine will continue to read it, whether for new ideas, a different perspective, or just proof that one can eat pretty damn close to vegan with mental ease and gustatory delight.

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