coincidentally vegan

Two nights ago we enjoyed a vegan meal - at home. Of course there was wine, a Nebbiolo D'Alba.

I know, it doesn't sound like our table, but I assure friends that it was a coincidence, if not an accident. While we were still enjoying the wonderful fruits of an early trip to the Union Square Greenmarket, for some reason it occurred to me that what we were eating was totally consistent with vegan principle. As it happens, this sort of meal was not an exception for us, since most of the time we find ourselves dining simply on some southern Italian arrangement of vegetables and pasta, and only occasionally do we include smallish amounts of fish or meat. Cheese however is a more regular visitor.

I've been omnivorous all of my life, while always respecting, even contmplating alternative approaches. I have to say however that among my most memorable negative experiences with food are the meals in the 60's I shared with friends who virtually lived on brown rice and overcooked vegetables. The memory still gets in the way. But at least they were fond of the grape.

For us wine may be the ultimate argument against vegetarianism. Without traditional European foods, the wines developed in these meat, cheese and fish-eating cultures are usually just fermented grape juice. We like wine, and wine likes food.

The menu Monday evening:

Heirloom tomatoes, nestled close to a spray of purslane, both drizzled with olive oil and lightly sprinkled with fleur de sel

Crusty Puglian bread

Woodland Chanterelles sautéed in olive oil and garlic, on flat Italian noodles, and sprinkled with wild thyme.

Mixed peppery greens a with light Balsamic vinaigrette

Italian green grapes

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Published on September 10, 2003 2:34 PM.

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