Cooking Wonderment

Hi, my name is Jon-Michael and I’m a vegan! (Hi, Jon-Michael!)

It’s Founder’s Day weekend for the infamous Alcoholics Anonymous support group here in the bright and sun-shiney dull and overcast city of Akron. What does that mean exactly? Imagine, if you will, that for 3 days time your town was invaded by the biggest group of Harley-riding, chain smoking, non-alcoholics in the world. I can’t drive near the university without smelling cigarette smoke in the air.

But what does this have to do with your freakin’ post?

Nothing, it was just a clever way to throw you off topic and to introduce myself as a vegan.

I started being a vegan about two years ago, when my then-girlfriend introduced me to the concept of eating with a fuller-conscience. What this meant for me was coming to understand how exactly it is that meat (which I had heartily enjoyed up to that point in my life) made its way to the grocery store and my tummy.  The answers that I have found (and continue to reinforce through a variety of news articles, books, and scientific journals) seem to imply to me that consuming animal products in the vast quantities that many Americans do is not only unhealthy for our own bodies, but also for the surrounding environment. I can’t recall which day it was exactly, but I have a feeling that it was around June 24th or 25th, 2008, that I went cold-tofurkey vegan.

My stint living with a homestay family in Japan was /not/ vegan. Not at all. To portray it as such would just be a horrid lie. I ate raw horse meat while living in Japan. Twice. And I enjoyed it. However, since moving out of their humble abode last June I have been safely vegan with the exception of some cheese/butter that snuck into some meals here and there. I’d like to state here that I’m not incredibly strict about myself. I would never go to the store and buy cheese, milk, eggs, butter, chocolate, or any other kind of food containing an animal product. However, if a restaurant or host goes out of the way to make something that is at the very least vegetarian I have no problem compromising my belief to meet their compromise.

I am also not a militant vegan. I don’t care what you eat. If you’re curious about what I eat and would like to know more I will always answer your questions, but I don’t really have time to entertain questions that are meant to mock my beliefs.

But what does this have to do with China!?!

All research seems to point to China being not-so-vegan friendly. Blogs like this one and this one as well as sites like this one and this one make me nervous. But anybody who knows me probably also realizes that I’m a pretty stubborn fool. So, in order to prepare myself for the inevitable problems I will face with food, I have ramped up my cooking in order to make my skills more fantastic.

I have been told by my employer that I will have my own flat with bathroom/shower, bedroom, and living area. I have heard that the kitchens are communal between the live-in teachers (foreigners, I expect). I am just left wondering how equipped the kitchens really are. With little knowledge of Chinese, I am somewhat worried about buying food at a supermarket. Perhaps I had best begin to brush up on Chinese food characters, huh?

I spend a lot of my time in what I’ve termed ‘Cooking Wonderment’ in relation to China. How exactly will I survive, flourish, and keep myself nutritionally stable? Tune in this September for what will undoubtedly be some fun times in Kaifeng! 🙂

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One Response to Cooking Wonderment

  1. Ben says:

    The kitchen here has an electric stove, a small oven, and other essentials. It is shared by the foreign teachers (there are only five, the two of us from Akron and three others from Beloit). To be honest though you might not have that much trouble finding vegan food. A lot of dishes are made from vegetables (such as rice noodles, and others). Good cooking skills is always a plus though.

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