|A grocery list made by my darling girl when she was wee. I recently found it hiding in the cookbook.|
I have been a vegetarian for about forty-five years. These days, it is a pretty normal to eschew meat, as do so many of my friends. When Dennis and I decided to stop eating meat those many years ago, however, we didn’t know a single other vegetarian. It just was not done! When friends invited us to dinner, we inevitably got macaroni and cheese. Our restaurant life was limited to Chinese, Mexican, or grilled cheese sandwiches. And vegetarian cookbooks? Well, there were a few. One of the few was by a woman named Elsa Michaels. It is so not-hot now, that you can buy it for 1¢ on Amazon. I was thrilled at the time to find it. Dennis and I marveled at the weirdness of the recipes, and a bit at the authoress too. We decided that, given the peculiarity of the food, she must be English. Vegetarianism seems to have been popular in England far longer than here. Vide, GBS. We also found her somewhat fantastic hair and lack of makeup fascinating. We thought that this indicated some strictly no-makeup religion. Or maybe she was a country western singer. But then, there would have been lots of makeup.
As I said, the recipes were odd, and many would qualify as hippie food these days, but Elsa was definitely not a hippie (see photo.) While almost universally mundane, and often unattractive, the recipes were invariably delicious. Just not the sort of thing one serves to impress.
I was trying to think of something to fix for my Aunt Dakki, whose approved list of suitable ingredients is very short. It excludes almost all vegetable matter except cauliflower and onions. I consulted Rebecca and she suggested a cauliflower and nut dish that she had particularly liked when she was little. I was pretty sure it was from the above mentioned cookbook, but when I looked for “cauliflower” in the index – nothing. Same for the other main ingredients - “nuts” and “cheese.” I flipped through the whole book and finally found “protein loaf.” I prepared it for Dakki, and it was a great success. As I had the ingredients left and it had been so good, I made it again for Ana.
Cauliflower Protein Loaf
1 cup cauliflower, chopped quite small (easily done in the food processor)
1 cup cashews, chopped ditto,
1 tbs butter or marge
1 cup grated cheddar cheese,
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
Sauté the onions and cauliflower until softened. Mix in the other ingredients. Bake in a greased loaf pan for about 30 minutes
Elsa serves it with a chive white sauce, but I thought a nice tomato sauce sounded better.