I have a confession. My favorite food is “sucuk” (Turkish sausage). Well, not quite. It’s rather, bread dipped into a saucepan full of leftover melted sucuk fat. The bread soaks in the fat and, yes, it’s divine. It reminds me of my four-year-old self, waking up to the sound of the Black Sea, running downstairs with a growling stomach, having a sausage and egg breakfast seaside, and fighting for the last dip into the pan…and then running off to swim with sausage fat dripping down my chin. To think I usually have a green juice and fruit for breakfast these days…
But, memories like these and the simple love for various dishes and dining experiences are what make me unfit for a strictly vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. From the perspective of someone who is vegan nearly 90% of the time, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a meat eater – we aren’t the only omnivores on this planet, and I don’t see why anyone should feel guilty for loving chicken or really enjoying a filet mignon at a pricey restaurant. Society can really butcher both sides. If you’re a meat eater, you’re dubbed a bloody-mouthed devil by PETA and those who are likeminded. If you shun meat and animal byproducts, you’re a weakling or somewhere off singing kumbaya whilst burning sage and making love to a tree. If you are extreme in your personal choices, that’s your thing – no need to hate. And if you’re moderate, respect.
My food philosophy is being conscious, putting personal health before all else with a light, but meaningful awareness of how it affects the world around me. I am not the poster-child for animal rights activism, nor do I strive to be. It’s just not my beat. Indeed, there is a lot wrong in the way meat and other animal products are manufactured, ways that affect both our health (synthetic hormones, preservatives, etc.) and violate some inherent laws of humanity. Both are important and go hand-in-hand. If the animal is treated badly, chances are the meat is going to affect your body in a negative way, however subtle it may be. So putting health first inevitably vouches for animal rights in a lot of instances.
Lady Gaga was recently slammed by PETA for donning and alleged fur coat. Her response:
“You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance.”
In this same stroke, when it comes to food labels, I can’t be vegetarian because I don’t come from a save-the-animals perspective; instead, I judge animal products based on their place in a healthy diet. Granted all animal protein is toxic-forming in the body, some products are relatively better than others and are a needle in the haystack in the grand scheme of an already highly alkaline, plant-based diet. I thus occasionally eat meat for enjoyment and to balance a diet that can often be too clean and potentially dangerous. And when it comes to quality and ec0-friendliness, I can only do my best given my resources.
Above all else, I am all about respecting people’s food choices, and I expect the same from others. What we choose to eat is a personal choice grounded in more than just individual righteousness. It’s a matter of culture, tradition, religion, dietary needs, comfort, finances, time, geography, and so much more. Food is a sensitive topic and we all adapt in our own ways.
It’s your decision to care or not to care. Find a good source, an as-respectable-as-can-get source, and you can have your meat and eat it too. But if it doesn’t bother you what happened to Mr. Cow up until he showed up on your plate, then so be it. That’s not for me to judge, because we all tick to our own clocks. I can only hope to make you more aware of how much better you’ll feel without so much meat or show you ways to minimize it in your diet (hence, the blog). I’ll let animal lovers convince you in their own way with their own perspective.
What I firmly believe in is to lean towards plant-based foods, giving it a 60-80% chunk of the diet, and then decorate those spinach Christmas tree lifestyles of ours with some of our favorite “mmmmmmm ohmuhhhhhgawds”. For me, those ornaments change with the season, but tend to be goat cheese, dark chocolate, sausage, the cheesiest of cheesiest nachos, fried calamari, butter, butter, some more butter, and did I mention chocolate? I also wouldn’t pass up a home-cooked Turkish meal labored with love and enjoyed amidst a roomful of family, laughter, and booze, even if it was prepared with iodized table salt, cooked in a cheap hydrogenated oil, or fried to an amorphous blob. World ain’t over. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a food diva (and proud!), but food is only a fraction of a healthy lifestyle.
In summary, on a day-to-day basis, I keep a strong eye on what goes into my body, because it matters. I enjoy what I want, when I want it, but I keep it all in a big-picture context. I can’t throw my arms in the air and give in to a trip to a restaurant everyday with a cool-girls-order-steak attitude. That’s not how health, happiness, and thriving pans out. Big picture speaking, I have a plant-based diet with the occasional indulgence, either when I have access to a high quality meat/egg/dairy source or if I’m at an event or showing respect to a host. I’ll let myself have a non-vegan, carnivoristic moment a few times per month. And for the latter occasions, I just go with the flow – they don’t happen often enough to abuse.
So, this recipe is a rare one. I haven’t had sucuk in nearly a year, but my local organic grocer began to sell it. Good source – check! Deliciousness ensued – check! I opted to pair this sausage goodness with local eggs. The result speaks for itself. I’ve done enough talking. Enjoy!
Why this glows: taste (with a few greens cooked to death)
Sausage & Goat Cheese Frittata
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Keywords: fry bake breakfast lunch frittata eggs sausage goat cheese greens
Ingredients (One nine-inch pie)
- 4-5 eggs
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese or 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/2 cup cubed sausage
- 1 small white onion
- 2 cups chopped green leaves
- Dash of black pepper
Chop the onion, green leaves, and sausage. In a medium saucepan, cook the sausage until slightly browned. Remove from the heat and gently remove sausage pieces from the pan, leaving behind the melted fat.
In the same pan, add the green leaves and onions. Cook until the onion has softened and the greens have wilted.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and soft goat cheese. Add to the bowl the onions, greens, and sausage. Stir until everything is evenly combined, then return the mixture to the original saucepan. Cook over medium heat for one minute and then transfer the saucepan to a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes or until the top just firms.
Loosen the sides and then flip the frittata from the pan and onto a serving board. Slice like a pizza and enjoy!