Piece by Piece: vegetarianism offers new perspective


Brian Higgins

Staff reporter Madison Saviano explores hot topics and issues that students face in her weekly column Piece by Piece.

Madison Saviano, Staff Reporter

I recently became a vegetarian.

The timing coincided with the New Year, but it actually didn’t have anything to do with it.

I was at my uncle’s ranch, where I enjoy a large friendship of livestock, and I decided I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. 

The purpose of this column is not to preach or convert, but if you happen to already be a vegetarian, or are maybe considering becoming one, then here is a regurgitation of the help I’ve found.

Now, if you are already a vegetarian, I’m sure you know more than I do, and in fact if I know you from class I would love your advice. 

Maybe your knowledge and practice is particular to your culture, though, and in that case allow me to expand your recipe book to the other glorious foods of the world.

I have gotten a lot of advice from a South Indian friend of mine. We went to a market she and her family frequents and I was delighted to discover plenty of vegetarian choices. I tried malai kofta, which is deep fried and made primarily of potatoes, and it was quite friendly to my underdeveloped palate. When I say ‘underdeveloped,’ I am mostly remarking at how little I can tolerate spice, as well as sugar apparently. This might be a problem some of you other southern-raised children encounter, and may be what has kept you from exploring. While some of the Indian cuisine I have tried has been too much for me to handle, with the direction of my friend it has mostly been delicious. I make such an emphasis on Indian cuisine because my friend tells me there are a lot of vegetarian options in their culture as a result of higher demand. 

I also have a Korean friend who has taken my hand. We shared kimchi which her mom made, a dish of fermented vegetables and a variety of seasonings. Her mom sometimes makes it herself by pickling vegetables in a jar and storing them underground, but making this effort is not necessary as you can find it in many stores. Kimchi is delicious. 

Another friend introduced Chinese scallion pancakes, which are paired with soy sauce and made of what the name suggests. They are addictive, and not very difficult to make, she said. 

If you thought becoming vegetarian would restrict your diet, well you’re right, but it also encourages exploration. 

Meat may no longer be on the table, but there are plenty of “impossible” this and that which taste remarkably similar. If your favorite dish incorporates meat, you may still be able to have it. Even if vegetarianism is nowhere on your radar, trying foods of different cultures is massively rewarding.