The challenge I gave myself was to create a delicious, satisfying, exciting, new yet familiar, holiday meal.

7 Dietary Restrictions


Well, I did it. And you can do it too! Here it is!



It’s Thanksgiving or any other holiday, so why not ratchet up your old favorites with a twist of new? Cranberry and apple in salsa?  Why not? Take this dip with you to any gathering. Volunteer for the dip detail. You will change people’s taste buds forever. From now on they will expect the cranberries and apple in their salsa. They will, in fact, demand it. Where’re the cranberries? They don’t have them in the summer. Yes, they do. All year round in every grocery. Where’s the apple? Didn’t know you wanted apple. What??!! Everybody wants apple in their salsa. Where have you BEEN? Serve with any tortilla chips that strike you as appropriate; we’ll take care of everything else!

The only fat is in the chips.

Makes 5-1/2 cups


If you don’t want to do the apples, that’s just as fine. Serve stuffing from stove-top as is. Perfect either way! However, the apples do add a festive touch to a festive holiday! And they’re easier than pie to make!

Serves 6


Tired of the same old mashed yams? Or the cubed and roasted style? Me too. Steve doesn’t like the texture. So what do I do with yams on sale? Try something new. Yam steaks! Pour the SMOKY CRANBERRY ORANGE GRAVY over, top with some pine nuts and a wonderful main dish event emerges to take over the table! I’m in. And Steve? Well, he ate the whole portion. Except for the pine nuts this dish is fat-free

Serves 6-8


If you’re looking for something different and familiar this is it! Plus you combine the cranberry and gravy into one dish, saving time and money. Did I mention how off-the-planet exciting cranberries can be when you recognize their potential? They’re just waiting to be explored!

Makes 3 cups


Not your typical green beans almondine. Better. Easy to make. I could make a main dish out of these beans and feel like I had a complete meal. Yet they go well with other main dishes, especially holiday ones. If you’re serving a crowd, this is a perfect side dish vegetable, requiring little effort!

Serves 6-8


with sun-dried tomato, garlic and fresh orange – fat-free. A refreshing change in the way you dress your salads!

Makes 6 cups


You don’t have to go through the entire canning process to make pickled beets. Prep, cook, place in a jar and refrigerate to use as wanted. Here we add sweet onion strips and sweet red pepper. Then as we use the beets, we add other ingredients to the pickling jar, such as matchstick carrots and/or kidney beans (washed and drained). It makes a tasty salad by itself or as a side dish! 

Makes 6 cups


These little pockets look like they took a while to make, but they didn’t. Complexity is the impression; simplicity is the reality! Wonderfully rich bites. The perfect dessert to savor with tea, coffee or wine! 

Makes as many as you want


Panel 1



Though I have multi-ethnic roots, I am first and foremost an American. I was born an American. My parents were born in America. I was brought up on American foods.

So of course, as an animal-free chef engineering animal-free recipes, I bring to the table an American slant. None of my recipes are exact replicas of what Mom or Grandma made. Even when I got married and cooked with meat, I put my own slant on favorite dishes I enjoyed during childhood. Even then I didn’t understand why people wanted to make a dish exactly as it was made in the ‘old country’. Why not experiment with new ways in a new country to make old favorites?

Though my recipes encompass a wide range of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic flavors, textures and aromas, that American slant is part of who I am as a person, thus the foundation upon which I build, create and express my art of animal-free cuisine.

Swapping out the meat and swapping in the plant-based foods isn’t as simple as the slogan implies. When the meat is taken off the menu, each recipe needs to be created around the plant-based foods, not simply created absent the meat.

In fact, the meat has no place in the thought process when developing a plant-based dish, unless you’re creating a recipe that mimics the flavors, textures and aromas of an animal-based dish. But even in a chili, when using a veggie hamburg substitute you can’t simply swap out the animal-based hamburg and swap in the veggie hamburg and expect it to taste the same. Spices, herbs, oils, complimentary veggies, beans, method of cooking, sequence of adding ingredients, cooking times all play a part in the developmental stages and process of the creation, so that when done, although the animal-based dish and plant-based dish won’t taste the same, the plant-based dish will taste delicious.

Vegan Cuisine vs Animal-Free Cuisine

Vegan cuisine (which used to be called strict vegetarian when dairy and eggs were left out) now takes animal-free cuisine to an even stricter, more healthy in every bite, level.

Vegans as a group, having been around a very long time, elevated their diet choices over time within the plant-based realm to reflect greater animal-rights responsibility and accountability, while at the same time focusing on foods that have the greatest nutritional value, which simultaneously do the least amount of harm to the environment, to human health and to other species.

As examples, many vegans now eat only raw foods, unprocessed foods which excludes veggie meats and cheeses. They’ll eat only non GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods, pesticide-free foods, gluten-free foods, while eliminating plant-based foods such as white potatoes and agave syrup, because they have a high glycemic index; palm oil, because the harvesting of the oil destroys the natural habitats of orangutans; tofu, because it’s processed and they fear the effects of phytoestrogens – plant compounds that are similar to mammalian estrogen, to name just a few.

On the other hand, some vegans see no moral issue in eating fish or other animals who are predators – animals who eat other animals. How they square that with their other vegan principles may be difficult for the non-vegan to understand, except to realize that within the global movement of vegan there are vegans of all types, just like there is in any large group, whether it be a political party, a religion or lack of a religion, a gender, socio-economic group etc.

In an imperfect, non-vegan world, vegans reach for a perfect world by living in as a perfect way as possible. Commendable and admirable to say the least. And their vegan cuisine reflects all of that. In fact, vegan cuisine stands separate from all other cuisines, but basically the same within the stated cuisine – just as Italian cuisine, French cuisine, Spanish cuisine, Asian cuisine, Indian cuisine, and others stand separate from other world cuisines, but within each cuisine there are easily identifiable features. Those cuisines can be identified by the way the dishes of the corresponding cuisines look, taste and texture.

My animal-free cuisine is mainstream. It contains no animal products and uses ingredients that mainstream Americans already know and like, combining them in familiar plus new and exciting ways to satisfy their old palate, while opening their taste buds to new pleasurable experiences and nuances within the realm of plant-based foods. That’s why when you look at photos of my animal-free cuisine vs vegan cuisine they look vastly different in the familiarity department. The flavors and textures are also different.

The reason for this is that I develop recipes for the meat-eater, having been one, and having been surrounded by meat eaters most of my life. In fact, I’m sixty-seven years old and have had only two experiences with vegans in all that time – one was actually a family of vegans whom I cooked for now and then twenty or so years ago, and the other I met within the last two years.

Vegan chefs develop recipes for the vegan – for those souls who have already made the commitment to stop eating and wearing animals, and using products tested on animals. But again, who want only the healthiest of foods entering their systems.

My goal is to reach the greatest number of people transitioning to a plant-based diet absent so many dietary restrictions. Then they decide within the plant-based realm how strict they want to become as they evolve.

My focus within that realm is always on flavor and texture. Will they eat this again? Will I eat this again? If the answer is maybe yes or maybe not, then I don’t use that recipe. Most people won’t continue to eat something only because it’s healthy for them. Americans like their food, they love to eat, so it’s my job to expose them to animal-free food that they’ll look forward to eating again.

There’s plenty of room for every variant of plant-based cuisine in the world. I am happy with the route I chose as an animal-free chef engineering fine tasting animal-free recipes.

Lick Your Chops Animal-Free Recipes

There is a point beyond which more practice, more work-outs or a more stringent diet will not make you more proficient, stronger nor healthier.

The Animal-Free Chef applies that principle to Mainstream Animal-Free Cuisine!

You can LICK YOUR CHOPS AFTER EVERY MEAL and still achieve optimal health.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, the animal-free chef

Postscript: I heard a government contributor to a popular cable news show say recently that the world isn’t trusting America now, so anything with an American label on it won’t be trusted either.

Personally, I refuse to become like the Jews – hiding my identity because the world doesn’t trust me, simply because I am an American or because I might be targeted because of my American heritage.

I am The American Animal-Free Chef, and I will remain so until my death



Panel 2



Begin by going one day a week, any day or any meal, without meat. Then advance to more days on more occasions.

Or start with eliminating dairy and eggs. About 65% of the human population  has lactose intolerance*. Eating/drinking dairy, besides being unnatural after being weaned from mother, besides causing digestive disturbances via lactose intolerance, coats your tongue white and causes halitosis (bad breath). Try foregoing the cheese on the burger, the cream in your coffee. Try some veggie cheese, then try the veggie burgers. There are many great tasting dairy-free coffee creamers on the market.

Eventually you’ll no longer enjoy the taste of blood from the meat, dairy from the cow, egg from the chicken, or the fishy taste of sea animals, and you’ll wonder why you ever did. The reason you did is because you were raised on those products.

I often wondered why I continued to eat eggs (not that I ate that many, since I didn’t like the odor of them cooking) when it was common knowledge that they contained salmonella – the most common form of food poisoning. We were told via the government and egg producing industries that all we had to do was cook the eggs well to deactivate the poison. What? Who would want to eat something that had a known and well-documented poison in it, deactivated or not?

We did it because everybody else was doing it and the authorities kept telling us it was safe to do so – given that we prepared them right. Well, salmonella is still the most common food-borne illness despite their claims of safety.

As we grow up and leave the nest, it seems that we long for earlier days in a nostalgic kind of way, we become homesick, remembering family and family occasions that always centered around food. That’s why you so often hear people on television who opened restaurants talk about making a dish just like mama did, or just like in the old country.

Cooking like mama did makes us go back in time, giving us comfort. That’s why they call comfort food comfort food. It’s what mama used to make. It takes you back to a different place, a different time, a simpler time. Longing for home is what it’s all about, and food takes us back home, when that home no longer exists, or mama or anyone else you love is no longer here. It’s like seeing them again.

It’s time to grow beyond the food. It’s not the food you long for.

It’s time to choose new food that tastes familiar –  absent the cruelty, absent the ill-health caused by eating the flesh and blood.

People respect those who care about their health and the well-being of other creatures.

You respect how you look, how you feel, and that your actions not only help you, but help preserve life on the planet. Mama would be proud – even though she would resist you in the beginning. Remember, Mama is just like you. She longed for home too.

You’re the example that others pay attention to. Mama would like that. People notice the confidence you display in controlling what you eat and how you act. They notice the aura of power that surrounds everything you do, that makes you the most important and influential person at the center of your universe.

People respect that power in you – because you respect yourself. Mama likes that too!

That power is free. Seize it. Remember mama for the great person she is and that she nourished you in many ways. Food was only one of them. I’ll bet you would love your mama as much, no matter what she fed you.

Respect Mama by being your own person, while bringing her along in your heart and soul wherever you go, whatever you do.

Mama’s hitchin’ a ride right now. All aboard!


*For those readers with a continued interest in lactose intolerance check out this article: on ‘positive healthwellness’ website.


Panel 3



When you go animal-free you find yourself attracted to more variety in your condiments, spices and herbs.

In fact, in every category of meatless, you begin noticing that which was previously blurred by the meat being the center of attention – differences in pastas, rices, veggies, beans, nuts and all the different, delectable ways they can be prepared, even something as common as ketchup and mustard become an adventure in trying new flavors, textures and uses. Italian seasoning no longer satisfies you as the only herb in your herb closet.

It’s all about nuances now.

Orange juice is no longer just orange juice. Where have I been, you find yourself asking yourself? There are so many different types of orange juice and every other juice, juices you never even heard of, that a whole lot of people are drinking these days.

One salad dressing for your salad will no longer do you, when there’s a whole world of salad dressings out there waiting for you to try. Every single animal-free/meatless category encompasses a whole wide world of its own, once you open your minds eye to see.

Going animal-free, even for one day a week, opens your brain, thus your mind, thus your spirit, thus your body, thus your taste buds to what you’ve been missing all this time and didn’t know it. Yes, the meat was definitely the center of everybody’s attention. The meat stole the whole show so to speak. Kept you from enjoying anything but eating the animal is how it worked out.

But now you know it isn’t all about the meat. It’s about you and your taste buds and your health, and your well-being. And why would I want to kill somebody for myplate? For mybrain? mymind? myspirit? mybody? mytastebuds?

It sounds more like it was because of somebody else’s plate, brain, mind, spirit, body, taste buds, that I was making the meat (the animal) the center of my attention. Food brain-washing begins in infancy.

What are these new nuances of flavors and textures all about? Before I only wanted one flavor, one texture: MEAT. Now I see what I’ve been missing.

My whole world is changing…and I’m liking where it’s taking me. There are so many worlds to explore within the animal-free category that I never knew existed – because the meat, the animal, stole my world view. The meat took all of my effort, my energy, my thoughts, away from everything else, so I could see only the meat and the meat could only see me. It’s like an addiction; it consumes you. Here I thought I was consuming It, and all the while It was consuming me.

First you free the animal. Then the animal frees you.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, the animal-free chef



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