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 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.