Coseppi Kitchen is about inclusive vegetarian cooking which means we want to make sure that our recipes are accessible to people with a variety of dietary needs. We think this is important because we want to share our ideas for eclectic, healthy, wholefood cooking with as many people as possible and we know that vegetarians are not a homogenous group. In the family of vegetarians there are ovo-lacto vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, vegans, raw vegans, and vegetarians with food allergies. There are also flexitarians — people who enjoy vegetarian food but eat meat in some limited quantities — and pescetarians — ovo-lacto vegetarians who also eat fish. My family is an example of this diversity: My parents are flexitarians, I am a splash of milk in my coffee away from being a vegan on most days, and James is a pescetarian. That is right, James eats fish on occasion.
Some people might see all this dietary diversity as a serious difficulty and instead of meals being a time to bring people together it becomes a source of stress trying to divine the one perfect dish that everyone can eat. I like to think of inclusive vegetarian cooking as a solution to this problem as well. After years of creating meals for a diverse group of friends and family, it is now very easy for us to pick up a recipe and with a few minor tweaks have a fantastic inclusive meal.
For example, last week in Wheatsville Coop we picked up a copy of the National Cooperative Grocers Association’s flyer and spotted a recipe for Pacific Halibut with Fennel and Grapefruit Salad. Ignoring the mention of halibut, I was immediately drawn to the Fennel and Grapefruit, two ingredients that I love and that are locally available in Texas this time of year. For dinner that night James and I shared the aforementioned Fennel and Grapefruit Salad (with added walnuts for some crunch and omegas), James had a portion of poached pacific halibut (a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch “Best Choice”), and I ate a slice of grilled tofu. The meal was loved by all and suitable for almost any type of “tarian.”
There are several strategies for vege-tizing recipes. Above is an example of what I like to call divide and conquer — by splitting up different elements of a dish into individual portions, fellow diners can select the elements that are appropriate for them while all sharing the same meal.