Memoir May

Hello Friends! I find myself in Terminal 1 of FRA. When I started drafting this blog post I was in Terminal 1 of JFK on my way to Frankfurt. It’s now just about a week later, and an excellent conference and some solid sightseeing has transpired. At the time I was very unhappy about the food options at JFK. In particular, I was sorely craving comfort in the form of ice cream, and none was to be found. I’m happy to say that is not the case this time around. I am both less stressed (though, of course, as I say that I remember the unresolved stressors in my life and my heart rate begins to creep up) and there is ice cream in close proximity to me. Perhaps I shall partake before my flight.

I’m sad to say that I forewent a “mid-April” blog post because it was nearly the end of April and I’d anyhow be doing a blog post soon. Ah. What a nice thought that was.

So I’ll begin with a quick recap of Vegan April.

Vegan April Recap

I am happy to say that I managed to complete my Vegan April lunalution without needing to take any passes or (as far as I know) any slip-ups. And, it wasn’t that hard! It definitely helps that I didn’t need to travel last month, whereas last April I had two conferences to go to. I have not remained vegan in the last two weeks, however. I would like to decide on a quasi-vegan rule for myself… but I haven’t settled on a scheme yet. Some possibilities: alternating months, weekly or monthly passes, special occasions (would need precisification), grocery shopping vs. outside eating.

As you might have deduced, I’m not planning on transitioning to a fully vegan lifestyle. Partly because I think this would be one step too far for family and cultural reasons. Partly because I’m not yet convinced that veganism is morally required. To be fair [warning: philosophical interlude to follow; skip to next paragraph if desired], I’m also not 100% convinced that vegetarianism is morally required under life circumstances like my own. But I’m pretty sure that it probably is, and that’s close enough for me to feel like I ought to be a vegetarian. I’m less sure than that with respect to veganism. While the environmental considerations would seem to apply to both meat and non-meat animal products, the environmental considerations don’t clearly (to me) entirely rule out the permissibility of occasionally eating animal products– the ‘occasionally’ should really be emphasized here. So it’s the needless killing (or killing-for-pleasure) part that I find most compelling for full-on vegetarianism, and those considerations don’t apply to non-meat animal products. (Note: I find it somewhat plausible that one could have a certain relationship to one’s food that overrides these concerns. But I don’t think the typical American attitude/relationship toward food is anywhere close to that.) Of course there’s also the pain and good life stuff, which I think is important. So, as I see it, that would allow for occasional consumption of non-meat animal products, so long as those animals live a happy life. I think, in addition to all of this, there are some real big-picture questions about sustainability and whatnot that make a difference But I’m not entirely sure what all the big-picture questions are, nor how to answer them. So that is where I’m at philosophically, folks. Practically speaking– does anyone know how to verify that one’s dairy products come from happy cows?

Now some reflections from my Vegan April (and relatively-new-and-more-committed Vegan) friends:

  • Caroline: “I used one pass going out to eat with someone visiting. (Which was kind of a waste in that it was for something mostly vegan but was just sprinkled with cheese). I haven’t found it too challenging. I’d say being in free pizza contexts in the department has been a bit of a struggle because I don’t really like Daiya cheese. Also thank you Annette for making me aware of vegan chocolate-covered almonds at Trader Joe’s!”

    You are very welcome, Caroline. Those sea salt & turbinado sugar dark chocolate-almonds are legitly delish.

  • Rob: “As with last time, I find that for me, dollar pizza is the most challenging thing to forgo. I used a pass to have some after Jenny’s concert. One bit of tasty vegan food that is getting me through the month is, as always, May Wah meat!”
  • Sophie: “I learned that it’s too hard to make American style crusts with Earth Balance because it melts at a lower temp then butter, but it works well for pâtes sucrées, which is when you cream the butter before adding flour 💁‍♀️”

    Sophie, as will be obvious, is a boss. She has produced a very successful strawberry rhubarb tart that I happily helped to devour. She also produced a delicious American-style apple pie, though it did not meet her high standards. I happily helped devour that as well.

    Sophie and I also talked a bit about the social and cultural complications with a vegan lifestyle. For instance, how to handle holiday traditions that are very meat- or egg/dairy-centric, and the class dimensions of vegan and vegetarian diets. I think these are also important dimensions to think and talk about. I invite conversation!

As for me, I promised to keep track of how I fed myself. I did a so-so job of this. I’ll compile the recipes from last time and add on new ones I tried during the month.



Main Dishes

  • Mediterranean Tofu (Food Heaven Made Easy) + Lemon Potatoes
  • Navratan Korma (from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook)
  • Peanut Sauce Lentils and Veggies (from Vegan Richa’s Everyday Kitchen cookbook) with brown rice
  • Masala Mac n Cheese (Vegan Richa)
  • A heavily Cubanized version of this Spring Vegetable Paella
    • Modifications: It makes a lot! I only made 3/4 and should have made half at most. It was also veryyy bland and I ended up adding lots more broth, salt, spices (garlic, onion, paprika, sazón Goya), white cooking wine, tomato paste, and olives to give it some flavor. It was all done by taste.
  • Lemon and Asparagus Pasta (Vegan Richa)
    • Note: I went with the cashew option. I am interested to try the tofu option!
  • Pea Pesto with Arugula and Tomatoes (Minimalist Baker)

Light Meals, Snacks

  • Simple Green Smoothie
  • Trader Joe’s Tahini, Pepita, and Apricot Slaw Kit
  • Vegan KIND bars
  • Breakfast Cereal (could also go in the ‘Dessert’ category)


  • Chocolate Pie with Graham Cracker Crust (Minimalist Baker)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies (Chocolate Covered Katie)
    • Note: The cookie dough was delicious but the cookies tasted a teensy bit too flour-y/baking soda-y for me. Next time I would up the vanilla and maybe add some cinnamon.
  • Trader Joe’s Sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds
  • Dried guava ❤


To sum up, Vegan Richa is the new queen of my heart, and in general there’s lot of genuinely delicious vegan food out there to make and eat!

Memoir May

Ok, boarding is coming up pretty quickly, so I’ll need to keep this brief. My lunalution (which I’ve not done a stellar job with, given the whole travel thing) has two parts:

  1. A regular bedtime/ nighttime ritual that includes full skincare, proper dental hygiene, and going to bed at a regular, early-ish time.
  2. As part of this nighttime ritual, at least 10 mins of journaling with an eye to memoir development.

As I indicated last year, I would like to write (am working on writing?) a family memoir. My family story has lots of elements that I think are worth telling. You’ve got (enter dramatic narrator voice) dos fincas on opposite ends of an island, a political revolution, a 20 year family split, a dusty road in Boniato, a lonely girl who finds love at el carnaval, and a long-sought reunion that was not what was bargained for. Plus the immigrant story to top it all off.

When will this captivating tale of love, loss, and revolution be penned in the midst of drafting journal articles and completing dissertations? I do not know. But I want to tell it, and I want to take teeeeny baby steps towards it.

Wish me luck! And let me know if you have some thought about the ethics or practicalities of food you want to share.

Frankfurt, old town center



2 thoughts on “Memoir May

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