I Hated Vegetables—Until I Befriended Vegetarians

Vegetables are not friends.
Photo by Alpha Smoot

I used to go days without eating a single vegetable. This was in the early 2000s when avocados and cauliflower were just gaining speed as pantry staples. Plus, at the time I was poor. Staying full was all that mattered, and fancy market vegetables just weren’t a high priority in my meat-and-rice diet, especially as I moved into my own place and started cooking for myself.

When I got my first paycheck, I bought an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, a gorgeous mustard yellow number that I still cook everything in today. Julie & Julia had just come out, so long, slow-cooked French braises were all the rage. I also lived right next to a butcher and developed a relationship with the guy across the counter, so I’d come home with huge cuts of meat three to four times a week, which I couldn’t wait to figure out how to cook in Alfred (the Dutch oven).

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