The bento I made last night is a combination of some of my favorite foods as a kid, albeit veganized.
Some of my favorites of my childhood were sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, deep fried steak, fried chicken, fried okra, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Know that the bento features veganized versions and if you don’t want to follow me on the trip down memory lane, then this is all you need to read until tomorrow’s bento. :)
I went vegan during the fall semester of my senior year of high school, so a few of my childhood favorites kind of gross me out now. Little known fact, the non-vegan variant of one of these dishes is what made me go vegetarian because I got horrible chest pains after eating it.
I prepared the Gardein Beefless strips the same way as I used to fry steak up- at least as much as I can remember. This was the chest pains dish. Every. Single. Time. I. Ate. This. It was awful and I got fed up and decided that since it was my absolute favorite that I would just go vegetarian because I knew a few vegetarians and they were a lot healthier than me. I even made a huge powerpoint of why vegetarianism was better than being an omnivore- just in case of a parental power struggle I’d be backed with research right then and there. I just hope the veganized version doesn’t give me chest pains too.
And I have added another veganized version of a favorite of mine as a kid, fried chicken. My dad used to compliment me on how good I could fry up the hens. I’m just glad that since I’ve made the switch that I am not contributing to the taking of a life. When I first went vegetarian I wept profusely over the birds losing their lives for human consumption(I was a baby veg-head and my eyes were just opened, it’s only natural). I breaded the Gardein Chick’n Strips with Panko bread crumbs and fried it up to make a guilt-free version for this bento!
Fried okra was another one of my favorites, and I actually turned to this a lot when I first went vegetarian. My mom had bags and bags of this stuff in the freezer, pre-breaded. I would get home from school, heat up the skillet with oil, and while these were cooking, I’d wash dishes. I’d sit down and watch a little bit of television eating these like popcorn.
And of course, mashed potatoes and gravy!
I know this bento is nowhere NEAR the pinnacle of health. In fact, it’s probably the opposite, despite being vegan. Of course, you can be a vegan and eat nothing but Oreos and french fries all day, so just going vegan won’t necessarily make you healthier. But there is an online bento community whose theme this week is comfort foods, and what’s more comforting than one’s childhood?