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It's the Little Things.

I've only been a vegetarian for two years now (well, this time, I was veg in college as well) and in general I think it's a good fit for me (please be clear, I'm not saying a good fit for everyone). I took it on to drastically reduce my footprint and it's done that but it's also improved my health and sense of well being.

Still, there are things I miss. Over the past year I've found that I crave fish/seafood - and I do splurge in very rare, special instances to have it (particularly if it is ethical). Over the past few months I've begun to crave poultry and it makes me wonder if my nutritional blend is missing something.

Some of it is variety I think. I get the same food options and while I'm trying to expand my vegetarian cooking skills, I often fall back on the same set of dishes. My grocery has the same set of veggie offerings and sometimes I really just crave something flavorful and new.

And of course there are those "old favorites" from omnivorism that simply can't be reproduced.

For me, one of those is Tom kha soup, an intense Thai soup (with chicken) that makes my saliva glads tango just upon mentioning. It's such an artful blend of flavors: warm spices, bright-citrusy lemon grass and galangal and sweet coconut milk. I have thought about making a bird-free version at home, but it's not possible to create with local ingredients, so I have avoided experimenting and have simply waved at it longingly on every Thai menu that I've passed.

Guess how tickled I was when I went to Legee Rice and Noodles (which is only a half a block from my pottery studio) and found that they had vegetarian Tom kha tofu? *happy dance!* It was wonderful; very fresh, clean and less rich than the chicken versions I have had. They use very little coconut milk and add raw veggies (which soften in the warm broth, but not too much) so there's a nice textural mix.

With the wet, gray days we've been having in Chicago - and the wet gray days of my heart, something golden, warm, passionate and comforting was a welcome and delicious gift. Mmmmmmmm...

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