Plant Talk Rants Vietnamese

Why We Fear Nostalgic Foods

Veggie Plate

Missing dishes

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Do you miss eating meat?” It’s kind of strange, because if I went on a no cupcake diet, no one would ask me if I miss eating cupcakes. People would just say, “Good for you, sugar is bad,” well at least I think that’s what most would say. The reality of it all is, I don’t actually miss eating meat. I don’t miss the texture, or the flavor, or even the convenience of it. However, what I do miss are the dishes that bring back the memories of me being a child. And whether or not we call that being a victim of nostalgia or just missing grandma’s cooking, is yet to be determined.

What I feel that holds us back from eating a plant based diet is this fear of never again experiencing that nostalgic dish. I will give you a perfect example. Right this second, I’m making a rich broth made of dried shiitakes, onions, leeks, and carrots. What I plan to do with this broth is use it to make a simple veggie Thai curry. Nothing super fancy, but as for garnish, I just love using fresh Thai basil in this dish. Interestingly, enough, as I’m picking off the thai basil leaves, I’m reminded of not Thai food, but of a piping hot bowl of Vietnamese Pho. You see, Pho was on the rise in the 90’s and the rich herbal, beefy broth, was something new to everyone. I’m not Vietnamese, so it was new to my family. We spent a lot of weekends together, going to our favorite spots in the Sunset District of San Francisco, to grab a great bowl of Pho, and while I do miss that dish very much, at the core of it all, I actually just miss being a kid, and being with my family at a young age.

New memories

It’s tiny moments like this, where I’m led to believe that the majority of people choose NOT to be Vegan, because they fear not ever having their “bowl of pho” with their family again. The short answer to being Vegan is, “yep, you will never have that again…” BUT, and there’s always a “but,” you will inevitably have new experiences and create new memories that you may find, are more enjoyable. That bowl of Pho is still available, just in a vegetarian option. You can enjoy a fulfilling meal anywhere really, you just have to get creative.

Interestingly enough, I’ve met new friends on this Vegan journey. Folks who I’d have never met if it weren’t for this connection of Vegan food. And, as we enjoy our meals together, laughing, dining, and just having a great time together, those will become the new nostalgic memories we build upon. I guess the trick to subside your FOMO (fear of missing out) is to look forward to discovering new and exciting relationships in this world and to gain new memories while never leaving the old ones behind.

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2 comments on “Why We Fear Nostalgic Foods

  1. May Choi

    One of the most important aspects of the food you eat is who you share it with.

  2. I kinda disagree with the nostalgic part when it comes to meat dishes, of course there are childhood memories etc but for the majority it’s much more than that. I think there’s an underlying addiction to blood and a primitive display of dominance manifested in the consumption of animal flesh.

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