Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shut up and eat your bird seed....

Since I was thinking about sad substitutes in my last post, I thought it was time to check back in to one of my favorite categories of sad special diet recipes: old-school vegetarian.

Our recipes this week come from A Collection of the Very Finest Recipes Ever Assembled Into One Cookbook (1979). Given the modest title, one hopes that this collection will do better than the flavorless protein loaves featured so prominently in other books.

That would be a bit much to ask, though, wouldn't it? Greasy and nearly flavorless vegetable-based doorstops were a fixture, and no collection would be complete without at least one. Even the lackluster directions suggest no one wants to waste time on this, so let's see if there's something more creative.

Okay, so the title doesn't scream "creative." It only seems marginally accurate, too. Yes, this recipe does consist mainly of vegetables, but calling celery, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and mushroom cooked with a bit of bell pepper and green onion in some bouillon a "dinner" is a bit of a stretch. (And we'll pretend we didn't notice that the bouillon cube is beef, by the way.) There's no heft or substance-- no grains, beans, tofu, anything. The plate of iceberg lettuce and baked potato that steakhouses scrounge up for the vegetarians whose families have strong-armed them into going out for dad's birthday is more satisfying than this.

At least more restaurants have a veggie burger now. I couldn't find any veggie burgers in this cookbook, but I did find a lower evolutionary stage of veggie burgers:

If the name "Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Patties" isn't enough to make your mouth water, maybe the knowledge that they are baked under a sauce of cream of mushroom soup with evaporated milk will help. No? You could use tomato soup instead of mushroom if you want! Still no? Picky, picky.

If you think these recipes are for the birds, then maybe you're confusing them with this one:

It's "Bird Seed" Stuffed Peppers! And yes, millet really is a major component of many bird seed mixes. Cook millet, mix with onions, mushrooms, seasonings, eggs, and cottage cheese, and stuff into peppers to bake.

It's weird to say, but bird seed looks like the best of all the options. Just call me Tweety....

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