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The Essential Vegetarian

Going Vegan -- Part Deux

By Katie Jeffreys

I did it! A full week of being vegan! And let me just say that being vegan is a very difficult thing to do. It is too time-consuming for me, and significantly reduced the number of dining options I had. As I mentioned previously, my biggest concern was my sweet tooth. I challenged this by baking brownies for some friends, but I was able to resist the temptation to lick the bowl. I also sought non-dairy sweets, such as frozen fruit bars, “rice” cream, and fresh fruits.

I did have a few mishaps however, such as when I put margarine on some corn. I had been under the impression that it was a wholly oil based product, when in reality it had dairy products in it. These occurrences, however, were very uncommon, and no other similar incidents come to mind at the moment.

As far as Aramark’s contribution to my dining experience, let’s just say it was minimal. I was very happy when Baker Dining, my Aramark establishment of choice. One night I had three side dishes -- rice, string beans, and potatoes which were all (according to the chef behind the counter) dairy-free. Other than that I had little experience with dining hall vegan fare.

So, am I vegan for good now? No! An emphatic, resounding, Hello!-This-is-Ben-&-Jerry’s-Free-Cone-Day,-do-you-think-I-would-miss-that?-NO! While in principle I think veganism is a great idea for both my health and the environment, I don’t have the time or money to devote my diet to the cause. I do, however, have a whole new respect for people who do not eat dairy products. My aunt was vegan for a few years awhile back, and I was always amazed by the meals she could produce using soy cheese and vegan “meat” products. I, however, don’t have the space to store all these groceries, and had a hard time finding inexpensive soy cheese.

So the moral of the story is, I found willpower where I didn’t know I had any. When evil milk chocolate, ice cream, and cheese reared their ugly heads, I turned the other way to the dairy-free world of veganism. But when the clock hit two Saturday night, and my week as a vegan ended, I immediately indulged in some fudge marble ice cream, both out of celebration for my completed goal and pure desire for such a treat. I don’t know that I will try veganism again until I have a home of my own in which to cook, and a schedule which allows me to spend time cooking.

So until then, I offer you a simple recipe which is a favorite pool-side dip, in anticipation of the warm summer months ahead. Be sure to get sturdy tortilla chips for dipping! Please email me questions at!

Taco Dip

1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese

1 can bean chili

1 package shredded taco cheese

Spread cream cheese in the bottom of an 8” x 8” microwaveable casserole dish. Pour the chili on top, then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Cover, and microwave for five minutes on HIGH. Serve immediately with tortilla chips for dipping.