Chris and I recently just transformed our second bedroom/messy storage shed into an office/studio. This room has gone from being my least favorite room (I would avoid this room at all costs, even though all of my props were somehow stored in there) to a very clean, organized and peaceful working space. Instead of doing all of my work from the dining room table, I now have a little office which I love being in. It's still a work in progress- there's still some minor details that we're working on, but once it's completed, I'll be sure to share it with you (there's something in it for you guys!!!).
The best part of this new room is that my desk is up against the window, overlooking the sidewalk below and the canal across the street. There's a lot of trees in front of the window so people can't really see in, but I can see out. And I can hear everything that the passers-by below say. It's a beautiful view to have while I work and it's great entertainment for when I need a break.
I listen to conversations between mothers and their children, people and their dogs (though, in this case, it's just the people talking), couples arguing, and people on the phone with their friends or family. In the evenings, I hear the people on their way to the bar down the way and the drunk people on their way home. Because we live near the beach, I listen to people get angry about the lack of street parking, families brainstorming on how to carry all of their things down to the beach, and the college kids trying to get the phone number from the hot chick they met at the volleyball court.
The other day, I overheard a conversation that has really stuck with me. A woman was talking on the phone, making plans for some meal they were going to be having with another friend. "I don't want any healthy food, I don't want any organic food and I certainly don't want any of that vegan bullshit she likes to eat," this woman heatedly told her friend.
It was probably the disgust with which she spoke that amused me. I know there are people who feel strongly against vegan food for a number of reasons ("It won't be filling," "It won't taste good," "Animals are meant to be eaten," "I need to eat meat for my health," and the list goes on and on) so as much as I disagree with all of those explanations, I can understand her not wanting to have vegan food. That part stung a little, but I understood because I know people who feel this way. But healthy and/or organic food? I wondered what sort of experience this woman must've had with "healthy" or "organic" food to fill her with such hate.
What would happen if they took this woman to a steak house and as she took a bite of her mashed potato, she noticed something was off. "Are these organic potatoes?" I imagine she would screech right before she stood up, flipped the table over and stormed out of the restaurant. What if they met at their friend's house for a barbecue and a healthy salad was served? Would a fight break out? What would they tell the cops? "I told that #%*hole that I didn't want anything healthy!"
That evening, I made these smoky sweet corn pizzas. It was inspired by a pizza I'd had on my birthday at Crossroads Kitchen. The spread is made of a puree of organic corn and white beans and the toppings include roasted organic okra, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Considering that there is very minimal oil in this dish (just enough to spray the corn, okra and potatoes with before roasting), no added sugar, and contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, I would consider it to be one healthy, organic and vegan pizza. On top of that, it's ridiculously delicious.
What would that angry woman do if I served this to her? I like to believe that it's so good that she wouldn't even question whether or not it was healthy or of the ingredients were organic. Because the smoky sweet corn puree is so tasty, and to be perfectly honest, downright addictive, that she wouldn't even miss the pepperoni or cheese. Of course, if she did miss them, some Wayfare Pig Out bacony bits would be a delicious topping (something I realized the second time I made this pizza) and a tiny bit of daiya or Parmela spinkled on top wouldn't be a bad addition for the scrutinizing omnivore. I like to think this is one of those recipes that can change the minds of those omnivores that despise all things healthy, organic, or vegan. Go ahead- try it. I'll be waiting to hear a person walk by, telling their friend all about that awesome vegan pizza they had.
- 1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen), separated
- olive oil spray
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15oz can of great northern white beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 recipe pizza dough (or used store-bought), split into four pieces
- 1/2 lb. fresh okra, tops trimmed with out opening the pod
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 4-5 fingerling potatoes, thickly sliced (about 4 slices per potato)
- olive oil spray
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On one baking sheet, spread out the 2 cups of corn. On the other baking sheet spread out the potatoes and the okra. Lightly spray all with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the paprika to the corn. Toss all to coat.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, flipping the corn halfway through. After 10 minutes, remove the corn and toss the okra and potatoes. Cook them for 10 minutes more then remove from the oven. Turn the oven up to 475.
- While the okra and potatoes are cooking, make the corn puree. Combine 1 cup of the roasted corn with the other corn puree ingredients and puree until smooth. Add in a 1/3 cup more of the corn and the basil and pulse a few times until incorporated and the corn is broken up into chunks.
- Make sure the oven is set to 475. On a floured surface, roll out the four small pieces of pizza dough into small crust (alternatively, you can do two large pizzas instead of 4 small).
- Spread the corn puree on the four uncooked pizza crusts (or 2 large pizza crusts). Top with cherry tomatoes, okra and potatoes. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining corn. Bake them in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until crust is crisp and golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Do you know anyone who outright refuses to eat healthfully? How do you deal with it?
Photography by Chris Miller
Emily - It Comes Naturally
I overheard my Mum tell someone that my blog was all about 'food with no calories'. It was early days, and it really stung. Not only had she not read my blog (I'd posted mince cobbler) she had judged that because my food was healthy - it wasn't worth anything. I avoid preaching but continue to eat healthily and I hope I can lead by example. xxx
Emily, I had to comment because this has been really getting on my nerves about my mom too! I don't have a blog but it's like she has selective vision when it comes to my eating habits. She says she never ever ever sees me eat anything but salad! Despite the fact that we work together and I"m with her all the time. She knows about my avid baking and that I make myself cakes and muffins (and almost never share because I live alone lol) like 5-6 times a week, literally as my dessert for lunch every day I have a cake pan worth of cake.
After eating out at a Columbian place earlier this week where I had a whole authentic plate of rice beans, fried plantains, etc. Then got back to our hotel where I also downed a whole bag of love grown granola as dessert :X I was trying to explain to her that my shunning gluten was not shunning the whole grain food group she flat out says "you don't eat rice". Ummm?
Anywys, sorry for the rant!! Just really on my mind this week. This pizza looks amazing because I've been hoarding okra from the farmers market every week!
Emily - It Comes Naturally
Hi Gaby. No one quite knows how to hurt you like family does! I like to think it comes from a place of love, but it is totally selective vision! xxx
Thank you, Gaby. I totally feel you on this. My mom actually thinks I'm lying to her (or overreacting) when it try to explain the state of animal agriculture. She refuses to hear it.
I also get a lot of speculation from my family. I'm not by any means skinny, but I'm fit and I'm thinner than most of the people in my family. For that, I'm always told that I need to eat some beef or there's some sort of eating disorder comment. I just tell them that my doctor says I'm in perfect health and my blood tests prove it. But it is frustrating to be under such scrutiny for the way you chose to eat. I totally understand your frustration.
I totally understand your frustration. I can't even talk to my family about my blog because they think it's silly or just a phase I'm going through. I've learned to just keep my mouth shut about the blog and if it comes up, I'll talk about my choice to be vegan, but I make it very clear that it's my choice and not something I'm trying to convert them to. That's all we can do- lead by example. 🙂
Your interpretation of what that woman would do at a steakhouse or BBQ just made my day. So hilarious! I will remember that for next time 🙂
I get those comments/mutterings/dismissals at every family event. If it's a potluck, I bring some delicious treat and demurely set it behind the platter of steak. Often it gets eaten before the other offerings, and with high praise (the downside to this is that I don't get any usually!). I sit back and enjoy the praise, and if the ears are open tell them that they are enjoying "healthy vegan bullshit". Else, I enjoy the feeling that for one meal at least, I contributed to their health, well being, the planet, etc. And hope that one day it'll dawn that what they enjoyed so much was that "healthy vegan bullshit".
My other coping mechanism involves stashing food and Lindt 99% cocoa chocolate 🙂
Your family sounds a lot like my family! It's interesting to hear them scrutinize your diet while scarfing down the food you brought. 🙂
I'm going to have to remember to have a good bar of chocolate stowed away for the next family event- I'm sure that works wonder for stress relief! 😉
people like that are both hilarious and infuriating. i've been accosted by people that are so against veganism that they feel the need to try and trick me into agreeing with them. ain't gonna happen.
i made a similar pizza a few weeks ago, but it didn't have this awesome corn and bean spread. can't wait to give this one a go!
I completely agree- on one hand it's so funny how wrong they are but at the same time, it really does feel like you're under attack.
You're going to love the corn & bean spread- it's my favorite part! 🙂
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
This kind of stuff drives me crazy too!! Ugh, I hate when people assume that vegan food is going to be hippie food or gross, but when they taste delicious vegan food they say " Are you SURE this is vegan?" Um yes, because I like delicious food but I also like to feel good about what I am eating!
I completely understand. I have a cousin who once said she would never go vegan because she "actually likes to enjoy her food." I feel like saying "Do you read my blog? Do you see the awesome food I get to eat? You better believe I enjoyed every bite!" And this same cousin has also tried my food and liked it. And her favorite cinnamon roll on earth is from Cinnaholic in Berkeley. But vegan food is not enjoyable... Puh-Lease!
Dana @ Vanishing Veggie
That pizza looks delicious, and I would hope that anyone you served it to would marvel at its wonder. Luckily for me, there are a lot of people in my life that really love all my vegan cooking. My co-workers, with whom I share my lunch breaks with, are the opposite. While for the most part they are pretty nice to me now, there is always a little "I can't understand how you can survive without meat" or "Don't you wish you could eat this" comments. Some people are just not exposed to a healthier way of eating, and they have a lot of misconceptions about the people that chose to live like that. We just have to keep exposing those people to other ways of eating.
You're so right. We just have to lead by example and hope to plant a seed. 🙂
Kristy, you made me laugh out loud over the cranky woman!
I've got several friends, not vegan, who absolutely love when I show up with a new dish for them to try. (often one of yours)
The comments used to be that they never knew how good vegan could be.
Little by little they're cutting back their meat consumption. Yay!
That is so awesome to hear! Thank you so much for sharing my dishes- that totally just made my day!
That is too funny.... Love your scenarios. It's so interesting to me how much emotional baggage there can be wrapped up in food. When I teach vegan cooking classes and transition classes, I'm always careful with how I speak about food - definitely don't want to turn someone off just in the intro talk :-). The ones I have a harder time understanding are those who refuse to give up eating animals for just one meal.....
That's really what it is, isn't it- the emotional baggage we have tied up with the food we eat. Thank you for sharing, Kelli- it's such a good reminder of why we need to seek first to understand and second to be understood. 🙂
The Vegan Cookie Fairy
How do you always get so creative with your pizza toppings? This looks great.
My sister is quite "anti-vegan." She once told me she hoped I wouldn't raise my children like that because "it's stupid." She eats healthily enough for herself and her family, but she wouldn't overdo it with the healthy foods because she deems that to be too extreme. I'm afraid my family can be quite stubborn.
You are not alone in the stubborn family club! I've got one of my own too. 🙂
I'm with you, Kristy. I can 100% understand why people would be averse to vegan food. I can even get why someone would specifically denounce "healthy" food, at least for a night or special ocassion. (Or time of the month.) But, I have NEVER, EVER heard of someone having something against ORGANIC food?!? LOL But, people, ignorantly, associate organic with HEALTHY. Even my SO, who has been brainwashed and near waterboarded with my crunchy granola ways, falls into this trap, coming home with some junk food, saying "But it's ORGANIC." when I give him "the look". LOL
Sometimes I wonder how these preconcieved notions and gross misconceptions about food and health get planted and grow in people's heads. I suppose someone has ONE encounter with "one of them" (be it a vegan, a Frenchman, a Christian, a nudist, a yogi, a homeless person, etc.), and somehow that turns into the defining experience which makes everyone else who follows those beliefs or lifestyle exactly like that one person. Or, similarly, an experience WITH that way of life. A negative experience, even if it was just a one-time thing, can lead me to understand why a dislike exists for that particular thing, or, as it be, group of people. What I don't understand is the hatred that stews in people regarding those who possess differing views or opinions. I concede that sometimes passion for things can sometimes, unfortunately, manifest as a seemingly automatic unacceptance or intolerance to an opposing way of life. Personally, I don't understand people who don't, for instance, recycle. (?!?) There's NO excuse for it in this day and age. People who deny global waring and insist it's some big conspiracy among the left wings and environmentalists are another group that frustrate me. It's a challenge, but if I want others to RESPECT MY way of life, I need to respect theirs. Or, at least, their prerogative to life the way they do.
We all learn different things and evolve at different times (and maybe not at all) because of our personalities and interests so, IMHO, leading by example is the best we can do. I don't preach, I don't nag, I never criticize someone's food choices or other lifestyle choices. If I want to share what I know, I make gentle "what works for some" statements. What helps more than anything is realizing that not everything that works for me is going to work for everybody else. we're all different, all always evolving. What works for me NOW may not work for me 10 years from now. It can be extremely difficult when you're seriously enthusiastic about something and when you sincerely feel a certain belief system is not only negative but harmful. It's TRYING, but patience and tolerance are hard-earned virtues and can only help us in our journey, right?
Whoa! How did my post turn into that?! LOL I'm stepping down from my box. ;p Bottom line: People can be ridiculous, myself included. It's part of what makes the world go round, right? 🙂
I wholeheartedly agree with you...and I happen to be among those who don't believe in global warming and am not vegan (though I certainly enjoy eating vegan foods a lot!)
I think we've all fallen into the habit of stereotyping.For example, I find it frustrating that because I'm a minority, I am instantly considered a liberal when I am a conservative! The color of my skin shouldn't dictate my political views (and I find it so terrible when the media villifies people like me). Nor should the term "vegan" be used as a word to describe a hippy who eats carrot sticks all day 🙂
Love the post Kristy!
Thank you! I am so glad you shared your thoughts, Sarah! We aren't all the same nor do we each fit into certain stereotypes. Learning to accept and understand each other, rather than vilifying that which is different form our own way of life, is what we need to do. Such a great reminder- thank you!
Thank you so much for piping in, Liz. You are so right- What works for me may not work for another. Though sometimes it's hard to understand others' choices, understanding is what we need to do before we can attempt to get them to understand us. And though we may not all agree or approve of each others' ways of living, it is these differences that are part of life. 🙂
I can't believe that woman said that?! Tho my husband and I (both vegetarians) went out to our fav Indian restaurant last weekend. The table next to us of 2 couples were talking about a mutual friend and how he was a vegetarian. I of course perked up to eve's drop and they were saying the most ridiculous things - how vegetarianism was stupid, unhealthy and how their friend is dumb for trying it. I almost leaned over to give them my 2 sense (stopped by my husband)! I mean...what an ignorant comment! I'm a dietitian AND a vegetarian and am very healthy!
It's astounding how, in this day and age, with all the knowledge out there and living, breathing, HEALTHY examples of vegetarianism that people STILL think that way. It's both frustrating and just SAD. Sometimes I feel like this world has come such a long way, then I hear things like that.
It is amazing the comments that stem from ignorance. I think I would've wanted to pipe in as well, but knowing me, I probably would've started talking loudly about how much I love my vegan diet and how great it makes me feel (because I can be terribly obnoxious at times). Thank you for chiming in, Maria!
Its amusing really when everything gets put in the same bucket.. vegetables, vegans, vegetables, organic and anything health related is basically not going to taste good and any of those key words are enough to bug someone:)
this is such an intriguing pizza with the corn okra and crisp potatoes.
Thank you, Richa! It is interesting how certain words can trigger such emotions about food, isn't it?
Your post about that ridiculous woman totally cracked me up! The things people say/think about healthy/organic/vegan food...
I'm thinking I may just make the smoky sweet corn spread and enjoy it all on its own - it sounds amazing!
Thank you, Amanda! And that spread is my favorite- I've used it in far more things than just this sandwich. It's just so good! 🙂
Aly @ Return To Your Root
I can identify a lot with this post because that woman sounds a lot like my mom, sister, and brother. Even though they know I'm passionate about cooking, whenever I go home no one wants me to cook anything because they know it will surely be "healthy" and "tasteless." It makes me feel terrible every single time, mostly because all I want to do is share my passion with my family, the closest people to me in the world, and they blatantly refuse to accept it. (And, in the past when I've cooked meals for them, they have begrudgingly liked it)
Thank you for posting this and that recipe looks divine 🙂
Thank you, Aly. That sounds an awful lot like my family. They've never disliked anything I've ever made (that they've actually tried- sometimes they won't try it at all), but they insist that they need to "enjoy" their food. It is very frustrating because I, like you, just want to share something I'm passionate about with my family and they don't want to have anything to do with it. I completely understand how heartbreaking and frustrating it can be. Sending big hugs your way. 🙂
Your fantasy scenarios about the organic/healthy/vegan-food hater are hilarious, Kristy! What an amazing conversation to overhear - almost as if it were meant to be. If only they knew a VEGAN lurked behind the window!!
Like a lot of commenters here, your post also hits home. Some of my family members are hurt and confused by my choices and have been known to say things like: "Ann needs animal protein" and "Ann is wasting her talent on vegan food" or "I only eat 'real' food." It really hurts, but I do try to understand where the words come from - it's all about (I believe) a perceived judgment that I've made on their choices, their lifestyle, and the way that they raised me. Anyway...thank you for a thoughtful post and a delicious recipe.
I apologize for jumping in. Kristi has instigated some great conversation with her open window eavesdropping!
I completely agree with you. My "meatitarian" family (I think) feels that it's a personal insult that I have chosen to be a vegan for various reasons. I have heard the same comments, and while under their roof the kitchen is off-limits to my "hippie vegan" ways. (How is it that people can pronounce vegan and make it sound like such an insult?) Food is closely tied to values, which is why I'm a vegan. It's my theory that due to this close connection with self, people react so harshly. Case in point: organic baked potatoes at a steak house incenting a riot 🙂
But through humour, grace, and the knowledge of both sides (I wasn’t raised a vegan, and understand their viewpoint), slowly I think we can change the minds of people. Or at least change their minds to be more accepting of other people’s values at the dinner table. Good food only helps this (food activism: the way to people's hearts is through their stomach). After all, chocolate is vegan …
Such a good point, Katie- food is the best form of activism. We can argue with words and opinions but nothing can argue with delicious food. 😉
Thank you, Annie. My family makes many of the same comments and it really does hurt sometimes. Like you, I have to remind myself that they see my choices as a judgement against their choices when that is not the case at all. I try to understand, though sometimes it can be particularly rough. 🙂
What a crazy lady! I don't think I'd take offence against her being anti-vegan food as she's obviously a little strange if she's anti healthy and organic food too!
This pizza sounds amazing.Love the sound of the smoky bean corn spread. I bet that would be great as a dip as well 🙂
Thank you, Emma and you are totally right- it makes a wonderful dip! 🙂
I know a lot of people that refuse to eat healthily, they see eating healthy as punishment? I truly dislike when their excuse is "well I am going to die someday" okay, yes, but wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to live a longer healthier life? I have to sometimes step back and realize it is their choice, just like it is my choice to live the way I do and not Judge the person as I do not want to be judged by them. It is the greatest when someone who flat out despises vegan food to take a bite of unknowingly vegan dish and say hey this is pretty awesome!
I used to have a client who would say that (as his reason to not exercise)- "We're going to end up in a box either way." I would tell him that taking care of himself is going to push that box away by several years and the journey there is going to be much less painful (and have less medical bills!).
I completely agree with you, though, about practicing compassion for all living beings, not just the non-human ones. 🙂 If we want to be accepted for our lifestyle choices, we need to accept theirs, no matter how odd it may seem to us.
Between people like her who are afraid of healthy food and the stereotypes about veg diets that still prevail, it's crazy. I was listening to a lecture on one of the virtual conferences that was going on a couple of months ago, and I decided to listen to one of the speakers who was clearly a pro-meat person. I knew I wouldn't agree with them, but I was curious what they would say and how they'd frame it. She spent a good while talking about how "you know how vegetarians are always so spacy and don't know what they're doing and aren't at all grounded". I mean, seriously?
It is pretty crazy, isn't it? Just about ten years ago (can it really be ten years ago???) when I was studying nutrition in college, I remember my professor making some of those same statements. I was vegetarian at the time, but we were taught to be very skeptical of the vegetarian diet and in a clinical setting, look out for those common symptoms. Crazy, right?
Gabby @ the veggie nook
I don't know anyone who refuses to eat healthy but I do deal with some people who are vocally against veganism. I always hold back though- veganism is all about compassion right? For animals and other people! I figure there must be something they're dealing with to feel the need to put others down.
Sharing delicious vegan food is a good strategy too. I bet his pizza would convert even the toughest critic to our side 🙂
Thank you, Gabby! I love how compassionate and understanding you are- you are a true gem. 🙂
MMMMMMMMMMM corn and okras?! that's an exciting combination on your pizza! You have such gorgeous pictures, go you!