Once up a time, I was a vegetarian. For almost four years, actually.

Yes, I know. Yes, I KNOW. Shut up. I was, and I didn’t break, not even for bacon. NOT EVEN FOR BACON. That’s how you know I was serious, because I take bacon very, very seriously, even more seriously than chocolate.

It’s corollary to the story that I first cracked on my first re-date with Brian. I patched the chinks up, turned Brian into a vegetarian as well, and then cracked completely later that year when summer rolled around. (Brian’s family grills a lot of sausage.) But we tried, we really did.*

Anyway.

*Good for you if you can hack if. I’ll join you again…one day.

beansbeans, all mushed up

During the time we first started living together but prior to the Sausage Summer of 2002, we ate a lot of pasta. We ate a lot of falafel sandwiches from the awesome joint down the street where we now get platters of lamb shawarma. We ate a lot of vegetarian stuffed peppers, veggie burgers, chicken nuggets made of something called “quorn” and many, many piles of black beans and rice. I believe that on Thanksgiving, we forced Brian’s father to smoke a loaf of Quorn alongside the turkey. We made of a lot of hummus, and a lot of meatless chili with, yes, extra beans.

(“Smoke a loaf of Quorn” = a sentence that means one thing but sounds like it should mean another.)

Yes, there was a lot of farting. But when you fart together, it’s not so bad. You know, because the stench is so all-pervasive that you get used to it faster. Just remember to open the windows at least 6 hours before having any house guests, even in the middle of winter, if you ever want to have house guests again. We went a long while without having any downstairs neighbors, although I’m sure that was just a coincidence.

plantains

We also ate a lot of veggie burritos: homemade refried beans with roasted potatoes, peppers and onions and the usual suspects of cheese, cilantro, and sometimes sour cream and salsa if they were around. (We were a lot broker then, which is saying something, so salsa was a luxury item.)

We got our bean-related supplies across the street from a very sketchy grocery store which probably should have been condemned because some of the meat in that case was about to crawl away of its own accord. But among their aged groceries there were always aged plantains, looking like they should be tossed because their skins were almost completely black. DO NOT FEAR THE BLACKENED PLANTAIN.

Some people like their plantains fresh and firm, but I love mine overripe and fried until wonderfully caramelized on the outside and sweetly giving on the inside. Plus, the unripe green ones are really fricking hard to peel, and the overripe ones were always on sale for like, ten for a dollar, making them perfect for cheaper eating. While I was in the bodega after work picking up beans and onions for dinner I saw a pile of plantains, half of them yellow, half black. I figured as long as dinner was a throwback we might as well go all the way and fry some up.

veg burritos

I threw together the beans, chucked some veggies into the oven and somehow managed to have all the components of dinner ready AT THE SAME TIME which NEVER FUCKING HAPPENS. So I’m, like, the damn queen of the hill tonight.

I heated up a tortilla, slathered it with beans and piled on vegetables, cheese and cilantro. In commemoration of the Days of Cheapness and because I forgot to get some, there was no sour cream, and there was no salsa because I forgot to dig the bottle of green salsa out of the pantry. (I made up for it with extra cheese, which covers a multitude of forgetfulness sins.) Then I sat down to relive the halcyon days of 2001-2002, when we were poor as shit and I had to drag myself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn every morning to get to Torts class on time because I went to law school like some kind of student loan debt-loving person who wants to be a lawyer. Neither of which describe me.

Good times.

At least the veggie burrito was as good as I remembered it. I know it might seem strange, but potatoes and tacos – or burritos – really play well together. Spicy, chunky beans plus sweet roasted peppers and onions plus flavorful yukon golds = a delicious burrito.

And farting. But there’s no apartment underneath us in this building, so LET ‘ER RIP.