No Meat March Experience

Joseph Basco

No Meat March Experience
Weeks 2 and 3

Joseph Basco, News Editor
I began week two without breakfast. I contemplated the limited selection of vegetarian choices at Outtakes in Osprey Plaza. The enticing-sounding mushroom bisque wooed me, but there was no soup for me. I settled for the veggies and hummus plate. I must say the amount of hummus provided did not equate to the amount of veggies. They should call it the veggie plate with a hint of hummus.
Another day of note in week two is a Friday trip to downtown. Burrito Gallery is the place to go the first time one goes downtown. I usually get the curry shrimp burrito, but No Meat March instructed me to avoid spicy seafood goodness. I got the ginger teriyaki tofu burrito. The burrito has the ability to convert meat eaters into vegetarians.
The weekend comprised of steel-cut oatmeal. For those that don’t know, steel-cut oatmeal differs from instant oatmeal because of the amount of time it takes to cook. But in exchange for 30 minutes of cooking, one is rewarded with breakfast food that has a much fuller flavor and texture than oatmeal that’s made in the microwave.
Week three was spring break week. I started off every day with a spinach, kale and egg omelet. Wednesday was a special day as I went to Orlando to buy vinyl records and meet up with old friends. But, as with the rest of the country except for Jacksonville, food trucks litter the streets of Orlando with tasty food that may or may not contain meat. One such truck in the city serves Korean barebecue tacos. I watched as my friends enjoyed Mexican-Korean fusion cuisine while I drank Snapple.
My friends then introduced me to a quaint Cuban restaurant in Winter Park called Black Bean Deli. Once again, they enjoyed meat products. They tried Cuban sandwiches and a variant of the Miami classic that included chorizo instead of ham. I drank coconut water and ate fried green plantains.
So what I have learned thus far? Friends don’t let friends eat meat while on vacation.

Ryan Thompson, Features Editor

My favorite thing about weeks two and three is that I had to fend for myself, instead of falling back on UNF’s meatless options.

Pumped for Spring Break, I made a fantastic salad with romaine lettuce, chopped up peppers, tomatoes, carrots, olives and some vinaigrette. That magnificent lunch kept me full until dinner, when I made an incredible pasta — a dish I apparently should have shared with my Instagram followers. Before reading the next three paragraphs, go ahead and fetch yourself a bib.
Out of some sort of inspiration, I brought water to a boil and threw some whole wheat angel hair pasta into that silvery pot. I garnered some spinach and brought it to some heat because spinach is always great wet and curled in on itself. I chopped up some carrots and sliced and diced some red and green peppers.
Then I thought: “sauce!” I melted some mozzarella cheese in olive oil and added milk to the pizza topping-esque mix. Because I’m obviously emulating Emeril, I bammed some crushed basil into that sauce.
At last, I dumped the veggies into the pasta and combined the sauce and my carb-veggie dish. My many visits to Olive Garden inspired me to go one notch further on the dial of Annoyingly Food Networkish Meals, and I grated some Parmesan cheese on top.
Now you’re asking me why I didn’t invite you over. I know; I’m selfish.
Me making my own meals didn’t inspire itself, however. I must admit that while at an old friend’s house, I had a slice of what I thought was just cheese pizza that had bacon bits in it. I realized then that making your own meals plays the largest role in vegetarianism or veganity.
Over the break, I also learned that with making your meals comes the knowledge of how to, well, cook. I guess you’re not just supposed to stove-cook everything on high so that it doesn’t take as long. I learned that when suffering through a burned cheese, green and red pepper omelet March 16. At least I topped my browning egg-mess with avocado slices and skillfully hid my tastebuds from the desolation while gumming the a.m. catastrophe.
Slow cook everything from here on out. Got it.