Roasted butternut and mushrooms with hendricks, herbs and gjetost cheese (vegetarian Norwegian reindeer stew)

Roasted butternut with hendricks and gjetost cheese

Roasted butternut with hendricks and gjetost cheese

I feel like I’ve been going on (and on) lately in an increasingly verbose fashion, and I have to get to work soon, so I’m going to let some others speak today. In the past we’ve presented a collection of quotes, in the style of Seymour and Buddy Glass, and today those quotes will all be about vegetarianism. I try not to talk about vegetarianism too much, because it invariably seems preachy and proselytizing, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and this is a vegetarian food blog! It all started when I got to thinking about George Bernard Shaw, whom I admire very much. I was thinking that however hard it occasionally is to be a vegetarian today, it must have been much harder when he lived. And I started to find a lot of quotes from people I admire, so that it seemed, as Gandhi said, that “It is very significant that some of the most thoughtful and cultured men are partisans of a pure vegetable diet.” Last week I spoke about my appreciation of generosity in novels and films, of an author’s affection for the characters they’ve created, and I started to see a connection between writers and essayists that I love because they’re kind to their characters (like Shaw or Tolstoy), and a greater philosophy of compassion for all creatures. So here are some of the wise things that have been said. I find the prophetic urgency of them very fascinating, particularly compared to the world we find ourselves in today. I love to think about people thinking about these things – about our place in the world, or relation to nature, the value of kindness – not in a judgmental way, but as a philosophical exercise in understanding the great mysteries.

    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

    “Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai. ~Leo Tolstoy

    While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth? ~George Bernard Shaw

    I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

    Animals are my friends… and I don’t eat my friends. ~George Bernard Shaw

    One farmer says to me, “You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;” and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. ~Henry David Thoreau

    The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.
    Leonardo Da Vinci

    The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind; but kindness and beneficence should be extended to the creatures of every species and these will flow from the breast of a true man, as streams that issue from the living fountain.

And that’s all for now! On to this meal! Surely one of the strangest but tastiest I’ve made. I bought some gjetost cheese, as I’ve mentioned. I had read in the Guardian that this cheese could be used to thicken a Norwegian reindeer stew called Finnbiff. So I looked up a few recipes, and I decided to try it! I used thinly-sliced roasted butternut squash as a replacement for the reindeer meat. I roasted them mushrooms, too. Every recipe I saw called for Juniper berries. I didn’t have juniper berries, but I did have Hendrick’s gin, which is made with juniper berries! I added a big slosh of that, as well as a little bit of rosemary, because juniper berries are said to be a little piney. This whole meal was the most umami-ish thing I’ve ever eaten! It had a depth and sweetness that was lovely. Finnbiff is eaten with mashed potatoes and cranberries (well, lingonberries, originally, I think), so we had that, too. The mashed potatoes were perfect with the squash and mushrooms, as a nicely-textured, mild-flavored foil for their strong flavor.

Here’s Desmond Dekker with Wise Man.

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