Food experiment and a minor rant

How do you make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker? Oh, there are all kinds of ice cream makers–from those plastic balls you fill with salt and ice and shake, to electric ones that sit in your freezer and churn the ice cream while your freezer freezes it, up to expensive countertop machines that freeze and churn all at once. But I have none of those.

I had a little whipping cream left over from the cheesecake and nothing to use it for, and I thought…”suppose I just added a little sugar and vanilla extract, put it in the freezer in a stainless steel bowl, and stirred it at intervals–like, every five minutes?” So I tried that.

It worked perfectly. I made ice cream! With a whisk, a bowl and my freezer! It’s a bit of a pain to jump up and stir the stuff every five minutes, but for home made ice cream–it’s worth it! The recipe does need some tweaking, though. Oddly enough, pure whipping cream doesn’t make the best ice cream in the world. But it’s tasty!

As for the minor rant–this has been on my mind for a while, but was re-triggered when I read yet another awards banquet menu this evening.

Why is it that restaurants always seem to assume that “vegetarian” means “carbo load?”

I’m a vegetarian because I love vegetables. I mean, really, truly, love them. I eat more vegetables, by weight and volume, than any other food group most days. I love steamed veggies, sauteed veggies, raw veggies, roasted veggies, any kind of veggie (except, ew, eggplant). I think broccoli is ambrosia. I eat broccoli by the crate. I can’t imagine having “too much zucchini.” I love zucchini. The last time I grew summer squash, I ate every squash my garden could produce and wished there were more. I eat salad without dressing–I don’t think salad greens need any!

I could go on, but I’ve made my point! Now, conversely–like most vegetarians, I’m into generally healthy eating, and that means whole grains. I don’t voluntarily eat pasta–not even whole wheat pasta. It’s not that I don’t like it. Actually, I do. But it bogs my system down and makes me gain weight, which is one of the best clues my body gives me that I shouldn’t eat something. I don’t eat pizza. I don’t eat white rice. Again–not that I don’t like them (although white rice is pretty boring). They don’t like me. And I’d rather have veggies!

And yet, over and over, when I’ve requested or been offered the sole “vegetarian” (really just “meatless”) option from a limited, banquet-type menu, it’s been things like: a couple of pieces of mushroom, onion and zucchini swimming in tomato sauce on top of four pounds of pasta. Or, a “stir fry” that consisted of a few vegetables in a pint of soupy liquid on top of a huge bowl of white rice. The menu I looked at tonight offered as its sole non-meat choice: mushroom lasagna. And this is typical. Cooks don’t seem to know what to do with people who’d rather throw away the entree and eat the lettuce it was served on. Chefs, hotels and restaurants have trouble believing that people who ask for a “vegetarian option” want fucking VEGETABLES, damn it, and no more refined carbs than the people with the steak or chicken are confronted with.

That is all. I just needed to get that off my chest. *sigh*

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13 Responses to Food experiment and a minor rant

  1. sphynxcatvp says:

    I wish I had a good solution. Traditional foreign ethnic foods maybe?

    (I know you’re trying to avoid things like corn syrup too, but don’t remember the reason…I found a source for organic dextrose/glucose if you’re interested. So far, by law organic can’t contain any GMO, so that makes ME happy considering how much dextrose I go through…)

  2. Gwaetgar says:

    It’s not a problem if I’m cooking for myself or have free choice. It’s a nuisance when the choices are limited, like a banquet or lunch or something with an a la carte menu that basically does, beef-chicken-fish-”vegetarian option.” They did these vegan wraps for the lunch concession at Readercon that weren’t bad at all, lots of veggies–but we’d requested a little hummus in them, and if there was hummus in there, it sure wasn’t much. Not that I minded, but, we’d specifically asked. I’ll eat eggs and cheese, too–pure vegans really have a tough time.

  3. novelfriend says:


    Mmm – I may have to try that ice-cream! If nothing else, it will get me off my butt more often. I can set an alarm for every 5 minutes.

    On the vegetarian thing, we were just talking about that at the horse rescue meeting two nights ago. Almost all the board members are vegetarian, and when we were looking at a Chinese buffet menu for an upcoming comedy event fundraiser, there wasn’t a single vegetarian entree – not even a carb loaded one!

    We’re asking for substitutions for the many vegetarians in the group, and the carb-loading problem came up again. “What’s wrong with a stirfry of just vegetables without the stupid rice or lo mein?” someone asked… so we’re requesting that specially.

    But thought you might like to know, you’re not alone in your rant. :)

  4. paganpaul says:

    Oh gods, have I been there:

    ordered a vegetarian dish at a restaurant and it had lots of ham in it. “But sir, ham is not meat!”

    had a meeting lunch somewhere and all they had was chicken sandwich. Chicken apparently is not meat either.

    And that are only 2 examples of the many occasions I went without food or ended up finding a cheese sandwich somewhere…

  5. sarajlarson says:

    “Ham is not meat”?!? “HAM IS NOT MEAT”?!? WTF?

    I’ll confess right up front that I’m an omnivore, although only a part-time one. We eat tons of veg. (How can someone not like eggplant?) But yeah, I’ve noticed the “meatless” options are usually pasta, often pasta with cheese, like tortellini.

    Huh. That sucks.

  6. paganpaul says:

    Aye. In that department most restaurants lack imagination. Or should I say ‘education’?

  7. julieandrews says:

    There was definitely supposed to be hummus in them according to their menu. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot in there though, I agree. The wraps were very yummy though. Almost worth the price!

  8. julieandrews says:

    I’m vegetarian, but not particularly in love with vegetables. Still, it is very annoying when the vegetarian option is spaghetti, a cheese sandwich, a salad, or some sort of potato (french fries, baked, whatever).

    I prefer to go out to eat at Asian, Indian or even Mexican places for that reason. Not that any of those are necessarily low-carb. :)

    And the mushroom burger at Cheesecake Factory is soooooo-good. And so freaking high in carbs, fat, and calories that it’d blow your mind. But soooooo good. :)

  9. Gwaetgar says:

    Re: Foodie-ness

    That’s what I did: set the timer, stirred when it rang and set it again. I’d never remember on my own, my attention span is measured in nanoseconds. That’s why I have a whistling tea kettle! *wry smile*

    It seems that the method of freezing ice cream in the freezer and stirring frequently to keep it creamy is not that radical. I found it described online. I was surprised to look up ice cream recipes online and see how many of them are based on a cooked egg custard. I knew an old-fashioned name for ice cream was “frozen custard” but I didn’t realize that was so literally the case! I don’t think most commercial ice cream has eggs, but maybe that’s the function of all those chemical “stabilizers” and texturizers like soy lecithin.

    Good luck with your fundraiser buffet–I hope the restaurant actually does what it promised! I can usually get all veggie dishes at a Chinese restaurant without any problems, I’m a little surprised. Maybe it’s just their buffet selection that’s more limited?

  10. Gwaetgar says:

    I don’t think I’ve run into an actual denial that ham or chicken is “meat”! Maybe some people think “meat” means red meat, like beef? Still pretty clueless! 8-(

  11. Gwaetgar says:

    Usually I just go for a salad with dressing on the side. But I don’t have major issues when I can choose from a full menu. The issue is when there are limited choices, like a banquet or something. I also eat out very rarely. Even when I was employed or in school full-time, I always brown-bagged it. And I usually take a cooler full of food to conventions, both for economy and health reasons.

    I’ll remember that about the mushroom burger at Cheesecake Factory (where I currently seem to go on an average of once per year :-) ). You mean the giant portobello burger? That does sound good! There’s a restaurant my dad likes in Gardner called The Ale House that has a black bean burger. The black bean patty is very good, but I’d prefer a patty twice the size and no bun!

  12. Gwaetgar says:

    Don’t know what it is about eggplant, but I just don’t like it. My mom never cooked it, but I eats lots of things my mom never cooked. On rare occasions when it was put in front of me and it seemed rude to refuse, I’ve eaten it and it was…okay. But that’s how I found out that I actually do like winter squash, and I didn’t have that reaction to eggplant.

    You can have mine. :-)

  13. paganpaul says:

    I assume that, as long as the dish is not called something with meat, it can’t be meat. And the more as it was called vegetarian, then probably the ingredients are not meat by definition, regardless of what they throw into it.