Vegan Recipes, Omni Restaurant Reviews
Welcome to Eating Appalachia! I’m Jes, a lover of food, the outdoors, poetry, bicycles, my ex-feral cat Miss Dorian Gray, and a host of other things. Back in 2007 I found myself extremely bored at work (university work study jobs just aren’t that exciting) and discovered food blogs. The first one that really caught my eye was Susan V’s FatFree Vegan Kitchen and through her blogroll, I found hundreds of other amazing and inspiring vegan blogs.
While I wasn’t a vegan at the time, I had recently switched to a vegetarian diet and through a combination of cooking for two vegan friends and through thinking about sustainability issues (I was an Environmental Studies & English double-major), I decided, on July 7, 2007, to make the vegan commitment. From then until November 15, 2009, I led a vegan lifestyle. But, while I had eaten some meat, I didn’t “come out” about it on my blog until August 1, 2010 and, trust me, that post was one of the harder ones I had to write. For almost a year, I’d been living a 95% vegan lifestyle—rarely eating meat or dairy or any animal products—but it wasn’t the truth because I did eat animal products occasionally and I increasingly found that with the sustainable animal options in agrarian southwest Virginia, I wanted to talk about that non-vegan part of my life that was becoming ever more important.
So I fessed up. And it hurt—I received plenty of emails condemning me and my choices, my readership fell by 600%, and, overall, I felt pretty attacked. But I got over it. The question of veganism, for me, was never centered on animal rights. It was 100% sustainability focused. And, to eat animal products in Atlanta, Georgia, especially back in 2007, wasn’t sustainable (or economical) at all. Free-range, organic meats were trucked in from over 100 miles away, free-range, local eggs were non-existent. But here, in Roanoke, Virginia, my friends raise animals and make cheese from their goats or sheep on their homesteads, free-range, less-than-ten-miles-away eggs are the norm, and, for me, I ethically find an omnivorous diet to be sustainable.
Thus I created Eating Appalachia. While Cupcake Punk still applied to my recipe posts, I wanted to explore more of the region I now call home. I’m a Georgia girl at heart, but Virginia has captured my imagination. So what will you find on this blog? You’ll find oogles of delicious, creative, sometimes healthy & sometimes not so healthy vegan recipes—I love veganizing other’s recipes, I love hunting around for the most creative and soul-satisfying vegan recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, and I love love love inspiration from fellow bloggers (I love what blogging is all about—community & sharing & relationships). You’ll also find restaurant reviews of restaurants in Roanoke, the region, and across the globe. Eating out is a big thing in my life—I love food. Period, end of statement. My restaurant reviews are not 100% vegan though—you’ll find out that I do eat foie gras and hamburgers and other ethically-fraught dishes. But I don’t make these meals a regular part of my repertoire. In fact, I eat a 95% vegan diet still—plant-based is the way that I’m the happiest and healthiest. I’m with Michael Pollan—“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
And, in case you’re wondering, all photos on this blog are taken with a 6.5 megapixel Cannon Rebel EOS Digital SLR with a 18-55 mm EFS lens. One day I’ll update the camera, but for now, she’s doing a good job. I also trek around with a Porteen Gear bag that I adore—check out the Etsy shop if you’re on the market for a camera bag.
In short, welcome to Eating Appalachia and I hope you find some inspiration in what I cook and write about, and I hope that you help me make food blogging—vegan, veg, or omni—a great community. Feel free to drop me a note at eatingappalachia [at] gmail [dot] com or to comment anywhere on the blog. I make it my goal to always get back to people when they have comments, complaints or suggestions. I simply ask that you respect me and my views in the same way that I respect you—we live in a diverse world with a milieu of beliefs and ethical structures, let’s keep our world unique!