My Foodie Background

The recipes are going up, and if you haven’t read “About Pretty Veggie,” and “The Pretty Veggie Idea,” please do, as you’ll learn quite a bit about me.

Here’s some “fill in the blanks.”

Four score and seven years ago…..  oh, sorry.  I have a pretty interesting “culinary” background.  My parents grew up in an Italian/Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, and my mother learned how to cook Italian before she learned to cook Eastern European/Jewish.

I grew up eating all kinds of meat, poultry, and fish.  In fact, my mother was cooking sausage one day when the Rabbi happened to drop in for a visit.  Where in the world do you hide a big pot of sausage and sauce????  Well, she didn’t.  She threw a couple of dish towels over the pot, and the Rabbi pretended he didn’t notice the aroma of what was on the stove!

She was a pretty darn good cook, and experimented with all sorts of foods and ingredients, and it was her influence that caused me to be so curious about different cuisines.  Well, that and my travels.

I’ve lived and worked in a number of locations around the world, and love so many cuisines, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, European, and “American,” which is constantly evolving, and I’ve incorporated what I’ve learned into what I cook.

As time went on, though, I realized something.  I love animals.  All kinds of animals.  I rarely kill a bug.  I pick up stranded worms and put them back in the grass.  I love snakes, and lizards…..  and dogs, and cats, and bears….  Oh, my!

So how could I eat animals?  I realized I couldn’t anymore.  So, little by little I stopped eating “meat,” and stopped eating poultry, and stopped eating fish, and it was thanks to another volunteer at the local PBS station, who is a vegetarian, that I finally fell off the fence onto the veggie side.  (I have to be honest and admit that I do my best, but once in a while I "slip up" and have some shrimp, or sushi.  Note- since first writing that, no more fish!  I do miss sushi, but now stick to the veg variations.)

I’d mostly been living on bread and cheese and eggs and beans (yes, I eat dairy and “free roaming” eggs, Note- I've cut out about 90% of dairy now!), and I started to experiment.  I came across really intriguing veggie products that could be substituted for foods I used to eat, and have done so in a way that makes it difficult to tell the difference.  (No eggs now, either!)  Just a “tweak” here and there, and all sorts of things are possible!

And this has been my journey.  Ok, I know.  Journey, shmourney.  But with people asking me about products and techniques when I’m in the supermarket it seemed that other people would be curious, too.

(Quick tip- When using “meat substitutes,” you’ll need to “saute” them a bit longer than the directions indicate, so they hold up well. You’ll see!)

And, there you have it.  Hopefully, some of the blanks are filled in.  Onward to the recipes.  Or shall I say, the “directions.”  I don't do a lot of measuring, and rely heavily on some of this, and some of that, and how it tastes to me, and in this case, how it tastes to you.  Hang in there, you’ll see what I mean!  lol



  1. Hi Mindy,
    Boy do we come from similar backgrounds.I grew up in Philadelphia with mostly jewish-italian friends. To this day people think I’m italian. Both sides of my family were from eastern europe.
    I live a VERY healthy lifestyle and counsel people on getting healthy through food. I don’t follow a vegetarian diet but a lot of my diet and what I teach is. I am a classically trained chef and have just come out with my own line of natural, healthy vinaigrettes which is unique in the current marketplace. Check them out as they fit your lifestyle. My website will take you to my facebook page and on line store which show you my products. Looking forward to checking out your recipes.

    • Mindy says:

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the recipes, and there are more coming. Feel free to point your veg and non-veg clients in the direction of the website, as well. The recipes are not only good for people who are already vegetarians, but those who are in the process of becoming veg!


  2. Mdivani says:

    Loved reading your background. I too have lived all over the world and experienced a lot of different cultures and foods. And just because I am a Vegetarian (100% for 4 years now) doesn’t make me any less a foodie, as with you! Look forward to more of your site and recipes! (Also a fellow New Yorker!)

    • Mindy says:

      Hi, Mdivani- Thanks so much for your comments, and for letting me know there are so many similarities between us! What fun! More recipes are on the way, as are more blog posts, so I hope you’ll come back and visit!

      Thanks, again,

  3. michael says:

    Hi Mindy just stumbled across your column here.I never have time to computer as I am in production most of my time and deliveries.I like your matzoh ball recipe.I have a gal Rachel who is a veegan chef here in philly who makes excellent food as We have been friends for awhile and help each other out at events Humane society etc.Have you ever cooked with Seitan as I do not see it listed in your ingredients.Shepards pie etc.Antyhing stuffed.Caseroles, noodle dishes.cheesesteakless sandwiches alot of my customers like all kinds of Mexican foods and ethnic foods made with my creations just thought Id contact and encourage you some more on veg foods.Eat well be well Michael………..

    • Mindy says:

      Hi, Michael- I think you might have misread the recipes and the information about me. Everything on the website is vegetarian. I like the new vegetarian “meats” so much that I don’t use tempeh or seitan. I hope you’ll look at the information again so you’ll see that it’s all veggie!

      Thanks for checking out the website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *