Charles Boothe mugshot

Charles Boothe

My oldest daughter is vegan. In fact, her husband and young children are as well. You know, if mama’s happy everybody’s happy.

For a carnivore like me, let’s just say it was a bit of an adjustment to eating the food that she prepares when I visit.

It has never been a matter of taste because most of it tastes great. Initially, the problem was getting full. The food just did not “stick to your ribs,” as the old saying goes, and of course she quickly reminded me that this diet can prevent food from literally sticking to your ribs, and everywhere else.

But it was not sticking anywhere and my belly was still telling me to feed it, so I would have to stop on the way home for a hamburger. You know, if belly’s not happy body is not happy.

Just like anything else, though, practice improves our game, and certainly our cooking.

Now, her vegan meals are not only delicious, they are actually filling.

Her plant-based cuisine is also very healthy and has extensive benefits, even allowing people to get off medication they have been taking for various health woes. In fact, my family physician in Princeton is vegan and he encourages all of his patients to try it.

And if the proof is in the pudding because he is an athlete and I doubt he has an ounce of fat on his body.

I have gradually adopted a basic plant-based diet and no doubt I feel better and have more energy.

The reason I am writing about this though is because her quest to learn how to prepare a variety of vegan meals included the use of many different ingredients and finding a way to blend them and create something really good.

In recipes, the right ingredients create something far more than the ingredients themselves, and the result basically spreads around a great shared experience, helping make those who experience it happier.

Same is true for relationships. The right ingredients establish lasting bonds between people, but those ingredients have to be nurtured and grow and flourish and expand. When they do, the same result happens in a way: The joy of a shared bond between people is obvious and is spread to others.

It can be applied to life in general as well, as we all must be open to explore and grow and expand what we know and experience. Life becomes richer, not stagnant..

Aunt Ruby drank RC Cola. Would not even try anything else.

It was like she at some point in her life took a sip of the soda and decided that this was exactly what she liked so there was no point in trying anything else.

Obviously, she may have found sodas she liked better if she had tried others. But she settled with what she had.

We all have a tendency to do that, just be satisfied with a routine or how we were raised and not want to venture out.

Works for some, but not for others.

Being stuck in a rut is exactly what it says: You go nowhere, and maybe you don’t even want to go anywhere. You have your RC Cola and you’re fine and dandy.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, if that is what makes you happy.

Besides, Aunt Ruby may have tried different drinks and still returned to the RC.

But for most people, as for most cooks, there are countless things to do and experiences and try.

It’s a good thing, too.

Without the yearning for exploration we would still be living in the Dark Ages. Not much of anything would ever have been accomplished.

Good cooks never reach a point they are complacent. They take risks and learn from others to improve their lives with better food, just as other people do in all professions and circumstances to improve their skills and lives as well as the lives of others.

And, of course, unpleasantness is always a threat when you are out of a rut.

Without a doubt, cooks often get cut and burned.

But they never give up.

— Charles Boothe is a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and can be reached at

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