When I first met my friend Liz, her major food loves included Coca-Cola, Gummy Candy, Not-Gummy Candy, and Cheese. She described herself as a “finny” – a skinny person with fat habits who indulged in pretty much whatever she wanted and still kept her hot bod.
But when I changed my diet, Liz was right there with me. She became an expert at gluten-free baking, so I could enjoy treats at her parties. She chose restaurants where she knew I could find things to eat. And when I launched OPP, she used her publicity super powers (she owns her own PR agency) to get the word out to everyone that would listen.
By being such a thoughtful friend and alway looking out for my food needs, Liz slowly started eating more plants along the way too. And then just a couple of weeks ago, she rolled up to a mutual friend’s picnic with a quart of kale juice…for herself. It really showed me that, even though changing your diet can be tough, having a buddy can lead to some really great things (for both buddies involved).
So when Liz asked if she could host a For Reals Meals, it made my whole month. She chose to do a French cooking class at Cook Au Vin, where the owner, Chef Vincent, taught us how to make a three-course, plant-based meal. She invited some of her big media friends, Nika Clark (WCIU), Rebecca Taras (Refinery 29), and Alison Cuddy (WBEZ) as her guests.
Chef Vincent gave some tips and some minor guidance, but the rest was up to us in terms of seasoning and preparation. Which I thought was a super cool approach. I had never met most of these women before, but I learned so much about them by experimenting with ingredients together.
Check out the menu we got to make:
-Roquette salad with rasberries, toasted almonds, shallots, chives, and mint with a vinaigrette sauce
-Fresh-made pasta filled with quinoa, almonds, and apples, served with a cumin and sweet potato sauce
-Rainbow veggie spaghetti with carrot, yellow squash, and zucchini
-Almond milk and rose water panna cotta
Thanks Liz and Chef Vincent for an incredible class and lunch!