I really love to write. Did I ever tell you that? Truly, I do. Truly. Madly. Deeply. I also enjoy reading — even reading my own writing, sometimes. Not all the time. The introspective (and slightly narcissistic) side of me relishes revisiting old aha moments captured in blog posts, while the yearning, nostalgic and slightly melancholy side of me longs for the newness of that discovery… But suffice it to say, this writing thing is something I love. Always.

Why do I bring this up? you ask. What, another philosophical posting?! you argue. Well, I was doing a  bit of thinking & reading just now that got me…. thinking some more.

I was thinking of the Motherland: of Scotland. It was three years ago this very day that I decided to take the jump and to book that ticket to Britain. Remembering all this, I puttered back over to my travel blog.

In revisiting it, I saw notes about (you guessed it) food! And alas not vegan food, I must say, though there certainly are vegan options in Scotland, as shown below. There were notes about gelato and cheese (?!?) and other things as well. But what tickled me the most was what a shock this all was to me, reading it just now. I couldn’t fathom that just 2 years ago I would even consider chicken tikka or fish & chips or dare I say it, a glass of milk. Couldn’t fathom it!

The thing about veganism is that it grabs hold of you… without your even realizing it. You remember before but you don’t really remember before. And even when you do remember, you don’t want it back. Not now, not ever.

Veganism takes a leap of faith, like most everything in life, but (unlike some things) it’s totally and completely worth it. Granted, it doesn’t happen over night; the transition takes a wee bit of time. But remember that in taking that first step, you don’t have to be making a lifetime commitment; you’re just making the commitment to take that initial leap, to give it a try.

As you transition into veganism, it’s also important to find good substitutes for your old favorites. In reminiscing about Scotland, I’d like to share some of mine, namely: haggis neeps & tatties, hot port, and caramel shortbread.

Vegan Haggis

Vegan Haggis: Cruelty-free Scottish delicacy (courtesy of http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk)

Haggis neeps and tatties are a staple. A staple! Granted, I think being an expat in Scotland I got a wee bit more excited over the prospect of this dish than many locals, it is an essential component to Burns’ Night celebrations in January and many other occasions. I used to get mine for dinner at Greyfriar Bobby’s and when I was craving haggis in the AM at The Grind House. While I’d love to share with you my own recipe, the fact of the matter is that I buy my own haggis from a shop in Harvard Square,Cardullo’s. If you’d like to try this concoction from scratch, I recommend this blog post as a great place to start. Sidenote: neeps stand for turnips and tatties for potatoes.

Hot port was the first drink I ordered in Scotland (after a glass of Chardonnay, of course. Never having screwed up the courage to order a drink for myself in a pub ever before, I didn’t have the cojones to order anything other than my personal staple, chardonnay). But once I’d eased into the evening at The Last Drop, I took a walk on the wildside and ordered the port. How delicious it was! It’s particularly yummy with cinnamon biscuits and shortbread. If making it from scratch I would recommendthis recipe. It never fails.

Finally, caramel shortbread!  I remember I used to grab mine from Bean Scene when also indulging in their sinful chai latte. It was perfect after a long day in the library or a rather ‘strenuous’ evening in the pub. Sweet but also substantial, it could cure all ills. Now of course, I must make it from scratch, being loaded with butter as most traditional caramel dishes are. If you’d like to try it, I’d recommend this recipe. You won’t regret it!

What are some of your favorite dishes from foreign countries?