Let me talk a little about my Ma. I wanted to post one of her recipes in honour of her upcoming birthday on December 2, when she would have turned 67. She’s been gone a little over 9 years and I miss her every day, but more so on her birthday. But then I didn’t have the jicama for her beetroot & carrot salad (ok, she did not normally even put jicama in it, but I do, and she would have appreciated that…) So rather than just do the pictures without it, I decided to change gears and give you another recipe entirely. Ma would have laughed, and definitely approved! She would have also loved these seasoned fries.
After my mother had cancer the first time (when she was 32… THIRTY-TWO, PEOPLE!!!), she radically changed her diet. No more processed food. Period. (And this is from a lady who had been addicted to Twinkies & McDonald’s!) Very little sugar, red meat, or dairy. As she progressed through the rest of her life, she slowly eliminated more things from her diet- all refined sugar, all dairy, all additives & preservatives, MSG, wheat, artificial colours & flavours… and loaded up on veggies, veggies, and more veggies, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts, & seeds. She had a dehydrator, food processor, & Vitamix to make whole-food, plant-based eating a reality for herself long before the “clean-eating” movement ever started. The way she ate preserved her health and likely prolonged her life, but given how little was understood about the relationship between the food we put into ourselves and the health we get out, it could have also isolated her quite a bit. She could have found it very difficult to eat out, at a friend’s house, at potlucks, etc.
But Ma was rarely daunted by this. She brought her own food on outings, she cooked huge dishes to bring to potlucks (of course hers were always the first to be devoured), and she always brought something to share when eating with friends. My mother was a giver… of food… of love… of joy.
I wish sooooo much I could talk to her right now and tell her she was right. About EVERYTHING!! Everything she believed about food and good health is playing out in the research to point us in the direction of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. In the years since Ma’s death, I have slowly but radically changed my diet from a fairly typical meat-based American diet to a low-sugar vegetarian (mostly vegan) eating style. It wasn’t “hard” to make the changes, and I feel better and fitter than ever at age 45.
My mother and I always got so much joy from cooking together, and she is my inspiration in the kitchen. So often I think of her when I’m developing a new recipe, and I smile over how much she would have loved it. Fancy or simple, Ma adored good wholesome food. These oven fries are the epitome of that: simple baked potato wedges coated with a vegan crumb mixture similar to the Cheesy Kale Chip coating. It takes these spuds to the next level, folks! Crunchy, nutty, garlicky, a bit spicy… you won’t be able to keep your hands off ’em. And the spice coating isn’t just for flavour- it also sneakily turns this “side dish” into a complete protein what with the nutritional yeast, nuts & seeds packed in there. And if that’s not good enough for you, how about the fact that it’s also loaded with fiber, B vitamins, & healthy fats? Brilliant!
Ma would have adored these oven fries that were also a main dish… it would have made her feel like she was “cheating the system,” and that always made her feel delightfully smug. So, my sweet little Mommy, this recipe is for you… even though it’s not your beet salad like I wanted.