Food · Health · How to go vegan · Human behavior · Love · Nutrition · Personal memoirs · Raising vegan children · Uncategorized · Vegan cooking · Vegan diet

12 of My Childhood Favorites—Veganized

First, a primer on my past love-hate thing with food, and a bit of personal nostalgia and other rambling.

I was big into food as a kid, even before my dad owned a popular Italian restaurant just outside of Los Angeles in the 1960s. We always had lots of tasty foods in our life and even more so from the restaurant which we all spent a lot of time at, along with our friends. See the 🍝 items below for those favorites inspired by my dad’s restaurant fare. All their recipes were invented by him and his brother, and they certainly had a way with the food!

Here is the only mention of the restaurant I can find online; search David B.’s comment and his mention of “Reggio’s”: Note that our restaurant wasn’t actually in Monterey Park but was on the Montebello side of its border, and David B. says it’s a Chinese restaurant now but actually it’s a Chinese laundromat and boba/smoothie bar.

Here’s an old pic of the restaurant’s namesake, the region of half my roots, where my dad was born and lived for a short time before the family immigrated to the USA’s east coast:

Reggio Calabria, Italy, 4 years before my dad was born.

So, as a result of all that tasty food and more, I had a chronic weight problem starting mildly at about age six; obviously the love for good food didn’t quite jibe with my raging fat genes. Two aunts and both their parents on my dad’s side were very obese and had hearty appetites, and the aunts loved to cook and have family gatherings. Well, yours truly was often an eager guest at those family food fests, then it would carry over to my home life since I and my mom liked to cook and eat, and she had developed a weight problem too, after having children.

Food was a main expression of love and thus a comforting “drug” in our rather lost and dysfunctional family, a drug with quite the destructive aspects. Thus the love-hate. I had a serious struggle (mostly on the losing end) with being very fat for much of my life, as did my younger brother. The family’s judgement and condemnation were further destructive…but they later came to regret the way they’d been, and were forgiven, at least by me.

Veganism at last came to my rescue, as well as that of all those animals I’d have downed…

Since going all the way and ending the dairy/egg cheating, and being strictly vegan starting in 2009, I got down to merely “chubby”—about the middle category in following illustration as opposed to the far leftI’d like to be the one just to the right of middle. But for the first time ever, I’m pretty comfortable with my weight and it’s been stable for years, no longer fluctuates hugely due to going from bingeing to starvation diets.

I’m no longer a target for mean, nasty, rude PsOS out there like I once was either. “Hey fatty!” and “Jenny Craig!” and other such sweet things would occasionally be hollered at me from nasty faces in cars rolling past, and other such sickening incidents. I’ve seen this happen to other people and always have to wonder what sort of creeps find it necessary to embarrass people like that. I’d rather be 200+ lbs than be that sort of creep.

Too late for a tangent alert? Well, here’s more…

Anyhow, I only love veganized versions of old favorites, no more hate. I’ve pretty much learned how to avoid the temptation to overeat, mainly by not having the more decadent foods regularly on hand at home, instead concentrating on healthier, non-fattening stuff. On top of that, I simply don’t have the huge appetite I once had, probably because what I do eat is mostly nutritious and satisfying…all plant foods. Where before I would remain hungry and keep on eating rich treats, more and more and more until sickly full, badly bloated, sluggish, and guilty about gaining ever more weight.

There was no “shutoff” on the appetite except for no more room for any more food. It wasn’t pretty, a miserable cycle of self destruction. But good tasting. First-World problems, I know, but no less real.

Casein, the mild opiate and appetite stimulant—for infants.

I believe dairy foods’ casein is behind much of the obesity out there and is only one more reason to quit dairy products, aside from the horrible animal cruelty involved, which should be the primary motivator.

My eating and weight problems were partly hormonal, since after “the change of life” my food & weight problems lessened significantly, as opposed to most women (mostly non-vegans) who have the opposite going on. But I do believe a big part of my lifelong problem was the casein in dairy products and its appetite stimulating and slight opiate effects. Cheese, sweet yogurt, ice cream, etc., were always a big part of bingeing. (I say “bingeing,” but I’ve always been a slow eater, so my “binges” weren’t the fast & furious things most bingers are known for.)

On a side note, meats are said to be nutritionally dense and satisfying (by advertisers and the well-programmed public), but I always found meats to be a catalyst for gorging on decadent desserts and things afterwards, aside from lots of other refined carbs like white biscuits and such that accompanied meaty meals. All in all, a high-calorie, obesity causing nightmare, for those many of us with “bad” genes.

So there’s my thing with tasty food, I love the stuff. Who wouldn’t?

But these twelve, in random order, are extra special because they’re compassionate versions of nostalgic childhood treats. These are all homemade, mostly from scratch, so are for those of us with time and patience to make some complicated recipes. But these all seem guaranteed to be worth the fuss. Just click on the links for full recipes and if you make them, enjoy!

1) 🍝

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs by Pasta Based


Vegan Fried Chicken by Blacks Going Vegan


Vegan Drumsticks by Namely Marly

4) 🍝

Chickpea Minestrone Soup by A House in the Hills


Vegan Big Mac by Namely Marly


Easy Black Bean Tamales by The Flaming Vegan


Vegan Chickpea Omelet by Fork and Beans


The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

9) 🍝

Vegan New York Cheese Cake by Namely Marly

10) 🍝

Pizza with Cashew Cheese by Exceedingly Vegan


Lemon Meringue Pie by Namely Marly


Vegan Mac and Cheese by Vegan Yumminess

6 thoughts on “12 of My Childhood Favorites—Veganized

  1. Also, I am very sorry that people were so rude and disgusting before you lost the weight. I’m sure that “As you sow, so shall ye reap” (AKA ‘Karma’) isn’t done with them yet.

    1. In wordpress I have the almighty POWER to edit for you 😜 so, no problem there. Speaking of that though, once in the 1990s I was out watering the yard at about 200 lbs and a car full of male rednecks came by and asked directions, so I told them the best I could, adding that I wasn’t sure. They came past awhile later and shouted out, “You sent us the wrong way, FATTY!” I was lucky that’s all they did. I’d bet Karma got them good a long time ago, or if not, they’re in store eventually for some massive “unhappiness,” so to speak, since I’m sure they’ve done plenty more horrible in their nasty lives. Funny now how no one shouts anything at me except for something like “nice dog,” referring to my adorable companions. The nice ones make it kind of hard to hate the human race, but I still do, lol. I’d find it interesting to read all sorts of people’s experiences with people shouting at them from cars.

      Wanted to mention, I love that term “grammie”…adorable. And she was right, Italian men are some of the handsomest in the world. My dad was a towhead as a small child though, didn’t get his black hair till later, and he always had the bluest eyes.

      1. Well, as far as people shouting things from cars: When I walked my Dalmatian, people always shouted, “Where’s the fire?,” and when I walked my Great Dane, it was “Do you have a saddle for that thing?” Funny, I wonder if they thought they were being original, because they were all saying the same thing.
        When I gained weight after menopause, and being diagnosed with thyroid disease, I did once have an encounter with a guy at the dog park. I knew him peripherally because he was an acquaintance of some of the people I saw regularly there. He had two Clumber spaniels, and they were so aggressive (probably because of their owner’s personality) that he could no longer bring them.
        One day, when he brought his landlady’s three dogs, he started verbally attacking one of my park friends, criticizing her Chihuahua’s behavior (and it was fine, there was no bad behavior, he was chasing a dog he knew, in playfulness). I jumped in to defend her, and told him he had no right to criticize her dog when his own were banned from the park. I suppose he just wanted to get back at me for stating the truth, but he said, “Shut up, fat bitch.” That hurt, too. I just walked away.
        My dad was born with red hair; as a toddler he became a towhead, then, as a child and “tween”, he had brown hair, which eventually also became jet black. His eyes, though, were green hazel (not entirely green and not entirely hazel!)

        1. Those poor spaniels, I’d bet their behavior problems were all that creep’s fault. I’m surprised his landlady trusted him with her dogs. Hah, another along the lines of yours, whenever I have a really tiny dog I’ll get the old “is that a rat or a dog?” routine at some point. I ignore. But yeah, people can really be vicious with their nasty mouths; if they had any self respect they wouldn’t behave that way. On the web they’re even worse, protected behind their computers. Oh well, wouldn’t want to be them! 😏

  2. Wow. Those look absolutely delicious. And although there’s no Italian in my recent family history (although my little English “grammie” from Lancashire always loved to brag that her father had jet black hair and was handsome, so she was sure he had some Italian in him), I LOVE Italian food. Just put some authentic Italian marinara sauce in a cup, and I’ll drink it.

    Thanks for the links. I will be looking those up!

    1. Thanks for that, Sue, but, drinking marinara sauce? Well alrighty then, haha. One of my favorite things from my dad’s restaurant was the minestrone soup, even though that had “beef” broth in it. I discovered those delectable little chickpeas in there and couldn’t get enough of them, but they were sort of sparse…thus, the recipe page up there with that soup chock full of chickpeas. That’s the one I’ll probably make first.

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