I grew up eating meat. The guy I married grew up eating meat. Somehow, within two weeks of one another, we both arrived independently at the conclusion that we no longer liked the idea of eating animals.We’d been vegetarians for almost a decade when he interrupted a regular weekly grocery trip with, “I want to be a vegan.” My heart started pounding and I literally stopped the cart. “You mean, no cheese?” I squeaked. I’m a cheese-lover. All sorts of cheeses: fresh-grated Pecorino Romano in risottos, marinated feta in salads, and, of course, the aged, sharp Cheddars paired with dark chocolate and fruit.But over the next few months, I couldn’t very well escape the new-found knowledge that most commercial dairies, even the ones that treat their animals humanely while they’re at the farm, sell them at auction at the end of their productive years to be slaughtered for low-grade meat. I’d never thought of that when I was eating cheese and drinking milk. And since the reason I was a vegetarian was that I believed animals shouldn’t be slaughtered just so I could enjoy a particular type of food, I was pretty much stuck saying, “Ok, I will be a vegan too.”

I decided to get down to business and learn how to cook vegan. I wasn’t going to give up good food, so it would have to be delicious vegan. That’s where my journey began.

Being a vegan in the South, where fried chicken, pork barbecue, and fish fries rule, is an adventure. Our friends think we’re crazy (but thankfully they still love us!). We’re lucky to live in Greenville, SC, which has a great ethnic restaurant scene. When we decided to go the no-meat route, we quickly fell in love with Thai, Indian, and Persian cuisine, which offer lots of vegetarian options. They’ve served us well as vegans, too, which means that a lot of my cooking is inspired by these cultures.

We do a lot of traveling, and we’re always exploring ethnic food wherever we go. There’s a scrumptious and charming Ethiopian place in Fort Collins, Colorado that got me hooked on North African food. I discovered Moroccan tagines in Boulder. Seattle treated me to the delights of Chana Masala.

But not all my friends and family are the adventurous type, so over the years, I’ve also borrowed recipes gathered here and there from American chefs and modified a few non-vegetarian and non-vegan recipes to suit.

I’m a writer and I love art & photography, so creating a vegan recipes blog was just the logical thing for me to do. Plus, I figured that there had to be more people like me out there: people who live in the South and love good food, but can’t raid their friends’ recipe collections because they all contain animals. I hope you find something here you have fun making and enjoy eating!