As much as I love and have embraced the vegan lifestyle, I certainly ain’t no snob about it. My best friend is not a vegan nor does she plan to be any time soon. We’ve been friends so long that meat does not come between our love and respect for each other. I love my grandparents totally and completely and being meat eaters for over eighty years they eat what I give them (the only time they eat vegan) as their precious granddaughter when I visit. They think I’m cute but they certainly are not changing their meat eating ways even for me. They also respect my choices and see with their own eyes my four completely healthy vegan children. So when I come across a blogger who eats meat, I don’t immediately turn away, especially if we have common interests.
When I first came to Chicago my husband could not join us right away. I came to Chicago alone with our three sons and I spent a lot of time on the phone with my husband. It was lonely but I had no choice and I had absolute faith that he would be joining me soon. I stumbled upon Pioneer Woman’s website one day and was instantly fixated by her humor, her honesty and her detailed recipes, shot by shot! I was hooked and immediately started following her recipes and veganizing them. Good cooking is good cooking and when the recipes are simple enough the vegan ingredients can be easily substituted in place of meat or dairy with fantastic results. I have done so much of her food that I can literally dedicate an entire section of this website to the veganization of her recipes alone. Her recipes kept me company for weeks until my husband arrived. I have kept up with her website and have admired her gumption and energy. I also loved the fact that she is a homeschooling mother raising her children with the love of her life, here was a woman I could totally relate to!
Last night I finally met her. She came out to a book signing in Skokie. I won’t detail the journey it took me to get there or back home but I will say that it was well worth it. Barnes and Noble was totally unprepared for how many people showed up. I think over 300 people showed up and Ree stayed well past closing time to meet every single person who stood in line to see her. How awesome is that!? I think she signed my book at around 11pm and there were still people there! What a class act. She clearly made everyone feel welcome and she made sure that everyone who came out and stood in that line got their book signed. She even gave away t-shirts which I forgot to get.
“The Pioneer Woman Cooks” cookbook is just as engaging and detailed as her website. She is just as tall and pretty, her kids (the boys were there) are just as cute and frisky and yes her husband is just as rugged and handsome. Everyone has a story, what’s so special about Ree is that it’s not just a single story but many stories rolled into one. The love story between her and her husband; the homeschooling of four children on a cattle ranch; adjusting to life in the country and so on. Each story is given merit, she respects her readers and puts her best self forward. This all comes off in her writing and her photography and her constantly evolving website.
Ree, “It was a special treat to meet you and maybe one day my husband Nahum (I’m still tickled about how you pronounced his name) and I will get to prepare for you a delicious vegan meal!”