A Biculinary Life

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Emily Puma is a vegetarian. Her husband, Jeremy, most decidedly is not. Nonetheless, when he, an inveterate kitchen experimenter, won her over with his vegetarian spaghetti pie, they began a culinary collaboration resulting in a magnificent menu that can be enjoyed by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. 

Given the growing popularity of vegetarianism for health and sustainability, this "biculinary" approach to meals-- some household members eschewing meats, some not-- is becoming a very attractive option to families who respect one anothers' eating decisions but still want to eat together.

With this in mind, they are writing a cookbook called Meat/No Meat: A Cookbook for the Biculinary Set, and are raising seed money for the project on Kickstarter.

Two versions are presented for each recipe in Meat/No Meat. One version will be traditional and non-vegetarian, and the other will be the vegetarian version of the same dish. Special focus will be paid on presenting the recipes in a way that will make simultaneous preparation of both versions easy and efficient.

Instead of many vegetarian recipes, which simply substitute fake meat products for the meat found in standard concoctions, the recipes in Meat/No Meat  are designed to duplicate the edible experience as closely as possible for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. When possible, they will not utilize expensive, sometimes hard-to-find fake meat one needs to buy at a specialty store; instead, they create tasty substitutes with ingredients found in most major supermarkets-- a specially flavored preparation of eggplant instead of fake bacon, for example.

Likewise, the recipes are not based on mere substitution; there will be no "stir fry with beef or mushrooms," or one recipe with sausage, one without. Instead, the goal is to ensure that the vegetarian option is as rich in flavor as the meat version. 

"We feel very strongly that a good number of vegetarians and their non-vegetarian loved ones will love this idea," Jeremy said. "Unfortunately, unless we can replace our aging range and get some new kitchen equipment, I don't think this thing's going to be written." Having recently become new parents, both of whom work full-time, the Pumas realized that without a small amount of seed money to cover some costs, it would be fairly difficult to undertake this endeavor.

This is where Kickstarter came into play. Kickstarter is a fundraising website that relies on microdonations from individuals to help creative people start their projects. The Pumas have a goal of $3,000.00, which would cover the costs of a new range, some new kitchen equipment, and ingredients. If they do not meet this goal by March 2, 2012, none of their backers will have to pay. If they do meet the goal, they project project completion by the end of 2012.

The basic idea is simple: two people with two different food philosophies can eat the same meal for dinner, together, in the same house, and both can taste equally delicious.  Emily and Jeremy have embraced the biculinary lifestyle, and want to help other people to do the same. For more information, visit their Kickstarter project page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1787931793/meat-no-meat-a-cookbook-for-the-biculinary.