I recently decided to become a vegetarian mainly due to ethical reasons, though the health benefits are a bonus. I quit eating red meat and poultry last summer, and haven't eaten any seafood since the holidays. I'm actually trying to go completely vegan, except I have the hardest time giving up cheese. Milk, butter, and especially eggs I gave up with almost no problems at all.
I love to cook, I always have. I'm especially fond of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks, though right now it seems like my cookbook collection is growing by an extra book or two every week. My latest additions were Happy Herbivore and A Beautiful Bowl of Soup, which I just ordered from Amazon this week.
In addition to food and cooking, I also love Disney, cats and dogs, (well, all animals, but especially cats and dogs,) and a bunch of different books, (Hunger Games, Harry Potter,) and TV series, (Grey's Anatomy, the Office, and Desperate Housewives.)
I'm a cookbook lover too. I hope to see you at the cookbook forum we have here reviewing what you cook. Isa's books are popular there.
***Harry Potter Spoiler Alert***
I used to love HP until the end of Book 7 when JK killed a twin. I instantly lost interest in the series, but I still go to see the movies as they are released.
About cheese. We don't have anything that is the exact analogue of cheese, but we do have cheesy flavors. You can make cheez sauces or see if your library has the Uncheese Cookbook and make the cheddar. I make that with added spices (chipotle, a chili blend, etc.), grate it, dehydrate it, and then it's transportable. I keep some at work for my lunch salads. Omnis think it tastes like a pepper jack or a flavorful gourmet cheese. For packaged vegan cheese, Daiya (sold grated, in a hanging bag) is the best, but it's salty. The runner up is Follow Your Heart (sold in a block) Nacho flavor. It's less salty and has half the fat of Daiya.
Hi! read all you can find about industrial dairy... search 'dairy & cruelty' or 'why not dairy'... that made it super easy to avoid the stuff, for me-- cheese included! :-\
Cashew cheez & other nut cheezes are my favorite, along with Daiya (especially mozzarella-style)... there's also some good recipes for tofu-based ricotta & feta, that totally tickle my tastebuds in a similar happy way to the cow-squeezd kind... also-- if you haven't already-- be sure to taste/ experiment with recipes using nutritional yeast! this is an amazing substance, that I'm still pissed no one told me about sooner... tastes kinda like aged parmesan or sharp cheddar... it'll be in the bulk bins at Whole Foods/ Trader Joe's, or similar, & easily makes cheese obsolete! (at least, that was its effect on me!)
Check out these recipes, for cheese cravings:
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=33163.0 (with Dragonfly's Bulk Dry Uncheese, above, for parmesan; & Daiya mozz instead of Follow Your Heart)
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=12960.0 (wonderful either with Daiya cheddar or homemade cashew cheez)
Honestly, these are amazing: you may like 'em BETTER than the old kind! :-)
I'm a cookbook junkie too; buy 'em like crazy... then come home & make stuff up, or use online recipe sites such as the lovely VW, haha! Happy Herbivore has wonderful stuff on their site-- have the book on my amazon wish list... any recommendations from it so far?
Anyway-- nice to meet you, & welcome to VW!