Try these vegan recipes for a hearty stew and cheesy sauce

Like most people, I grew up eating meat. It was just what everyone did — including my family and everyone else’s family I knew.

I met my first vegetarian during my freshman year of college. She was a nice enough person, and I wrote her vegetarianism off as something of a quirk or mild eccentricity. In short, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. At least not consciously.

Fast forward many years to a day in 1998 when I happened across an article in The Atlantic magazine entitled, “Could Mad-Cow Disease Happen Here?” The article discussed Great Britain’s recent epidemic of Mad-Cow disease that necessitated the slaughter of 3.7 million cattle.

That was troubling, but what really captured my attention was the fact that Great Britain also placed a ban on the sale of certain cuts of beef. Why? Because 27 people had contracted a variant of Mad-Cow disease known as Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease by consuming beef products.

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