When I was a boy growing up in Hayward, California we lived next door to the Grahams—Marie and Bruce Graham and their two sons, Randy and John. Marie, the mom, was one of the sweetest people in the world and their dad, Bruce, had a crusty and ribald sense of humor. He worked at the Ford dealership in San Francisco and would bring home firecrackers from Chinatown for the 4th of July. We’d set up tin cans in their backyard and blow them high into the air using the firecrackers.
I had not seen Randy since his dad passed away years ago, but we happened to connect the other day through Facebook and it turns out he has grown up to be a…vegetarian! Not only that, he writes a popular blog about it, the Valley Vegetarian, as well as being a columnist for some newspapers (he and his wife live in Ojai in southern California). He’s also become a vegetarian cookbook author. His latest, just out last month, is So You’ve Inherited a Vegetarian…Now What?
In our emailing and Facebooking I explained to him that I loved meat too much to give it up but that my wife was a great cook and we’d certainly have fun exploring his recipes. In response he recommended this potato casserole dish that he described as one of his favorite comfort food dishes. It’s not his recipe, he explained, but he loves making it for Thanksgiving and other big family meals. If you like to eat, and who doesn’t, I say give it a try.