This week’s boxes group together three beautiful stories. I’m Donnet, some of you may have eaten me on Tuesday, and if not, check out my Skinny Legs story here. I am guest writing this post and going to try to weave these stories together for you. Yesterday we devoured Sri Lanka for Asian Wednesday, how good was it!? More on this a little later because it beautifully ties the two people you ate this week together too. But, for now...
On the surface Lauren is pure beauty. I mean just look at her! But she is so much more than that. Underneath all that pretty is a solid, super spiritual human being with an inner gangster that has, and continues to teach and challenge me.
Lauren and I met in New York while modelling. Despite both being from Cape Town, South Africa we had never connected back home. Finding ourselves in the city that never sleeps, together we embarked on the challenging journey of trying to make it in the big apple. A couple of days after meeting we realised that we both were really into food. We just loved to eat! And drink! Since then we lived in Paris together for a while, toured Sri Lanka together and became neighbours in our home town.
When I got to know Lauren one of the first things I found out was that she was a vegetarian, and initially this challenged me to question where my meat came from and why exactly I choose to eat animals. Its a topic we constantly revisit.
After too many New York cocktails and nights at home drinking wine and getting to know each other we were back in Cape Town. One of the first things I remember Lauren cooking for me was a lentil babootie. Traditionally made with mince, a special selection of spices and bay leaf, she was able to turn something my Ouma used to make into a revolution for me. Veggie babootie! It was a clear winner. Her innovation made me rethink how I saw food.
A couple years later we planned to go on a yoga retreat together. Initially we had India in mind, but the world had other plans. We ended up in Sri Lanka in amongst the most humble and beautiful people. Nestled in a remote self sustainable village that grew their own heritage red rice threshed by water buffalo – I mean, come on! - we discovered a quiet and simplistic way of life. One that honoured the ingredient above all. Our time there was incredible, it brought us closer together as friends, and for me marked a drastic change in my diet. We ate mostly vegan while we were there and when I got back from the trip I decided to try out vegetarianism. I’m still there… trying it out and adapting my food choices to the places I find myself in.
Soon after this she dived into a period that I like to call 'skill collecting'. She embarked on an online course in horticulture; got the 101 in woodwork; did a hands on permaculture course in the township of Kayalitsha; took a trip to discover the magic of tea in Taiwan as well as getting her 200hr yoga teacher training down pat... twice! All the while still keeping a healthy modelling career going strong. This is some kind of woman!
Lauren's back to basics approach to life, her pure kind heartedness and her search for some true senses of how life works and why shines through her on a daily basis. All this coupled with her child-like sense of fun makes her just one of the best people I have met. I hope you enjoy taking in all of these qualities channeled through the amazing food in todays box.
Lauren’s box today epitomizes the fun-loving little gangster she is. Breaking all the rules and predisposed ideas of what a model should eat, Lauren loves a burger and fries! And what better way to get that kick than through a plant based babootie burger? With that we have some turnip fries and super fragrant chutney. Babootie is traditionally served with a good dollop of chutney back home. Beautiful crisp garden peas are scattered into the baby gem Caesar salad, and there you have it! Burger, fries and salad. BOOM!
My two cents worth:
The complex issues behind the treatment and care of the animals we eat; combined with the dramatic effect animal farming has on our environment; and topped off with the challenge of wanting to support the little guys who are using the correct farming practices, This is an issue we are challenged to face on a daily basis. And it’s a challenge that I ask each person I come into contact with. To just ask themselves: Do I really NEED to eat meat? Well… according to me, with a plant-based burger this good I think its time to switch it up a little more.