Mayim Bialik has had a number of successful acting roles including in the Academy-Award-nominated film “Beaches” (1989) and in the popular sitcom “Blossom” (1990-1994). She now stars as Amy Farrah Fowler in the hit series “The Big Bang Theory”, for which she has just received her second consecutive Emmy nomination (Outstanding Supporting Actress – Comedy category). She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and has two young children. She is also the author of the much sought after Mayim Bialik blog on the popular Jewish parenting website Kveller.com. Her first cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, will be published in the US in February 2014 by Da Capo Press.
At roughly what age did you become vegetarian?
I cut out all meat and fish at 19, but still ate dairy and eggs into my 20s. I cut out most dairy at 30 and completely eliminated any trace dairy or eggs shortly after that.
What made you become vegetarian?
I always felt uncomfortable eating animals because I was such an animal lover, but as a child and teenager it never occurred to me I could do anything about it. I had a taste aversion to meat at 19, and it was pretty easy to be done with any animal flesh around that time. Now my decisions are health-based (I have a dairy allergy I never identified until I cut out dairy and stopped having sinus infections and congestion!), environment-based and ethical.
What is your favourite vegetarian meal?
I love “fun” food like the vegan Big Mac you can get at this vegan comfort food place in LA called Doomies. I love making wraps at home with avocado, veggies and a slice of veggie bacon if I have it in the house. Wraps are such complete and easy meals to make for me and my boys. I also love vegan potato salad!
Which is the best vegetarian restaurant you have been to?
Pure Food and Wine in Manhattan blew me away when I tried it this summer. Absolutely the best vegan food, and the fact that you could barely tell it was also raw made it even more impressive!
Where is the most vegetarian-friendly place?
LA is pretty good, but I prefer New York for vegan food, including Brooklyn’s award-winning Dun-Well vegan artisan doughnuts!
What has been your worst experience as a vegetarian?
I was in Monte Carlo for work last year and I asked for a pizza with no cheese in a touristy restaurant. The waitress not only said, “What? No cheese?” but when I said yes please, she stuck her tongue out in disgust. I asked her if she would like my business and if so, to please go ahead and bring me a cheeseless pizza!
Can you recommend any good vegetarian resources (cookbooks/guides/websites/etc.)?
The Goveg.com website is a great resource. I love HappyCow when I am traveling since it helps me find veg places everywhere. I veganize a lot of recipes and a coming out with a cookbook in February actually, but I love Isa Chandra Mozkowitz’s cookbooks in particular!
What’s your “signature dish” (and can you give us the recipe)?
I don’t know if I have a signature dish … but my boys love when I make this: I make a few cups of quinoa and add a handful of raisins, some ground up pistachios (or almonds), a can of drained black beans, and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of agave. They eat it by the bowlful!