When I was 11, I made the horrifying discovery of a purplish rubbery tendon in my chicken sandwich at a fast food place. Since then, I’ve been a steadfast vegetarian. It wasn’t very hard, I never really liked meat anyway (something about the texture makes me feel ick). I did go through a brief period in college when I would eat chicken on a dare, but that was always more out of my challenge-y side than out of appetite. For the most part, I’ve stayed true to my vegetarianism, or rather ovo-lacto-pescatarianism (eggs, dairy, fish). There were only a handful of meaty foods I actually missed when I stopped eating meat, all of them yummy memories of my childhood: tamales at New Year’s with my Hispanic family side, lumpia and wonton soup at the Asian family side. I’ve found some substitutes in fancy-pancy grocery stores and in some amazing food carts (gotta love the Pacific Northwest), but few have stood up to the homemade goodiness of my grandmothers. Being far from home and all my family, sometimes all I really need are the flavors of my childhood.