If you've been on this blog before, you probably know that I am a big believer in the simple life and conscious living.
It wasn't always like this. When I first moved to the United States, I went through wide-eyed-at-the-mall days that afflict most immigrants in this consumer's paradise.
Although I've never been one to splurge on 100-dollar jeans and 400-dollar shoes, I did love having a good and extensive wardrobe. I enjoyed collecting gadgets (like a 400-dollar pocket PC I bought one day on a whim and almost never used -- something Desi never fails to remind me of when I accuse him now of wasteful spending). I wanted a car, a house...in other words, I wanted the American Dream.
They say age makes you wiser, and in my case it must have. I don't think there was a lightbulb moment when I went a-ha, but over the years I began to tire of all the "stuff." Because buying and then looking after all this stuff, I realized, took away more time, not to mention money, that I might be using to really enjoy life.
What's more, stuff comes not just at a monetary price to us, it comes at a heavy price to the environment and to the rest of the world.
The more I wizened up, the more I began to get sick of shopping. Far from wanting to step into a store, I now hate stepping into one and rarely do, except on the very rare occasion.
I mostly shop for clothes at thrift stores, and what I have and can't use, I like donating to thrift stores so someone else can use it.
Over the years, as I've grown more aware of the environment and coexisting with the rest of the world, I've found out there is no shame in paring down. Anyone can whip out their wallets and swipe a credit card. But living consciously and reducing waste-- that takes courage and determination.
I don't claim to be there 100 percent. There's a lot of waste in my life that I can still cut down on, and yes, I still live in a home that, although certainly not a McMansion, could be downsized. Although we have a large family of animals-- three dogs and two cats as many of you already know-- we find that when we're at home, we essentially use only three rooms: the bedroom, the den and the kitchen. The animals hang out around us most of the time: in fact, they sleep in our bedroom at night and gather with us in the den when we're relaxing. If I'm in the kitchen, they hover around my feet, waiting to see if I might send something their way.
I still have my car, although I long for the day I'll replace it entirely with my bicycle and my feet. I long to live among like-minded friends and neighbors where I can let my dogs run off-leash and enjoy the outdoors without us getting slapped with a lawsuit because they barked at someone. Where my cats can weave in and outdoors without me worrying they'll get run over by a car. Where I can plant all kinds of fruits and vegetables and flowers and smile when I wake up one morning to find the deer ate them up.
It's only a dream now, but this dream, at least to me, is a more substantial one and far richer than the dream I had when I first moved here.
I was thinking of simplicity today when I made this cucumber sandwich. A cucumber sandwich is as simple as great food can get. It's just two slices of bread slathered with butter, wrapped around paper-thin slices of cucumber.
In India, cucumber sandwiches are made by smearing the bread with an herb chutney instead of butter, and that's another level of deliciousness.
I used part-whole-wheat sandwich bread, which I make myself almost each weekend (I'll be posting that recipe too this week), instead of white bread for the sandwich, and I did not peel the cucumber which one might typically do to make these sandwiches extra-dainty. I wanted to keep things as healthy as possible, and of course, the sandwiches were still delicious. I also used vegan butter instead of regular.
Looking for more vegan sandwiches?
- Tuscan Tempeh Bean Sandwich
- Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Curried Jackfruit Burger
- Vegan Beet Burger with Chipotle Cashew Hummus
- Vegan Tandoori Naan Burger
- 12 slices white bread
- 1 medium English cucumber (cut crosswise into slices as thin as you can possibly cut them)
- 4 tablespoon vegan butter (softened to room temperature)
- Slather butter on one side of each slice of bread.
- On the buttered side of six slices, place the cucumber slices in a single or slightly overlapping layers. Sprinkle some salt on the cucumber, if desired.
- Place another slice, buttered side down, on top of the cucumbers. With a sharp knife, trim out the crust of the bread.
- Cut twice, diagonally, if desired, to create four triangles.
Hi Vaishali, Love your site....I use my veggie peeler to slice my cucumbers. Paper thin and perfect for sandwiches which are also super with green coconut chutney. Best -Tina
That's a fantastic tip, Tina! Thanks for sharing, and for your kind words about the blog. 🙂 Hugs.
Pleasure - looking forward to trying many of your recipes 🙂 Tina
You're my soul sister Vaishali!
It is your simple writing and simple recipes that draw me here Vaishali. 🙂 I love cucumber sandwich .. but only when they are not soggy. 🙂
I love cucumber sandwiches.. but have never had them without the green chutney - must try this.
Everything that you said about getting caught up with consumerism is so true....and it really does take a lot of will power to decide that you're going to do without a lot of stuff that you are used to.
Love the post and yes,US is a consumers Paradise.I too have reduced shopping,I go to big shops ofcourse,but just to look at things.Window shopping is fine for me.The sandwiches arelovely and perfectly simple.
How true ! The super-sized consumerist mindset is invading everyplace...every person who is conscious and applies is doing a great part..
Nice sandwiches too...reminds me of Cage Marjorine in Pune camp area...
wow same pinch I too posted sandwich today.. I love it ....
Its definitely simple and sounds perfect for the warm days we are having now ! Somehow even though I have read so much about these cucumber sandwiches I have neither tasted them nor made them, sounds like it is time to change that 🙂
I totally agree with you about getting caught up in the consumerism that pervades here. I too over the years have cut down on a lot of material stuff and love shopping at thrift store and discount shops. There is nothing like the feel of a good bargain.
Referring to ur cucumber sandies, I was totally going to enter it as my second entry but u took the plate from underneath me. 🙂 Will have to think of another sandwich recipe now.
Vaishali, We're flying to England on Sunday, so I was really excited to see your recipe today. Thanks!
Vaishali , just the basics here, what is called "must haves".. i think are luxury compared to how we grew up.. but life gets accustomed to it.. it is good or bad i do not know. it is bad if i cannot adjust to the unluxurious way if i go to india.. but i guess it has not happened so far:)
BTW this cucumber sandwich had been my daughter's lunch in preschool for 2 whole years..I could not tempt her to take anything else.. not a day amiss. she does not touch it now:-)