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4.01.2008

When a Carnivore Contemplates Vegetarianism.

I have always considered myself to be a full-fledged carnivore. A meat-and-potatoes girl, if you will. I grew up eating hot dogs, ribs, dried fish (an Icelandic delicacy... and my favorite food on the planet. Go ahead. Gag. I'm used to it.), filet mignon, super crispy bacon... pretty much everything, with the exception of chicken. We only ate that once in a blue moon. And I have an uncanny aversion to chicken because every time I eat it, I have yellow, slimy chicken fat, or cartilage, or veins, or some other nast-a-rama on my plate that I have no desire to put in my mouth, but usually do when it's too late. This usually results in chewed-up meat spit out on my plate that I'm sure no one wants to look at, and me running to the nearest toilet, gagging the same way you would if your nose ever encountered my-favorite-food-on-the-planet.

On the flip side, I never, ever liked salads. Ever. Lettuce bored me to tears. If you set a salad in front of me (maybe with the exception of a Cobb or a taco salad) and expected me to eat it for lunch or dinner, I would silently contemplate in my mind if you were crazy, and if you actually expect that to satisfy my current appetite for breaded Icelandic cod and carmelized potatoes, or a BBQ beef sandwich, or a gyro. If I'm in a good mood and feel like being nice to you, I'll eat it, and then secretly eat something else later. If not, I'll scoff at the absurdity of salad for dinner, and then tell you that I'm gonna go eat some real food. (Hi Mom! I love you! And your salads!)

But lately, my cravings have been taking a very strange turn. I think I have had so many bad meat experiences that extend even beyond my run-ins with chicken that I'm starting to fear eating meat, period. You have to admit, there is nothing worse than eating a piece of savory brisket, biting down and discovering that ALAS! That was not meat, but pure, unadulterated fat that is squishing around in your mouth, and who the hell doesn't cut this #$&%! off the meat before they serve it to humans?! THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN THIS.

Of course, my husband would tell you that he is married to the pickiest eater alive (who also eats dried fish). He deliberately refuses to make choices on what we eat, even if I explicitly tell him to go ahead and make the decision, because there is a 95.78% chance that I will either not like it or want something else. If confronted with a plain ol' piece of meat, I will trim every miniscule trace of fat or anything strange-looking from it, no matter how long it takes, an inherited trait that is consistently attributed to my dad by my mom (watching the two of us eat together can be quite entertaining). But oh, man, the looks Cody gets when I watch some of the things he voluntarily puts in his mouth. I have a zero-tolerance policy for such madness.

So on that note, recently when I go out, I find myself ordering things like tofu, or veggie sandwiches, or anything with beans and cheese (there are no words to describe my everlasting love for cheese). And I start to wonder if I am unconsciously becoming a vegetarian. Like if it's happening to me and I have no control over it. Then I start to think about things like well-done bacon, or my beloved dried fish, or Ruth's Chris Steak House, and I think, "No... no, no, no. That could never happen to me. I am a self-professed carnivore." But then I think about how much I love animals, and how sometimes when I eat ground beef there are bones or cartilage in it, and I get grossed out. That thought is usually followed by a ponderance of whether it is easy to eat entirely vegetarian when in restaurants, or planning a menu, or eating at the home of a friend or family member. My BFF Amber is a vegetarian, and the brilliance otherwise known as Stacy recently made the switch, so I know that it's a bit of a lifestyle overhaul. Could I really make those kinds of adjustments?

Amber suggested that I try it for a month. So I'm gonna attempt it. I don't know how long I will last given that I have not won any awards lately for self-discipline, but for the month of April, I will make a noble effort to eat meat-free meals. If anyone can make any good recommendations for vegetarian cookbooks, shoot them my way.

I'll be reporting on my progress, successes and failures over the next month. No. 2, over and out.

5 comments:

A* said...

I have some cookbooks here, my mom JUST sent me one and I already love it. Made some soup tonight and it tasted YUM!!! YESSSSSSSSSSS. It is easy to pick up the lifestyle when it is what surrounds you. Your awareness is heightened by being around and associating with earth people, i.e. Katie and MEMEMEMEMEMMEMEMEMEMEMEMME

ktjane said...

so, i just have to tell you that after our little convo today about why you made this veggie decision because of animals, i saw the friends episode was on tonight where phoebe moves in with her cop boyfriend & he shoots the bird out the bedroom window, and then i remembered your post about the damn bird outside YOUR window... and it all kinda came full circle. just wondering how you feel about that little birdie now, in light of your new perspective. haha j/k

ktjane said...

seriously, amber, how is it possible that she still lets the water run out of the faucet while brushing her teeth when she's got friends like us? lol

aea said...

I'll tell you how it's possible- I HATE washing my face with cold water! At least these days I don't run it at full blast... that's gotta count for something.

A* said...

Katie! I have an idea. If she really wants to make a change she can put something, some sort of receptacle, under the faucet as it is "getting warmer" and use the water for other purposes i.e. watering plants, watering THOR, etc etc. YESSSS GO GREEEN.