Monday, May 3, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, III

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I once ate a normal breakfast, preferring sausage to bacon, but now I eat butter beans – five grams of protein waiting in every bowlful – because I no longer eat meat.

I gave up meat for Lent several years ago. How many years exactly, I can't remember. It's a point deep enough in the past I can not fix the date exactly, recalling only the why of the decision.

My wife said, "I think it'll be chocolate for me again this year. What about you? What are you giving up?"

"Meat," I said, and for no reason, or for reasons lurking somewhere at the edge of a spiritual frontier, a shadowy place then so far unexplored in my life, a quiet place where I might sit and do no harm, move about and leave no trace. I was past fifty years of age. I had eaten chicken, fish from shrimp to shark, snail, lamb, rabbit, alligator, buffalo, hoghead's cheese and pork rinds, and beef from tongue to ox-tail.

I liked certain meats. No steak, or roast, no, but rather meat sauce over spaghetti, or in lasagna. Or ribs. And fish. But not forty kinds of meat – one pound of flesh sacrificed for each of the Lenten holy days. I simply ate meat because I had always eaten meat.

To be continued.

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