Monday, May 17, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, X

imaae linked from

Let's simply say that my choice not to eat meat is a decision I stumbled onto after discovering I can live healthily without meat. Call it an odd stew of nostalgia over my loss of connection to one of the fundamental rites of life, and the melancholy recognition that living creatures have become raw material in some great industrial process.

I ate Spam. And hotdogs, sausage, thin greasy disks of bologna, jellied masses of liverwurst – each no doubt formed of lips, cheeks, tails and toes of creatures mostly rendered into chops and roasts.

I ordered the thin, gray, minced and flattened gruel that passes for hamburgers at fast food restaurants.

I ate chicken, turkey, dove, quail, pheasant, cornish hen, and other fowl.

I ate swordfish, cod, catfish, bass, shrimp, lobster, trout, and other fish. I even ate snail, turtle, and alligator.

Now I miss only Spanish rice, I think, this far along my strange journey. Spanish rice – no doubt a simplified Americanization of the true paella -- a fragrant meld of tomatoes, onions, peppers, meat, and rice. I still think about it, even now years later, when I prepare a meatless version.

I sometimes also miss true homemade hamburgers. Sometimes. And fish. But that's it. Not roasts, steaks, chicken, turkey, or pork chops. Or any other piece of flesh.

Now I eat butter beans. And garbanzo beans, red beans, tomatoes, pumpernickel and rye bread, avocados, bananas, grapes, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fresh spinach, fresh corn, peanut butter, honey, sunflower kernels, nuts, and raisins on a regular basis - and assorted other things at random. Strawberries, peaches, blueberries. Yogurt and cottage cheese. Each bite I lift from that list to my mouth could be found within a mile of the place I live, ready to carry home after a quick and easy exchange of money.

To be continued.

1 comment:

Ruth D~ said...

I've been intrigued by this series of essays on not eating meat...although it is more than that--all your essays contain more than seen at first. I like how things rise from the delicious butter bean.

I chuckled at this line:"It's not really that I'm a vegetarian," I say. "It's just that I don't want to eat anything that had a face."

It's never easy answering the questions that seem to think there will be a quick answer...