Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold. Oh, I’ll accommodate them, I’ll rummage around for something to feed them, for a “vegetarian plate,” if called on to do so. Fourteen dollars for a few slices of grilled eggplant and zucchini suits my food cost fine.
I generally do my cooking each week on Thursday, or Wednesday if I’ve really got my act together. This Wednesday and Thursday found me in Minnesota, however, so this week I am posting some general musings in place of a recipe. During my trip to the “land of 10,000 lakes,” the subject of my being a vegetarian came up several times, as I was traveling with a handful of carnivores that I did not know very well and had, as a result, never broken bread with before. The questions I fielded covered where I get my protein from (nowhere, basically, because I am an unhealthy vegetarian), how long I’ve been a vegetarian (ten-ish years), and why I became a vegetarian. The last question is just as easily answered as the others (because my love for animals and outrage at the scenes I witnessed in a PETA video overcame my appetite for meat), but it leads me to ponder a different question: why am I still a vegetarian? I can’t answer that question presently, but I had begun thinking about it before my trip to Minnesota. What follows is an essay that I’ve written on this subject (instead of the short post that I promised).
Continue reading “Meeting My Meat and Losing My Appetite”