Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wha' happened?

I became a vegetarian in the summer of 1998 to impress a boy. My ex-boyfriend (who had, after our breakup, become suddenly thin and gorgeous) was dating a new girl. "She's a vegan," he told me, with hushed admiration, "and she doesn't wear bras!"

Well, hell, I didn't wear bras either. The difference, I suppose, was that this new girl actually had boobs. So, in an effort to show off my commitment to a good cause, I stopped eating meat. Time passed, and I got over my attachment to this boy but I stuck with my vegetarianism. After serious thought and a good amount of pamphlet reading, I realized that I was really into it! Being vegetarian was my way of showing responsibility while being part of a privileged culture. If scientific advancements in the food industry made it possible for me to eat healthily and affordably without contributing money towards "factory farming", well, it seemed like the right thing to do. As a friend once told me, "Every person should try to make the world a better place in their own small way." Vegetarian living was my way.

I began eating meat again in the summer of 2006. Arguably, it was again because of a boy. I was so pleased when Jason proposed to me that I broke a personal rule and cooked him a steak that very night. After a while, I grew weary of cooking things that I couldn't partake in myself. So, I shrugged my shoulders and decided that I was ready to rejoin the meat eating masses.

While I'm now comfortably carnivorous, I am still aware of the ongoing issues that once made me so passionate about living a meat-free lifestyle. The vast majority of people, including me, are completely disconnected to the food that we put into our bodies - we don't know where it came from or how exactly it got to our plates. Delicious? Often, the answer is yes. Natural? Ugh, no. I've read accounts of people who grew up on farms in earlier parts of our country's history - people who sweated and strained to ensure the well-being of their crops and livestock. These people were, for the most part, truly connected and honestly grateful.

My sister's husband likes to hunt and fish. He cooks and eats what he brings home. To me, that's responsible meat eating in action, and I'd like to give it a try someday. I'm also reminded of a few friends I had when I was younger, whose families kept a few hens for eggs and tended vegetable gardens. The problem for me there, of course, is that my yardless apartment is not a hospitable environment for chicken coops or gardening.

So... when and where are the farmer's markets on the North Shore?


Miss Kolleen said...

Funny-- I did the opposite; I'm slowly becoming vegan, though every so often I have to partake in some meat- eating. I find vegan and vegetarian cooking to be so much more fulfilling and time consuming and all encompassing, since most of it is from scratch. Being eating disordered, this way of life has actually helped me gain weight.

I think I have a farmer's market guide somewhere around here, I'll try to see. They're the best. Up here (Methuen is basically the sticks) we have a lot of farms, so its sort of great.

Tuco said...

Hi - just surfing the veggie blogs, and found yours.

I think you'd like a book by Michael Pollan called "The Omnivore's Dilemma." Like you, he is not a vegetarian, but very concerned with how the food he eats go onto his plate. Really interesting reading.

Take care!

Noel said...

would it make you laugh to know that when Sam's mom kept chickens, Samand I were the only ones willing to eat the eggs? I want chickens again, but I don't think my neighbors would appreicate it.