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I Want My Baby Back Baby Back Baby Back…

April 16, 2010

For years, despite the obvious fact that you can’t spell “meat” without “eat,” I’ve been on the fence about eating animals. I looooove meat in almost all of its forms. But I also love animals. And sometimes when I tuck into a rack of ribs I feel a twinge of guilt and see a brief mental image of Mr. Hoggett dancing for Babe (“If I had words I’d make a day for you!”), or Wilbur learning, in horror, the purpose of his existence. I’ve always consoled myself with the idea that probably eventually I’d evolve into a vegetarian and it was just a matter of when. Sort of an Augustinian “I’ll become a Christian and start behaving myself–but just not right now” approach to the situation. Although I don’t think I’ve yet given the matter sufficient serious thought, I’m quite sure I will never come to a point of believing it’s across-the-board wrong for humans to eat meat, and I’m even more sure that I will never be any kind of obnoxious proselytizer. I’m just finding myself less and less able to ignore the incompatibility between the crazy fondness I personally have for animals and the uninformed, nearly all-consuming meal choices I personally make.

So for class the other day, as most of you will have read, the assignment was to write a certain kind of poem about nature, and I wrote this ridiculous thing about eating my cat. An uncertain relationship with meat was the cause, not the effect, of that masterful and completely necessary piece of writing. And when I got home that night I decided to try putting my money where my mouth is (not literally–I have no money, and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t eat it). Today is day two of a self-imposed two-week meatlessness challenge. No phase-out. Cold turkey (ha friggin’ ha).

Friends and lovers, scribes and scholars, please believe I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the single most difficult and tragic thing that I have ever experienced. You are reading the desperate words of a woman who, every year, hosts a party called Porktoberfest. And do not doubt for a moment that it is aptly named…

First of all, I made the two-weeks-zero-animals decision a couple of days after going for groceries, and now I’ve got a fridge shelf full of stuff I “can’t” eat. I don’t know anything about vegetarian meals. I know beans and lentils tend to be heavily involved, and I know I’m no great fan of either. I mean, beans without wieners? Fuck that. Seriously. Yesterday I made this awful meatless spaghetti concoction that it’s embarrassing to be about to describe. I know a lot of vegetarians, and I’ve eaten at their homes. They cook delicious things all the time. Spaghetti with a Spoonful of Old Leftover Pesto Scraped from the Jar, Topped with a Crazy Fuckload of Parmesan Cheese is not the kind of disgraceful ad-hoc recipe they seem to be working from. God only knows what I’ll come up with tomorrow…

Thanks to some successful culinary adventures with one particular vegetarian friend, I am aware of the existence of Ground Round, which I need to go get some of soon so I can make proper spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes and mushrooms currently shriveling in the fridge. If I can’t have meat, I at least want the appearance and texture of it.

Another thing: food courts are the most depressing thing ever, all of a sudden. There’s been a lot of school stuff going on this week, as a result of which I’ve had occasion to dine out, if it can be called that, four or five times in the past few days. Yesterday I was just stymied and confounded as I circled the food court at Pacific Centre, as disoriented as a demented old man. In the end I went with a gigantic thing of New York Fries. For supper. Not great. I mean, they were good, but they weren’t what you would call a meal. Today I went back for a late lunch, having prepared myself and done some strategizing this morning, and I did a slightly better job–stood at the Chinese food place salivating over the ginger beef and sweet ‘n’ (viz.,”and”) sour pork, but chose mixed vegetables and fried rice. Mixed motherfucking vegetables? Are you fucking kidding me? I wanted to punch myself in the face as I gave the server my order. Who in the hell goes for Chinese food and gets the mixed goddamn vegetables? I couldn’t believe I actually did it. I was 90% sure I was going to cave and say “beef and broccoli” when the server asked what I wanted. But determination prevailed. My reward was a limp pile of soggy tasteless cabbage. The worst.

There was a dish I could have had that was basically 1″ x 1″ cubes of tofu sitting in some kind of brown sauce. Revolting.

This is a terrible situation. What am I going to have for dinner? Jugo Juice and Mexi Fries? Cup of coffee and a handful of napkins?

If I don’t make it through, my hard drive contains a list of songs I want played at my funeral. “Any Way You Want It” by Journey is one of them. Another may or may not be Gunther’s “Ding Dong Song.” The rest are mostly Joanna Newsom and Jay-Z. Just alternate back and forth.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jennifer Holloman permalink
    April 16, 2010 4:26 pm

    I have some vegetable and lentil soup recipes that my friends and coworkers rave about if you want them. I have a great Asian steamed soybeans recipe, too, and believe me I thought I’d never eat those! Tofu is still off limits to me, but veggie and lentil recipes I nailed. Um, not that way.

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