Sunday, November 21, 2010

Confessions of a Part-Time Vegetarian

A couple of years ago, I stopped eating meat.  I did it for the same reason that I run my car on Biodiesel.  I wasn't trying to make some grand statement about animal cruelty, although for the record, I'm against that.  I try to have a smaller carbon footprint.  I recycle, I have a composter (although it doesn't work that well) and I have about a dozen reusable shopping bags that I actually use.  I feel good about not being wasteful, or at least trying not to be too wasteful when I can help it.  This means I save my recycling at work as well and bring it home when it starts to overflow or cause a smell.  I enjoy doing these things and they make me feel good, but they don't make me a better person.

Here's the thing.  After a couple of years without eating any meat, I found I was craving some bacon.  Right, pork, which clearly is meat, but specifically bacon.  I just wanted a bacon sandwich.  If I thought about it enough, my mouth would start to water.  For awhile I ignored this craving.  I shouldn't be craving bacon, and it made me feel weak.

I gave this a lot of thought.  Should I not eat what I want?  Whose rule was this that I couldn't eat any meat?  I certainly didn't want to start eating loads of meat, but frankly, I felt like I had painted myself into a corner.  I was always careful to correct people when they called me a vegetarian.  I would tell them that I was no such thing, but everyone just ignores my protests and indignation.  It wasn't as if I was offended by this, it just wasn't true.  Even when I wasn't eating meat at all, I did eat some fish.   The last time I checked, fish weren't considered vegetables. 

So where does that leave me?  I gave in to my craving, and ate a nice bacon sandwich.  The bacon was of a specific kind, not that nasty Hormel crap.  Back bacon is the thing.  Proper British.  Couple of rashers, fried or broiled, slap 'em on some white bread, bit o'butter and maybe some tomato ketchup or HP sauce.  There's nothing like it.  That's led me down a slippery but delicious slope, as occasionally, such as a recent trip to NYC I had some lovely tapas that included Iberian ham.  Just a bit.  The thing is, I didn't feel that bad about it.  I wasn't giving in to a crack habit, after all. 

I'm not going to dole out advice about what everyone else should eat, but I think it's important to eat things that are good, and think about what you're eating.  Does anyone think about where that meat in your Taco  Bell taco comes from?  If they did bet they'd never eat one. 

As for me, I've become a part-time vegetarian, but to be honest that's what I already was.  And by the way, that bacon/heirloom tomato/avocado baguette I had yesterday was fucking delicious.