It should come as no surprise to many, but the battle I’ve been waging against meat has finally ended. I can no longer claim to be a vegetarian of any sort. And yet, while I’ve lost the battle, it pains me to admit that I may have won the war, because, let’s face it, meat is delicious.
My foray into lactovism ended late one rainy October afternoon in the midst of a hectic workday. Work was becoming egregiously time-consuming and my routine noon lunch had quickly become my routine 2:00 p.m. early dinner. Since I’ve never developed the good habits of preparing my own lunch, I rushed out into the world, initially looking for the traditionally difficult answer to my perpetual herbivore hunger problem. Before my truck reached the exit ramp of the parking deck, however, that search dissolved into a simple truth–I don’t have time for this.
So, as unceremoniously as it began, my attempt at vegetarianism ended with a chicken strip pita at Fleetwood’s Diner, across the street from the hospital. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted. Aside from the chili that accompanied it, that is.
In that moment, from parking deck to Fleetwood’s, the problem with being a vegetarian became abundantly clear: it’s un-American. I don’t mean to say that it’s anti-American, or that connotes being a wuss to the prototypical red-blooded imperialist American. Both may be considered true to some people, and I’ve learned that in the past 4 months, but I mean by being un-American is that we simply aren’t built to be vegetarians. Our culture demands more from us–or less, depending on your viewpoint.
Look, for example, at the recipes people supply vegetarians or vegans. Most of it is either a direct recipe or deviation from Mediterranean, Indian or Asian cuisine. Hummus, tabouli, falafil, soy, rice, etc… These are not Western dishes.
Americans have no patience. We are created this way. We have perfected the art of instant gratification, and ultimate gratification. Part of the reason that meat is so inundated in our culture is that we have an abundance of it. We have no need of other sustenance. Sure, nutritionally speaking we do, but culture does not necessarily reflect biology.
Upon reflection, I think a part of the reason I began this endeavor was to see how long I could live against the grain. I tried, but ultimately, you can take the America out of the boy, but you can’t take the boy out of America. I tried plenty of new foods, expanded my horizons and fought the fire in my belly, but mostly I overcompensated for the meat loss with bread and cheese–a common vegetarian mistake.
I find it funny that as supportive as people have been, many are relieved the experiment is over as if I was out defacing public property but they supported my passion for the art.
So in conclusion to this blog, thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support and feedback. I’m debating whether or not to keep this blog (with some edits, of course) and use it for my personal soundboard. I find that a more pointed blog is more entertaining, but we’ll see. Let me know your thoughts on the matter, but I thank you again for everything during this eye-opening experience.