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Friday, March 7, 2014

Mostly meatless

I grew up in a home where food was important, celebrated and blessed. Dinners when Dad was home were accompanied by candlelight and wine. I don't remember having to wait until a special occasion for the table to be set nicely with a tablecloth and napkins. Do families still do that nowadays?

I went through a phase in my teens when I had trouble stomaching chicken with bones because it looked like, well, it looked like bird. In my first year of university I managed to get sacked from St-Hubert BBQ after only 4 weekends. I couldn't tell the difference a breast and a thigh and I was pretty terrible at waiting on tables. I beat them to it. I quit minutes before the manager was to fire me. He looked relieved.

So, I guess that my recent meatless ways have been a long time coming. In the last year and a half, Ive only eaten meat on occasion when a guest in someone's home or when I've had friends or family over. The rest of the time, I eat no meat, not even when I eat out in restaurants. I've never felt better. I'm rarely a person of extremes, so I doubt that I will ever declare myself to be a vegetarian. I don't like labels anyway.

If you were to ask me why I mostly don't eat meat, the best I could do would be come up with a muddy answer having to do with animal cruelty, antibiotics, cleanliness, feeding the earth, not wanting to waste land and other resources, my own health, and the belief that every living thing has a soul of some sort.

Do I eat fish or seafood then? I used to but now I eat fish and seafood the same way I eat meat now, only on special occasions. Is there a hierarchy between mammal, fish, or crustaceans? Raising monarch butterflies has given me the utmost respect for even the smallest forms of animal life.

Am I against those who kill animals and their eat meat? I'm not against anything or anyone except violence in all of its forms: physical, verbal, emotional. I guess that maybe I'd have less of a problem with it if I knew that every one who killed an animal for food did it because:

a. For some reason it was necessary
b. They did it quickly without suffering
c. They did with thanksgiving in their heart

How can I eat meat on occasion? I don't know. Maybe it's mind over matter. Or being thankful for the animal which gave its life or rather had its life taken for food. Or wanting to be gracious towards my hosts or my guests.

There is such an abundance of living food that I am never at a loss for ideas for meals or snacks. If anything, going mostly meatless, simplifies cooking and mealtime, costs less if you cook in big batches and tastes delicious as you try different herbs and spices.

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