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Vegetarian or bust.

When I was a kid, my mother would prepare chicken dishes, but she hated to eat any of it. She explained that while visiting her grandmother in Indiana (her Grammaw Heaton), she had the dubious honor of witnessing the slaughter of their dinner. She told me that after the chicken was decapitated, it continued to run around, sort of desperately, and the vision of it haunted her. I used to laugh at that, because the idea of it was funny.

But I just saw an episode of Amish Out of Order, and there was a chicken–plump, white and beautiful–plucked (no pun intended) from her coop and thrown into a carrying cage. She was brought to a wire runner (where they apparently ripped her head off; I couldn’t watch) and in the next scene the chicken was running with no head–just a bloody neck–running in a straight line, then flopping over on its back and fluffing its wings in the dirt. I was horrified. I may never eat chicken again.

This comes on the heals of cleaning the meat off a rotisserie chicken yesterday. I’ve done it hundreds of times, but this time, I noticed its spine. And it affected me to the point that I didn’t want to continue. This was a living thing, I thought. This was a bird and now it’s meat. I was nauseous.

I could easily be a vegetarian. I’m not at this point, but I could be. So why aren’t I? I suppose I could blame my husband, a committed carnivore. But that wouldn’t be fair.

Truth be told, I’ve been slowly introducing meatless meals for about a year. And all was going well, until I realized that there were a lot of leftovers, and I was the only one eating them. So I decided to buy burgers for him and meatless burgers for me. That worked out okay, but there are only so many burgers (veggie or otherwise) that you can stand.

I tried introducing wheat berries into our lives, because I found a good recipe for Wheat berry and Black Bean Chili. Unfortunately, wheat berries require an overnight soak, followed by a long cooking process. And in the end, I was eating it far longer than anyone should have to, because my husband didn’t like it.

I guess I’m weird because I love leftovers. I was raised by a father who would eat things from the fridge that couldn’t be identified anymore. But it’s impossible to eat leftovers if no one else has eaten any of it.

What should I do?

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8 thoughts on “Vegetarian or bust.”

  1. Well …your niece won’t be reading this particular story for awhile!!! lol There are cookbooks like Cooking for Two etc that might give you just the right amount of food ?

  2. The family motto around food has always been more is more. Anyway, I don’t think it’s the amount as much as the type. It’s the balancing act between an omnivore and a herbivore wannabe 🙂 And yes, this post is not a good one for Eva! Neither is that episode. Awful!

  3. My son, Alex, lived in a vegetarian co-op last year at college (where there were a lot of vegans as well) and really learned to appreciate all the great recipes there were out there for vegan/vegetarian food. One of his responsibilities was to be head cook once each trimester, and he had to choose the menu for his nights. When he came back home for a few weeks last summer, he cooked a big vegetarian meal for his extended family and everyone loved it. He inspired me to try foods/recipes that I hadn’t tried before. I learned that tofu could really be quite good! Quinoa is also very versatile, and you can do all kinds of tasty things with beans! I don’t eat vegetarian all the time, but it feels good when I do.

    1. So Alex is a true Renaissance Man! I love Quinoa and fortunately so does Doug. He likes lots of different foods, he’s not fussy at all, but tofu is a stretch for him. I have a tofu cookbook, and while perusing it one night he shot me a worried look and asked if I planned to torture him with it. (I haven’t, thus far.) We both love black beans and brown rice. Chicken is going to be a problem. It’s always been a good go-to meat. But it’s gonna take awhile before I can get that poor chicken out of my head.

  4. Your chicken spine comment reminded me of the last time I had poultry- I smelled an inviting scent from our local chicken place, and brought a dish home to eat. Half way through the meal, I found myself looking at the littered bones and a strange thought came to mind – “Why, this is a bird carcass!” I’ve never eaten meat or poultry since, though I do sometimes eat fish (though never when I have to look at the carcass!).

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