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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I ate a hamburger today

I became a vegetarian because of Billy Crystal.

His movie City Slickers bugged me on many levels, but one thing that drove me crazy was his adoption of that baby calf at the end of the movie. "I bet he sticks that thing in his car and they all stop at McDonalds for burgers and fries on the way home."

I stopped eating meat that night back in 1990, and when I did it, I went whole hog, so to speak.

No meat, no fish, no chicken stock in my soups (yes, I asked at restaurants). I never could give up butter, cheese and eggs, but anything that required an animal to die? No problem.

I joined PETA, listened to Consolidated, stopped wearing leather and volunteered at an animal shelter. I grew to hate, still hate, how animals are raised and killed on factory farms.

But the first thing to creep back into my diet was seafood. God, I missed fish and shrimp and lobster and everything but clams. I rationalized those ocean creatures right onto my plate and into my belly.

I didn't knowingly have any red meat or chicken until 2002, at a Portuguese Festival with friends, when pregnant with Jilly. The craving hit me as soon as I smelled the meat cooking on the outdoor grills. I was overcome and soon found myself inhaling a linguica dog. Heaven.

For the past seven years, I've loosened up a bit more. Unfortunately, the meats I want to eat, the ones I cannot resist, are some of the worst ones for you: bacon and sausages (kielbasa, salami, pepperoni, linguica, bratwurst, sweet italian, hot italian and even liverwurst). I still can't choke down the "healthy meats" like chicken, turkey or even pork.

But, my family eats it all, so I now drive a couple of hours once a month to pick up all grass-fed, natural, living-in-harmony meat from a local farm. I tell people, "this cow had a great life before his throat was slit" with not-a-little irony.

And tonight I ate a hamburger. It was grass-fed, no-hormones-added beef that I grilled myself, but still I know that it was once a living, breathing creature. I paused a couple of times while I chewed and thought about this simple fact.

But, damn, it was good.

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Anonymous Another Hot Mess said...

I stopped eating meet about 15 years ago - even went the whole Vegan route for a while too. But, like you, I worked fish and seafood back onto the menu because who wants to live without lobster. I haven't eaten chicken or red meat, but I often contemplate it. And I say, enjoy your burgers. You only live once!

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Julie B said...

I actually contemplated giving up meat the other day.... and I thought, well I could do it like FOM, you know, occasional sausage thrown in.... then I remembered Nonni's meatballs, filet mignon, Thanksgiving turkey....and well... maybe I'll just cut back on the meat.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Wendy Hawksley said...

I try to avoid meat but, sometimes... Red meat... YUM!!!

9:22 PM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

I think I have a FOM vegetarian in the making: she only eats hot dogs, ham and bacon.

Chix nuggets because I force her. No "real" pork. No meat. No chicken. No seafood. She did try beef terryaki from the Chinese restaurant but I think it was the stick, not the meat, that intrigued her. Time to start serving all our dinners on wooden skewers?

8:09 AM  
Blogger Patois said...

At least you're considering what you're consuming. That's already far better than most. (Including me. Don't mean to imply otherwise.)

8:17 AM  
Anonymous mrs. q. said...

Oh, a burger? Jamie will be so proud!

I remember the hubby and I giving up red meat for what, ten years? And I also remember that first beef tenderloin I had post-wagon. Mmmmm.

I certainly wish we ate less meat and working to cut it out altogether on some days. You are right-- mass produced meat is one of the scariest and highest polluting industries in the world. If everyone gave up on the American meat-and-potatoes diet and went more vegetarian, we'd all be in a much happier place. But I would certainly miss that burger-grill smell on summer evenings!

8:32 AM  
Blogger Melani said...

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years! WOW, time flies. I do eat eggs and dairy products. Sometimes, eggs gross me out, I am finicky that way! My younger 2 (4 and 2) are also vegetarian but my older 2 (16 and 14) and my husband all eat meat, that I cook. How ironic is that? LOL

12:30 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I'm part Portuguese and I grew up in a Polish family. We love any meat product in tube form so I am right there with you on the kielbasa/sausage/linguica train. Choo choo!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Krystan said...

My weaknesses are bacon and clams. And A's coughing kept me from eating my first-hot-dog-in-five-years the other night! Probably for the best. I do think it makes a difference how the meat was raised, though.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Loukia said...

I hate thinking about this. Especially when I'm eating meat. I can't for the life of me prepare meat or chicken, though. I can't touch it raw. Thankfully, my hubby cooks. I could easily become a vegetarian. I could live off of bread and pasta alone. But I need cheese, too. I guess I'd make my own rules!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous shar133 said...

There's the meat lovin, order an extra large steak grinder at midnight from the dorm, pal I love and miss....

12:05 PM  
OpenID pandorican said...

I became a vegetarian when I was 16. I have been a Vegan as well, (though I don't recommend it when you have to cook for other people who aren't) Right now I eat meat (and guilt)though. So, I know the feeling. You are a flexitarian. Really. It's a thing.

2:18 PM  
OpenID achievingmyself said...

LOVE this post! I was a pseudo-vegetarian for about a year and a half-- I only ate fish. While practicing that diet I learned that my FAVORITE crackers (Chick'n in a Biskit crackers) had *real* chicken parts in them. I was shocked! When I came back around to beef hugging, I was at a family wedding and the menu consisted of burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and baked beans (classy, right?). I caved for a hot dog, of all the grossest meats. But it, too, was good...

5:47 PM  
OpenID achievingmyself said...

I was a pseudo-vegetarian for about a year and a half-- I still ate fish. I was shocked to learn that Chick'n in a Biskit crackers had real chicken parts in them, and saddened that I could no longer partake. Haha. When I came back to beef-hugging, I was at a family wedding and the menu consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and baked beans. I caved for a hot dog, of all disgusting meats. But it, too, was good...

5:50 PM  
OpenID achievingmyself said...

My Lord, I did NOT mean to leave two nearly-the-same comments... I thought I lost my first one!!
So sorry, everyone. I swear I'm not an egotist!

5:53 PM  

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