Being Vegetarian

20 Mar

For Mardi Gras, Brian and I went to a Creole place in Hell’s Kitchen. For a reasonable admission fee, there was an all-you-can-eat Cajun buffet, Hurricane drinks, and a live Cajun band. It was a hoot!

After I had gorged myself on fantastic jambalaya, I set to work on the crawdads. This requires both hands. Since we were standing, Brian held my plate as I ripped their little bodies in half and devoured their insides. Fat Tuesday is such a lovely holiday.

“I’ve decided to give up chips for Lent. What are you giving up?” Brian asked me. I looked up at him quizzically, crawdad juice running down my arm, my mouth stuffed.
“I’m not religious. I haven’t given anything up for Lent since I was a teenager.” I told him.
“You have to give up something. How about alcohol?”
“Who are you kidding?”
“Coffee?”
“I don’t drink it that often to begin with.”
“C’mon! You have to give up something.”

So I thought about it on my way home that night. Maybe meat? I was a vegetarian for 8 years after all. And my diet of late has been unhealthy in the predominance of the presence of meat. Yeah. I’ll give up meat!

Fast forward one week. Brian and I are on a quest for some food in the Lower East Side.

“I know a really great Mexican place near hear,” Brian says.
“Do they have vegetarian options? I decided to give up meat for Lent.”
“What?! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“You wanted me to give up something!”
“Yeah, but not something stupid. Meat is delicious. Why are you doing this to me?”

So, as I write this, I am at the halfway point. 20 days down. 20 to go. And it sucks. How on Earth did I do this for 8 years? Why did I do this for 8 years? In the last 20 days, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much. I feel like my diet is severely lacking. Meals are not nearly as filling or satisfying. I respect anyone who has the commitment to live a vegetarian lifestyle, but, whoa, it is not for me. It’s not that I eat a ton of meat, but I eat enough that I am certainly noticing its absence.

AND, I’ve been cheating. I’ll tell myself, “I’m not religious. Who cares?” But I made the commitment to give something up, and I hate not following through on something. I had beef chili on Ash Wednesday. I had made a huge pot a couple of days earlier, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I ate jambalaya last Friday with my friend John. But riddle me this. How can you expect me to go to Jones Cafe and NOT order the jambalaya? I’m pretty sure John would have disowned me, and John is one of my favorite people in New York. So, no. THEN, I had lotso meat on St. Patrick’s Day (more on that adventure in a later post). Also, I’m leaving for Japan soon (Have I mentioned that?), and I am NOT missing out on ANY culinary adventures.

I have learned to eat more vegetables, and I have seen how far I have come since reintroducing meat into my diet 2ish years ago. Man oh man, though. Easter Sunday is going to find me with a burger and fries. You can count on that.

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