Friday, March 12, 2010

Joe loves chicken?!

I was raised on a vegetarian diet, so it is with some embarrassment that I now state that I am mostly vegetarian. I've met enough perky self-professed "vegetarians" who only eat a burger or steak every once in a while to know that you are either a vegetarian or you are not. Yes, there are varieties of vegetarianism: vegan, lacto, or lacto-ovo - at different points in my life I have been each of these. (What was that? I'm sorry, I simply do not recognize "pescatarian" as a form of vegetarianism.)  But you can't be a vegetarian who occasionally eats steak. There is a phrase to describe people who occasionally eat steak, and it is "meat eater."

But alas, I have strayed from my vegetarian upbringing. A more omnivorous diet has crept up on me. First, I stopped worrying about lard in my beans, or fish sauce in my Asian food, or chicken stock in my soup. Then I decided that I didn't want do die without even tasting meat (remember, I ate no meat growing up), so I started taking small bites of things here and there. I didn't like most of it, but I did like some. Which brings us to today, when I occasionally, every once in a while, eat chicken, usually only if it is organic and prepared by my husband.

For the record, I still believe that we all need to eat less animal products - for the earth, for the animals, for our health. I try to eat locally, sustainably, or best of all - food grown in my own back yard. But Steve's grilled chicken is good! Really good!

So I know, I'm not really a vegetarian anymore, but I need to find a way to describe my diet. I joke with Steve that I went from being a vegetarian, which is something that people understand (sort of), to just being annoying. I can now be described by a much more dreaded label: picky eater. Surely there is nothing worse than that?

Okay, there is something worse: Adjectives like "flexitarian" or "less-meat-atarianism." Sure, they do adequately describe my diet. The problem is, I can't say them with a straight face.

Sigh. It's enough to send me back to my veggie roots.

Joe, on the other hand, has no such foibles. Needless to say, we did not decide to raise him on a vegetarian diet. For one thing, Steve loves meat, and would never dream of denying it to his child (the horror!). And although I am very glad that I was raised on such a healthy diet, and really enjoy vegetarian cuisine, and still prefer it the vast majority of the time, I have found my distaste for many kinds of meat to be limiting in certain circumstances. For example, it might be hard for me to travel to Mongolia. Or live with the Inuit. I want Joe to be able to accept hospitality and travel freely without dietary limitations. Also, um, I'm not a vegetarian, remember, so what am I even talking about here?

At present, my humble aim is to raise Joseph to be pro-vegetable, but not vegetarian (I know, these are famous, famous last words).

Still, I admit, I am a little surprised at how much Joe seems to love chicken! He just gobbles it down like it's ... delicious. Like it's ... um ... his favorite food. So far, he is definitely not mostly vegetarian. I sense that soon, he may gladly graduate to other kinds of meat, varieties of animal flesh that I have never even tasted. And I can't help but feel a little wistful.


  1. well, actually, the new phrase is "flexatarian" to make eating less meat more appealing to those who eat it daily... hopefully it'll work.

  2. Yes, I'm all for "flexatarianism" (or "flexitarianism," or however you spell it). If that term helps some people feel better about their eating, great! To me, it's a bit too "Berkeley," if you know what I mean. I love the idea, but the term is a bit gimmicky. But I am probably being unnecessarily picky.


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