I didn't realize that I owed so many people an explanation until I started proclaiming my life changes on, well, Facebook. Cries of confusion and hints at heresy prompted a long-overdue post. I'ma just break it right down - after a twelve-year hiatus, I've started eating meat again. I made the decision to drop the edge in preparation for a two-week trip to Sicily to study, ahem, the food and culture of Sicily. I've traveled before, and always knew that I missed out on so much by not eating according to the cultural, environmental and economic constructs of the region. I didn't even eat seafood on the coast of Chile. Moron. So, for education, for experience, for Sicilia, I resigned to eat absolutely everything that everyone else ate. I steeled myself for the emotional transmission, and dismissed others' concerns about my health - "Won't you get sick?" Thought I appreciated the concern, meat-mouths and veg-heads don't seem to realize how much chicken stock, pork fat, and fish gelatin work their way into things as innocuous as lentil soup, home fries, and multi-vitamins.
So my first bite of flesh was lamb. I could scarcely recall the sinuous texture and incomparable savoriness of roasted meat, and I had never even tasted lamb. The experience was quite unparalleled. And to my surprise, I really, really liked lamb. Baaaa. It wasn't all easy. I wept openly before eating ham, and I thought that the chicken liver I tried was possibly the most foul substance I'd ever put in my mouth. But I gave it all a shot - beef, spleen, pancreas, snails, fritolla (pictured above, and captured by the unsinkable Lauren Bennett. I can't verify if it was re-introducing flesh into my diet, eating farm-to-table every day, or the Sicilian air (seriously, the simple act of breathing there was its own pleasure), but I felt stronger and more energized that I had felt since I was a little kid, spending my summers stumping through fields and collecting crayfish in the creek.
I've eaten some meat since I've been back, and this week, I even cooked it. At home. On purpose. I've had a lot of time to think about it and to feel... ok about my decision. Feel free to grill me, chew me out, get to the meat of it (see what I did there?), because I'm happy to talk about my revival of occasional carnivorousness. And to close, I thought I'd reaffirm my commitment to una vida llena de veggies. This is a picture of my my favorite thing that I ate in Sicily: a "peasant soup" comprised of pasta, broth, and and assortment of vegetables picked from literally right outside the kitchen. I never knew that zucchini leaves could sing before I ate this soup.