Saturday, July 24, 2010

Have We Me[a]t?

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.


Nine said...

Although I was just as surprised as anyone when you sent me a list of critters you ate in Sicily, I completely understand and applaud you decision to have a complete culinary and cultural experience.

You know I preach that your truth, your path, is your own and no one else's. So kudos to you for listening to the wisdom inside YOUR body....and for making the most out of what had to have been an edifying and delicious trip.


J'Hab@lavidaveggie said...

Grazie, sorella! Molto buono!