Monday, September 21, 2009

You’re Not Going to Eat Any Pork? Yes. Bacon? Yes. Ham? Dad All Those Meats Come From the Same Animal. Right Lisa, Some Wonderful, Magical Animal.

It is my opinion that the average person living in my state and probably mt country does not know what an ovo lacto vegetarian is, let alone what they eat. In fact, when I first decided to go veg, I was thrust into a world of despair and desperation; "I can't eat ANYTHING! I'll starve! EVERYTHING has meat in it! I can't just live on salads and apple juice!" But then, as I calmed down, I began to see that the possible food choices are endless and since then have enjoyed hundreds of dinners that are vegetarian specific, and hundreds more that just didn't get the meat added to them.

I blame the initial mind block on that catchy piece of music "Hoe-Down" from Aaron Copland's "Rodeo". Better known as the music in the "Beef; It's What's For Dinner" commercial. That, and the fact that I remember when the meat industry funded government health ads. You remember it too; that was when there were only four food groups (Fruits&Vegetables, Meat, Dairy, and Grain), not a whole pyramid, and you needed equal amounts of all four to be healthy. Let's face it, most people think that "meat" means main dish. if there is no meat, you don't have a dinner, you have appetizers.

In Doctrine and Covenants it says;
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
(Doctrine and Covenants 89:12 and 13)

And yet, I would still say that the average Mormon has the same mentality as above. You would think that if we "eat meat sparingly" it would mean "not for EVERY dinner," but I dare you to find an average Mormon who can come up with a dinner that does not involve meat. The above scripture is usually skipped over, it's just not a big deal. I think we can all agree that there are more important aspects to focus on, like service and family and not killing people.

What is the point of all this? The point is this;
A few days ago, before I had my baby, my visiting teacher (I have a visiting teacher!) called and said she would arrange to have meals brought to our home after the baby was born. She talked excitedly about how nice it was to have a parade of dinners brought in night after night for the first few weeks of her child's life, and then I told her that I was vegetarian. I felt bad, telling her, I hate making it an issue and I hate that she wants to do something nice but I am making it difficult, but I felt it was a fact she needed to know. I pointed out that Drek is not vegetarian, and that my main concern was feeding him. She listened to this and then answered "Well, we can a few snacks brought over, at least."

Sigh. I know, I'm difficult.

But she did better than that. The first night she came by with dinner. Dinner was...any guesses? Meatloaf. No, I am not kidding. She brought meatloaf. I find this hilarious, and actually, logical. When someone says something as a fact, you automatically think of things to prove that fact wrong. You think up opposites. She asked herself what vegetarians eat and her answer was "not meat". When she tried to think of a vegetarian dinner, all she could think of was what she couldn't make, and the ultimate opposite of a vegetarian meal is meatloaf. So she brought over an entire meatloaf. Drek was delighted.

She also brought a bowl of zucchini soup for me, as well as rolls and fruit. The fruit was inspired. I devoured that fruit. It was the only thing I wanted the day after the birth.

The next night the compassionate service leader brought dinner. She brought chicken. An entire chicken breast. The meal was a vegetable medley, and the chicken was supposed to go in the medley, but since I was vegetarian, she wrapped up the chicken separately. Again, this makes sense if you think about it logically; What do vegetarians eat? Vegetables. I know a dish with a lot of vegetables! I'll just hold the meat. She also brought over cake with fresh peaches. It was delicious. Frek and I ate the cake first and then ate the dinner. He didn't bother to add the chicken to his medley, he just ate the chicken. I ate the medley, and you know what? It was AMAZING! So delicious and filling it is now on my list of favorite vegetarian dinners (I'll ignore the chicken entirely). I just need the recipe.

The last of the dinners (I guess they could only find three volunteers to feed the difficult vegetarian) was brought over by by my other visiting teacher (I have two visiting teachers!) She came to the door, handed Drek two boxes and said "I don't know what vegetarians eat, so I let Stoufer's do the work." She had brought two personal-sized microwave dinners, one meat lasagna, and one vegetable lasagna. Despite her lack of cooking, I was impressed. Not only did she actually bring a true vegetarian dinner, but it is one of my favorites, and one that I don't buy very often, since it is so expensive. I was touched that she would spend so much money on me.

So, what do vegetarians eat? Well, Krisling made me Curry. All Indian food (food from India) is a great place for vegi ideas, since most Indians are vegetarians and only add meat to their dishes to get Americans to buy them. I also love Mexican food (most authentic Mexican food doesn't have meat, since meat is so expensive and considered a luxury) and just substitute Taco TVP instead of ground beef. Most Thai food uses tofu instead of meat (I love tofu!). I can eat most pastas; Italian food is great for vegetarians. In fact, my sister brought me Basil Pesto Pasta. That was delicious. I frequently eat Chinese food, and seafood. So what can't I eat? Well, American food. Go figure.

One day, I will live in a world where I am considered "normal" and not "difficult". One day. . .

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