This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vegging Out

(I thought I'd try to keep this one relatively short, to give you a break after the last few posts and before [insert ominous music here] tomorrow's.)

An increasing number of people are turning to vegetarian or vegan lifestyles for various reasons. Some are trying to live healthier lives in general, some are against killing and eating animals for moral reasons, some simply don't like the taste of meat... whatever. More power to them.

(Then again, there are the members of PETA, some of whom are so radical as to make Osama bin Laden look like a pacifist... or so irrational as to make Michael Jackson look normal... But I digress.)

The only uncomfortable thing about vegetarianism is that I don't believe that man, being an evolved primate, was meant to subsist on a totally meat-free diet. Oh, sure, we can. But I don't think it's natural. And by natural, I mean, literally, "of nature."

"But," a vegetarian or vegan would argue, "we have rational thought on our side. We can rise above our primal instincts."

And they're right. We can, of course. But it'll take time. And until then...

We're animals. And who ever saw a ravenous jungle beast rush to eat a freakin' tree when a cowering, defenseless human stood beside that tree?

It's our instinct to eat other animals. And the hungrier -- "hungry" as in "starving" -- we are, the less fussy we are. If you and your favorite pet are ever snow-bound in a cabin for three weeks without food, the only one which eventually walks out will be the larger, craftier, or luckier of the two. "Sorry, Fluffy... "

And it must be quite galling for vegetarians to know that fact. And they do know it.

Have you ever looked through the vegetarian section in a supermarket? I have. I'll occasionally grab one or two of the over-priced items along with earlier choices like asparagus, radishes, or Brussels sprouts. I'm not going vegetarian -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but every so often, I'm not adverse to putting something marginally healthy into this defiled temple I call a body, either.

Plus it's great when you show up at the checkout with imitation chicken bits, falafel, and imitation chorizo sausage... all stuffed between packages of pork spareribs and boneless buffalo wings.

But, as I said, vegetarians know that we humans eat meat instinctively, and that it'll take forever for most of us to not want meat. Which is why there are things in the vegetarian section like artificial ham, and artificial chicken chunks, and artificial hamburg, and artificial bacon, and artificial cheese, and...

By the way: tofu hot dogs? Boy, do they suck! What kind of word is "tofu," anyway? What the hell kind of name is that for something you expect someone to put in his or her mouth and swallow? Who named that, the same genius who came up with the name "artichoke?" What the hell were they thinking when they named a food "artichoke?" And don't get me started on "head cheese"... !!!

But I digress...

Anyway, I remember when I first heard there was a food called "tofu." My initial reaction was along the lines of "What?!?!?"

I thought they'd said "toe food," y'see...

And actually, having tried tofu hot dogs... I think I was right the first time.

And... thanks for your time.


  1. VERY funny post. Y'know, I've been rereading Jean Shepherd stories recently ("A Fistful of Fig Newtons") and your style reminds me of his a little. It's the raconteury element, I think.

    1) Here's a related something: Last week, I was at a big box store with a friend and the woman behind us in line said she was buying chicken sausage for her daughter "because she's a vegetarian." Wha wha? But: That happens a lot. There are "vegetarians" that eat chicken (poultrarians?), vegetarians that eat fish (chickenofthesearians?), etc. So, you have not just "lacto-ovo vegetarians," but vegetarians who are one step away from clubbing, stunning, and roasting a squirrel (proving your point). But, as I am a former vegetarian who eats turkey--of all things--I'm laughing at myself as much as anybody else.

    2) I, too, partake of the crazy fake meats. I actually like 'em--particularly Morningstar breakfast sausage which is affordable only at Trader Joe's. My friend calls this "sausage a pig farted on."

  2. David, great stuff! You shoulda put this up for our Theme Thursday blog! Oh's Saturday. I can still pass this on (oh lemme, lemme, lemme...pleeease! )

  3. Your "chicken vegetarian" story reminds me of how the whole "vegan" thing started. Way back in 1944, certain vegetarians were bemoaning the fact that "vegetarian" was being used for people who still used dairy products, so they came up with "vegan" for the "purer" types. "Vegan" came from "the beginning and end" of "vegetarian." (Maybe you already knew that, and I'm not assuming that you didn't; I just found it out recently.)

  4. SubTorp: Just tell them it qualifies by default...

  5. Almost forgot: "Sausage a pig farted on?" How... ummm... wonderfully appetizing.

  6. Great Caesar's Ghost! That's just a magnificent new profile photo!

    (Yes: "Sausage a pig farted on" is wonderfully appetizing. Makes me laugh, 'though.)

    You know who's got a really superior attitude? Those darn "airitarians."

  7. *cracks knuckles*

    As someone born and raised vegetarian, who's never (deliberately) eaten meat...I owe you a proper comment on this one.

    Before anyone disowns me, I'm lacto-ovo...I eat dairy, though I do try to get the free range/local type stuff, especially with regard to eggs.

    But I'm just taking a break in an almost 12 hour movie marathon so the aforementioned reply will have to be tomorrow or Monday.

  8. (I'm wondering if I'm actually supposed to try to "guess who [that was]." If so, was the knuckle-cracking a clue?)

    It always throws me a bit when I bang out a goofy post and people reply seriously, but that's not a bad thing, so I'll be interested in reading your comment.

    In this case, I'd especially love to read your input since you were "born and raised" vegetarian. In a way, I suppose it's easier never having had meat than having decided later to give it up. I know that if I ever went the vegetarian route, I'd "cheat" once in a while and indulge in one of my favorite main courses.

    I should add that reading a comment that lengthy, saying you'll comment later sounds like something I'd do. Am I "Guess Who?" Hm. Probably not...

  9. Wow, Sparkle and I have more in common than I thought.

    I actually was vegan for a bit, 2nd Mr. Fire was, I got tired of cooking more than one meal. Seriously I was never too into meat. I only tolerate a few.

    I have nothing against people who eat those I can't tolerate. Though I have to say when I was vegan people who were heavy meat eaters took me not eating meat as an offence to them. I got a lot of backlash. Including one man trying to literally force a steak down my throat.

    I don't like the fake meats. Pretty much for the reason you pointed out, if you want something that taste like peperoni than have peperoni. But I don't like peperoni or hamburger.

    I really do love veggies and tofu. I do eat animal protein, fish and poultry, for extra protein, omega 3's and I like lobster. HA HA HA.

    For the record, I don't call myself vegetarian since I eat animals, rarely, but I still do.

    I remember when I became vegan. My mother, Sparkle, tried to convince me chick real wasn't meat so it was o.k. to eat. I had heard the same story from a lot of vegans.

    Guess who must me a friend in real life who is a vegetarian. It is common in our area of the country. I still have a few vegan friends. Out of respect I just don't cook meat around them when they are over.

  10. In the infamous numbered list format!

    1) That was me doing the knuckle, I don't actually crack my knuckles (terrible habit). I meant it in a *knuckle crack, sleeves rolled up, let's get down to buiness way*.

    2) My father worked in a slaughter house briefly just before I was born...he quit, he and my mom went vegetarian, and the rest (as they say) is history. My sister and I were both raised vegetarian...and I wouldn't change it. My reasons are primarily animal-ethics related. (I hate, hate PETA...for the record...raving loons.)

    3) Being vegetarian is actually really easy (not that you said it wasn't)'s a matter of eating a well-rounded diet. You can't be a picky eater and be a healthy vegetarian. (Asian food is great!)

    4) You probably wouldn't notice I was vegetarian if we ever found ourselves in the same restaurant...most places have veggie options now. (I'm a difficult case cuz I also can't have gluten, which is in...well, everything. Very annoying.)

    5) Fake meat...I don't 'get' fake meat. I can't actually eat most of it (gluten is often used as a way of making it spongy and chewy) but the only kinds I like are bacon bits and a particular kind of 'sausage' looks like a meat sausage but they just made it taste good instead of trying for some approximation of meat-taste (so say my meat-eatin' friends).

    6) Tofu is evil unless you grill, fry, or flavour/sauce the hell out of it. I couldn't stomach it at all until fairly recently.

    7) I eat dairy...I can't imagine being vegan.

    8) And, finally, I should add...I have zero issues with folks eating meat around me. It seems important to say that because so many of the animal-rights type people in the media are insane. I don't intend to eat it myself but I could care less what other people do (really)...don't harass me about my choices, I don't harass you about yours.

    9) Nothing for #9.

    10) Did I cover everything? ::grin:: LONGEST COMMENT EVER!


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