I'll just sit here quietly and chew my cud, thanks
When we went for coffee the other day I asked her the whys and wherefores of her lifestyle choice. The ‘why’ part was simple for her. She doesn’t believe that any animal should die so she and her family can eat, and she also thinks it’s healthier. She may be right.
As for the wherefores, I only asked because we want to have her and her husband (also a broccoli muncher) for dinner and I wanted to know what our limitations re foodstuffs might be. Obviously I knew that thick marbled and rare prime rib slathered in gravy with Yorkshire pudding on the side was out – damn – but I wondered about seafood. I’ve known vegetarians who cannot resist prawns; despite the fact the little crustaceans boast faces (of a sort).
No – no seafood. But, eggs, cheese and other dairy. Phew! OK. I can handle that. In fact, I could even live like that. Indeed, if it came down to me actually murdering the animals I consume, I would opt for that form of vegetarianism. I love lamb chops, but cannot think about fluffy little springtime lambs gambolling in the meadow. In fact, I once loved fishing, but gave it up a few years ago because I couldn’t bear killing the fish. A few years ago a friend laid a big crate of live Dungeness crabs on me. The problem was, I had to kill them. They were ultimately delicious, but the expediting of the poor critters was depressing. Now I just buy dressed crab. I know they were still killed, but I didn’t do the killing. The idea of going out and shooting a deer is beyond my comprehension. I have no aversion to others who choose to do so as a sport, and I have a lot of friends who hunt, I just don't choose to do it. I know that makes me sound like an apologist Nazi, but you get the idea.
Anyway, a few weeks ago we went to dinner at the home of my aforementioned friend and her husband. It was a lovely evening, and the dinner (all vegetarian) was remarkably tasty. Well, except for the yam puree thing. I don’t do yams. But, my mother raised me to be polite, so I endured.
OK – so vegetarianism I can accept as a lifestyle for the reasons I suggested above. My stepdaughter decided at 15 she was going to go vegetarian (as so many girls do. One wonders about the male-female breakdown in this choice) and she actually prepared some fine meals, like vegetarian lasagne. I don’t know if she’s still vegetarian, but it doesn’t matter to me if she, or anybody else is.
Who I don’t get are vegans. No dairy? No eggs? I’d rather starve. How do you prepare a decent meal that way? I have gone to a local vegan eatery (under duress). Their foodstuffs were, for the most part, incredibly overpriced troughs of glop. Furthermore, I have to wonder about the healthful properties of such a diet, especially for children. Added to which, most vegans I’ve met look even worse than Keith Richards, and at least he has fun.
But, finally, the ones I really don’t get are the ‘raw food’ folk. I mean, compared with these ‘ruminants’ regular vegans seem frivolous, even frolicsome in their relationship with food. Added to which, no matter how they might try to defend their excruciatingly dreary lifestyle, it flies against nature. We have digestive systems that demand we be omnivores. Ruminant animals like cows or deer have intestinal tracts the length of Route 66 to pull out whatever nutrients they need from their fodder. Furthermore, they tend to barf up what they've initially swallowed, and then sit and chew their cuds for hours to get even more benefit from their food. Omnivores like us have city-block sized guts by comparison, and we don't have teeth designed for cud-chewing. Ever noticed those 'canine' teeth we possess, my raw-food friends?
Anyway, I think I’ll probably continue to be an omnivore and keep my red-meat intake to a minimum – which I’ve done for years, anyway. And I do thank whatever gods might be that I don’t have a peanut allergy because I could imagine life without PB even less than life without barbecued burgers.