Friday, May 20, 2011

You Mean You're A Vege-Traitor!

Andrew describes the hateful hijinks of Meatriots who love their country, its flag, its boys in arms, and juicy Armor Hot Dogs.

The first thing the Dutch and English ever agreed upon in America was that the Natives were not using the land properly and should be divided from it. They did not improve the land, "improve" being defined by charter law as "to keep livestock on it." Thus, in a nutshell, or perhaps, in a collarbone would be more appropriate, the red men and their pudgy long-haired babies were gunned down first for not eating hamburgers. Don't snicker that I am exaggerating. You can be lynched for the same reason today in Texas and no jury will convict. This is a beef-loving country, strangely, since the more beef people eat, the worse its quality. And since, all non-organic hamburger meat in this nation now contains ash for thickening and fake coloring, and beef is no longer marbled or flavorful. More like tough and stringy and bland. The other day I went to a Mongolian grill with friends and the only difference in the lamb, beef, chicken, and pork, was a slight dye job. None had any flavor. I closed my eyes and did a taste test. My lady slipped in a piece of cardboard and a piece of plastic and a piece of leather, and the only one I thought was actually meat was the cardboard. They were really more like slivers of texture replacement, to appease the teeth. But who can complain when all the vegetables and fruits were refilled before our eyes from huge cans? At least the food was not expensive. I guessed after the first time through the line why the "house" recommended six ladels of sauce per bowl. When people say they like good food or strong flavors or this or that dish, what they really mean to say is: I like the texture and shape of my homogenous salt and sugar to be...

But that is just the usual. What I mean to say is I am not being vegetarian anymore, though I did go nearly two months meat-free at one stretch and I often go a week without meat without noticing. I try to eat organic fowl and meat now, as that is clean (er), more properly treated, and probably ate something it would have eaten 200 years ago and enjoys. It will also taste good and since it costs more, I will eat less of it and savor it more. Thomas Jefferson advised to use meat like a condiment, usually over a dry martini and a suckling pig, if not a dry cocktail of pureed ham and a big meal of ale-soaked tobacco leaves. It was good advice, even if he did not take it himself- well, he had to entertain, and the French would have thought America poor or weak were its president dangling his slippers AND eating mountains of collared greens. "Where's the beef" might have been the slogan the British were sneering as they burned the president's mansion down to its plain white walls. Of course, Jefferson also had the sound policy: there's plenty more where that came from. He believed in riding the land hard and moving west. Hey, if we farmed efficiently, there would be plenty of land for Brits, French, Indians, Canadians, and who knows who else. Can't have that. Torch it and shake a leg. Let's waste our way to the Pacific.

So I eat some meat again. A few problems cropped up when I stopped. One is that I got boring. I just started eating the same things all the time. As I was also avoiding out of season produce, this wound up being rice and beans, pasta with red or green sauce, bread, and oats. That is not a very healthy diet, as it is pretty much pure carbohydrate, with limited nutrient profile, and I have begun to branch out again. The other problem was harder to deal with, and it is that people might be okay with vegetarians, but not with sudden vegetarians. It is like coming out of the closet. People start looking back at old memorized scenes and painting you pink in them. They start to wonder: did he really like my turkey at Thanksgiving? No he must have lied! Now I can't trust him! Or: Ooh he's fickle. He might not love me by next Tuesday! This makes them angry. And too, its like losing a team member. They have some inkling that animals are not treated so well, and probably don't consider our "deal": we take care of you, one day, we'll split your head open with an axe: to be a very good one anymore. They would walk out the gate and not come back, but they don't have many options at this point. Well when someone quits their meat eating team, that makes them feel bad. So they get angry for that too. I got either confused looks, or suspicious ones when I said I was trying out vegetarian eating. Had I just been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, this might have been acceptable- I say might, because many men believe they get their fat trucker virility from a mixture of chaw, naked silhouette mudflaps, contact with the steering wheel of a diesel pickup truck, and steaks. The redder the better! These sort would rather die than eat a stem of brocolli. Of course they also drink bad beer, but what few thoughts they have, they do have loudly, and so pass for our culture around here. Also, even carnivores can tell they are getting lower grade flesh these days, and know it is swimming with bacteria, or maybe more accurately, that they are buying bacteria infested with small quantities of particular animals when they buy meat at the market. It is all the same mess of little amoebic monsters, just with a bit of bird or hog to differentiate it. When I quit eating meat, it makes them feel a bit like a sucker. They want everyone to get conned at the same time. Safety in numbers.

The only person who was positive about my experiment was my little work concubine, a vegetarian convert herself, who was getting hazed by her family, pretending to be supportive. The old: Justina, dinner is ready- oh no, whoops, I forgot you don't like drumsticks anymore, I guess you'll just have to eat a can of corn. No time to make something else now, sorry. And according to several co-workers who labeled themselves as "incapable of reading body language", the two of us screamed silently: you're favorite dimly lit vegan restaurant, or mine? Whatever that means. So she might have approved of any experiment I made, even if it were horrible. I say she was my work concubine because that is how people started looking at her, and she being shy, religious, and you know, caring what people think, this bothered her, despite my appeals and best efforts to have her play along with some scandal-mongering. I for my end of things, tried to look smitten around her (a minor effort) and act possessive, and to dress as "old" as I could around her (she was 18 when we started "work-dating"). One lady really took it too far. She sat down at our table o chat and gave Justina an up and down scan and we could both see the wheels in her head say, "huh I wouldn't have taken you for a whore." Really offended the kid. She quit not too long after, probably out of boredom and because she is young and not dead or dreary enough for government work. If you don't need a job, why keep going? Stay in school, and that sort of thing.

I think vegetarian cooking can be delicious, though I need to learn more meal options before I commit to it fully. And I should try it at peak of summer. I think winter is the time for meat. Eating flesh raises body temperature, puts on "insulation", and used to fill in when plants were not available. People often preferred produce and certainly craved it crossing the great plains and shivering through hard winters without furnaces. For example, Lewis and Clarke and company had to subsist on 9-12 pounds of elk and puppy flesh per day at Fort Clatsop. They dreamt of cabbages. I am going to go to Fort Clatsop in one week's time on vacation with the Missus, to bring this up on the tour. I love social terrorism, and Teresa does not believe me that The West's spiritual and symbolic founders were probably homosexual and puppy eaters to boot. "Where did they get the puppies if they didn't have any food anyway" she asks, naively. "Did they bring them along so they could eat them? Why not just bring jerkey instead then?" Well jerkey does not walk on its own legs and cows scare easy, but they actually bought them from the Indians who wouldn't sell the white men any fish or elk or corn because it was scarce and they needed it for themselves, I explain. And also because they hated the whites secretly and liked to tease them about how only cowards and fools ate dogs and failed to pack real food into the wilderness. They rolled their eyes at those poor starving explorers, and patted their bellies while holding their noses over steaming cauldrons of labrador stew while visiting. We'll see what the tour guides have to say to my quotations from the diaries such as "if there is a more delicious steak than one carved off a fresh young puppy, I haven't found it". I may be thrown out. We'll be visiting on Memorial Day.

But social terrorism and vegetarian inklings do not mean I harbor terrorists, as some of you carnivores were probably muttering under your breath while reading this. No, don't tell me. I like to pretend I have an audience, though when I find out I do, I get squeamish. They say Mark Twain was the same way. He also liked to lie through his teeth as a hobby.

1 comment:

ALJ said...

vegelike this blog :)))