Monday, February 18, 2008

Fruits & Veggies

We've been having some wonderfully sunny, springlike weather here in the Northwest. Despite having stayed home yesterday due to an unpleasantly pinched nerve that has been sending shooting pains through my neck, the sun makes me happy. Sun is hopeful. Sun makes a person feel like she could accomplish things, if only she were able to turn her head. Sun is so sunny! It makes me look forward to the fresh fruits and berries of summer and my master plan for expanding the garden to include more herbs and a better crop of vegetables than we had last year. Being in the middle of my flirtation with vegetarianism makes the prospect even more exciting.

It has now been a little over two weeks since I last ate any meat. After seeing the stories about the recall of 143 million pounds of beef originating in a California slaughterhouse that is the subject of an animal abuse investigation, I cannot say that I am sorry. This is exactly the sort of thing that has fueled my wondering about giving up meat for a long time now. The experience of exploring vegetarianism has made me a lot more aware of where my food originates. And, if I'm going to be honest, it makes me feel a little hypocritical that the animals in my home are spoiled beyond belief, yet I'm willing to let other animals be killed and (as reading about the evils of Westlake-Hallmark reminds me) even tortured when there are plenty of other less cruel alternative foods.

That is the thing about our food supply. It is pretty easy to stick our heads in the sand and forget where the neat packages in the butcher's section have come from. For those of us who live in cities, we don't give a lot of thought to what our hamburger looked like when it was walking or how it met its demise.

While I admit to enjoying the taste of meat (if I don't think about where it comes from), I can't say that I have really missed it. Of course, it has only been a couple weeks and a person can do almost anything for two weeks, but I have to say that the experience has been extremely satisfying thusfar. One of the most satisfying things has been that no animal has had to give its life to feed me during this time.

When I was younger, my only experience with vegetarians was our hippie neighbors who always seemed to be eating something beige, bland and involving millet and shredded carrots. Their kitchen did not make meatless eating look all the appealing, but the truth is that there are tons of wonderful, flavor filled dishes that do not rely on meat for seasoning. Half the fun of my exploration has been finding new cooking methods and spice combinations. I have discovered that it is not black beans that I do not like, but ill seasoned black beans. Toss in some onion, garlic, ginger, allspice and orange juice and it turns out they not only are pretty tasty on a tostada with avocado and Mexican cheese but they also make excellent filling for mole enchiladas (the combined notes of orange and chocolate kick ass!). Who knew?


Jen said...

I'm sorry about your neck! You should have called me -- the library was closed and I'm in a no Crazy Lady job zone. Does it feel better today?

Glad to hear that your vegetarian test run is working well. Viva Black Beans!

Martina said...

Doh! You're right, I SHOULD have calld. It didn't even dawn on me that anyone would be home. You should have seen my triumphant trip to the drugstore. The route involved only right turns, because that was the only direction I could turn my head. I still don't have full mobility, but it is a lot better. I still can't look over my left shoulder (so any would-be stalkers should stick to menacing me from the rear right, if they want to be noticed), but it's a million times better than it was Monday. Hey! Do you think that being physically unable to turn the other cheek is justification for putting the smackdown on anyone who crosses you? I should look into that before I'm totally healed!

Jen said...

Ow! I am laughing about your only right turns driving, but I know it hurts like a mofo! I always hate that it seems to come out of nowhere, too.

Are you feeling better today? Have you done any righteous "I don't need to turn no stinking cheek" smiting yet?

Martina said...

I DO feel better (not to mentioning innovative in my pioneering work in finding trade routes for the non-ambiturner)! I still can't look over my shoulder with a slight twinge, but I almost have full mobility back. Apparently I am a lazy smiter there was one day when the pain made me kinda cranky, but that was more sniping than smiting.

Chris said...

I used to live with a driving instructor. One day a learner he was teaching ran the car into something, bending the wheel arch. This made it impossible to turn the wheel to the left.

Pete drove back across Bristol making only right turns. Remember that (a) here we drive on the left side of the road, and (b) Bristol is an ancient city with no orthogonal street layouts and lots of one-way systems.

It is astonishing how a human brain can calculate a route in such circumstances. Perhaps even more amazing is that he didn't just call a tow truck.

Martina said...

Even if I don't know Pete, I have to like that about him!