Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Nose to Tail Struggle

Of my close girl friends from high school, I am the only one who eats red meat. One eats everything BUT red meat; one eats fish, but no other meats; and one is a full-on vegetarian. Having dinner with them always makes me laugh.

At the same time, my meals with them also sometimes make me question the fairness of my own meat-eating. Not that I'm about to give it up - never - but occasionally I do feel as though I don't make enough of an effort to appreciate the source of my food. All of the reading I do about food and farming makes me want to eat only those animals that are raised humanely, to go to farms so that I can better appreciate the animal itself, to make the most efficient use of every part of the animal.

And yet...I can't. When it's economically feasible, I do buy meat that's had a happy life. And when Cooper catches fish, I cook it. But I just can't do the nose to tail thing.

It's embarrassing, really, and the source of more than a little guilt. I think of myself as a foodie, but in reality, I'm afraid of so much that there is to eat. I look at tripe in the grocery store and I think, "how cool looking". Then I gag at the thought of actually putting it in my mouth. I watch Anthony Bourdain eat messed up, crazy things and I think "how cool sounding". Just before quickly swallowing back the vomit that rises in my throat at the mere prospect of eating a cobra heart or a porcupine.

But somehow I manage to eat scrapple - I love it.

I doubt I'll ever come to terms with this contradiction. Hopefully I'll at least be able to manage the shadow it's currently casting over my love of food. Because really, do I have to feel guilty about everything? Can't I just confine it to the calories?

2 comments:

Alanna said...

I'm with you here ... there were eight years where I didn't eat meat (which to my mind is actually different than 'being a vegetarian') and fish was the last to go. But coming back, chicken was the last to come back. Anyway, nose to tail, yes, eww. There's an international grocery within walking distance (all countries! owned by a Thai immigrant) and it's always got a whole goat, a tongue the size of a ham, in the freezer section. I sneak past, not looking ...

Charles said...

Kit,

I grew up on scrapple, I love scrapple, my kids now love scrapple. But it's very difficult to find outside the PA-MD-VA region. I lived in CA for 23 years, and we were able to get it for the last 5.
And I'll eat a lot of weird things, but tripe or tongue, nah...

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