The unsuspecting vegetarian


Courtesy: Jorge-11

Easter: a time of vegetarian solidarity. The much dreaded religious holiday is already well underway and to top it off this year, I have my birthday to crown the greatest of all feasts on Easter Sunday. Oh dear.

I have never been one to hang around the lamb on the spit, gradually roasting its way into mouth-watering decadence (for some). As for the liver wrapped in intestine, I unsuspectingly declined plates of this delicacy falsely believing it was rooster, which was offensive enough to my innocent spirit, let alone the vulgar reality of the aforementioned specific body parts. Indeed, Easter has always been out to get me when I least suspected it.

As a kid, I have fond memories of lighting firesparkles, a ritual that required speed and enthusiasm. The end goal was lighting all the firesparkles in the garden. The reward? A soup of intestines, liver and stomach. I slurped unsuspectingly without really understanding what it was I was forcing myself to digest.

Years later, no longer the soup sucker that I was as a kid, I was pretty much against most food on the table, simply because it didn’t agree with my palate. On Saturday night after church, after gathering at an aunt’s house for the traditional soup (thanks, I’ll pass), meat (no, I’m fine thanks) and potatoes (do I have to eat this at 12:30 a..m? Really?) I scanned the dining table for a sign of something barely edible so late in the night. There was hardly anything worth noting: the usual suspects were there, as was the gelatin with private body parts, ears and whatnot floating in a see-through volume of a globe. Then I noticed a plate of spaghetti and eggs, a newcomer and a rather unusual recipe altogether. I hurried to add a serving; given that I was always criticized for the lack of food in my plate, I was more than elated that the spaghetti took up a considerable portion. But of course, there was a catch. As I forked a bunch of spaghetti and egg and raised it to mouth, my uncle across me asked calmly: Since when do you eat intestines? Since, omg I’m going to faint. I barely smiled politely.

That was a close one.

And then here we are now, not so many years later. Am I traumatized? Hell yeah! Every Easter I dread all the food on the table, all the jokes on my eating habits and all that meat that’s trying to make its way into my mouth, one way or another. But this year, , let the whole world rejoice with souvla¬†on my birthday. I will feel happy to mouth a bit of green and a slice of cake — I’ve got my 29th to chew on.

Note: soon something you can chew on. More in coming entries.

On vegetarianism


As a vegetarian, I have lost count on the number of times I have had to answer the question “But why?” What usually follows is a diatribe on why I should reconsider my options. And I am tired of 9 years of having to deal with it. I share my open letter to fellow carnivores here, and dedicate it to vegetarians across the globe.

Dear carnivores,

Ever since my decision to stop eating meat, you have made it your personal mission to make me convert. You sit smugly on the top of the food chain devouring protein after protein, but no, that is not enough. You salivate over chicken breasts, spare ribs, liver and other animal body parts but no, you want me to salivate along with you. So you like meat? I get it! Can you skip along and let me carry on with my salad?

I wonder why it is you feel it necessary to ask me the same persistent questions every time I meet one of you. Oh the shock! Oh the horror, at the revelation that meat is not part of my diet. “Chicken too?” you ask naively. Carvivores, please, know your meats. When you down that KFC, when you wolf those chicken thighs down, do you ever, for a minute, doubt that you’re getting your meaty fix? I didn’t think so! So don’t feign confusion when I tell you chicken counts as meat too. If this slander ever gets out to the chickens, they’ll be hell to pay, I’m sure.

And then the ethics kick in. How did it happen? What went wrong? You look for explanations, expertly bypassing the ones offered to you, and your zeal evaporates by the time the food is served. By then the conversation has come to a close, until you have your plate of cooked meat, bloody and horrific, which you knife and fork hungrily. You briefly ridicule my leafy salad lunch and wonder what kind of weirdo I am. But guess who has more room for dessert? And guess who’ll outlive you, carnivorous fiends? Your cholesterol friend is a sneaky bitch, you’ll see.