I have friends who are vegetarians and vegans, and they've got good reasons for their dietary habits — the health benefits, protesting the way meat is manufactured, animal rights in general. While going vegetarian is something that I've always wanted to try, I have to admit that I didn't necessarily have a good reason for wanting to do it. Sure, Babe is cute, but he is also delicious. When thinking about not eating meat, it has always been more about the challenge (like that week I went vegan) than for any one particular reason.
A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking that I should go ahead and give this particular challenge a try. I ultimately decided against starting now, because in order to give it the full three months I had specified in my Life List, that means I'd have to be vegetarian on Thanksgiving. I didn't particularly want to do that. So I put the idea out of my mind with the intention to revisit it after New Year's, when there are less meat-eating holidays in the foreseeable future.
Then yesterday, I was prepping some meat for dinner. I'd found a Crock Pot recipe for cornish game hens, which is something I had never tried. The recipe said that if you wished, you could skin the birds with poultry shears. I don't particularly like skin on my chicken — I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs — so I went to work cutting the skin off the hens.
And as soon as I made that first cut, I started to feel nauseous. Here I was, peeling the skin off a bird that still looked like a bird; it wasn't just breast meat or drumsticks. These things could totally have been alive if they'd had heads or, you know, innards. And I thought, "If I were dead, I really wouldn't want someone peeling off my skin."
I had never had such a visceral reaction to meat before. That nauseated feeling stuck with me for a good while, to the point where I wasn't even sure that I wanted to eat the meal I'd just spent time preparing. For the first time in my entire life, the smell of meat cooking was unappealing. When the birds were done, I took a couple of hesitant bites, and even eating that much was more than I really wanted to consume. I filled up on rice and broccoli, and confessed to Matt that ripping skin off the dead birds had kind of ruined them for me.
So as of today, I'm officially off meat. I haven't decided yet if that includes seafood. I'm also not sure if this will be an only-three-months thing or a permanent thing. I guess we'll see.
I do most of the cooking in our house. Any suggestions as to how to feed a husband that is still a carnivore if you are a vegetarian? What are your favorite meatless meals?
P.S. I'm not preggers. I know someone out there was thinking it.