So, as I’ve said earlier in the week, I’m doing this blogging challenge for the month of April called Blogging A to Z and to kick off April 1st, and the letter A, I’m going to blog about my recent turn to Vegetarianism (if I wasn’t obsessed with all things cheese, even the rotting-for-thousands-of-years cheeses, then I would be vegan as well). This is very recent. I gave up meat for Lent, and I’ve been researching meat-eating and vegetarianism for the past month-ish to figure out if this is something I can really do, and it is, and I’ve quit cold turkey.
I’m Catholic, I think I’ve mentioned this before and so I practice Lent (for 40 days and nights leading up to Easter I give something I personally enjoy up). We all know I couldn’t give up books, or Justin Beiber, or obsessing over things that shouldn’t be obsessed over, so I gave up meat. (On a religions side note: Like I’ve said before, you be whatever you want, you believe whatever you want – I think that’s awesome. If you believe in Greek mythology, or Hindu Goddesses, or not eating Pork because you’re Jewish or whatever it is you practice – go on with your bad self, that’s awesome. You’re a person who has an opinion.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…I gave up meat this lent. All meat, because I really only thought I ate chicken (which was wrong, I eat more Pepperoni than most Italian people) and I thought it would be easy. It isn’t. You can’t really eat fast food when you don’t eat meat, but you can lose five pounds from not driving through the McDonald’s on your way to work. Road-trips just aren’t as joyful without that Bojangles Supreme Dinner. You can’t drive and hold a cucumber soaked in ranch, rather than a chicken wrap. My family is from Buffalo, NY and so giving up chicken wings is like an abomination to the family tree. I Thanksgiving won’t be the same without eating the giant bird, or the stuffing shoved inside of its’ peephole. And the most horrible part of not eating meat, no sausage and gravy (if you’re from the South, you know not having biscuits and gravy is like a really bad break-up with a boy you thought was “the epic, fairytale, long travels to kiss you while you’re sleeping under a horrible spell, one.”)
So, you can see, giving up meat isn’t an easy process for me. I love it too, I’m not offensive in my vegetarianism, I’m just making a personal choice. I’ve gotten a lot of mixed reviews on being a vegetarian so far. My publisher told me he started the magazine saying “no vegetarians” and laughed over my meat-free lifestyle. My dad continues to cook chicken every night and does his “Ha! Ha Ha Ha Ha! Ha!” mechanical laugh every time I remind him I don’t eat meat. And all this over some birds, some cows, some, dare I say it, baby lambs.
So here’s where I explain to you my reason for giving up meat. It’s pretty much all do to one book. I think I’ve talked about him before but Jonathan Safran Foer is one of my FAVORITE novelists. I’d tackle him if I ever saw him in an airport. His books are magical, literally there are no other words. It’s like discovering another land that you’ve always been a part of, but all of a sudden you can see the unicorns all around you. So, obviously I’m going to make it my mission to read every book he’s ever written. Usually, I research books before I read them so I don’t get halfway through and hate it and have to push myself through the last quarter mile. However, I trust Safran Foer and so I thought “Eating Animals” was a clever title for some sort of chilling, or terrifying horror tale (not that that’s his style AT ALL).
I feel like I’m that person at your dinner party that can’t get to the end of their story and feeds you these long, boring facts and you’re like “Just come out with it, ugh” in your head. I’m sorry for that.
Eating Animals is actually non-fiction. And it’s about just what it says, Eating Animals. Safran Foer had a son and he wanted to make sure he was feeding his son the best possible diet, and so he began researching animal farms and the way animals are treated, and factory-farming and just meat in general. The results of his findings, letters, late-night scavenger hunts are this book. And unfortunately, after only page 125, I will never again eat meat in my life.
I shouldn’t say unfortunately, I feel like this is a galliant thing I’m doing. I’m the Sorcerer with the stone. I’m like those ProActiv commercials with Katy Perry, when she says, “I have the secret, here’s the secret, take it!”
If you’re at all curious about the recent farming industry, or you’re curious about what you’re putting in your body, or you just want to get all the facts and then argue with me over my decision, you should read Safran Foer’s book. It’s opened my eyes to things I didn’t want to think about even though PETA constantly infiltrates everyone’s life. Just for the record, I never wanted to be one of those people. PETA is good, right? But PETA reminds me of those ignorant preachers that come onto University Campuses and cat call girls wearing short skirts and say “You’re going to hell, slut.” If you want to change someone to become a Christian, calling them a slut…probably isn’t really the way. Will it stay with them? Yes. Will they think about it standing in front of their mirrors the next time they just want to go flail their arms in a too-tight skirt at the club – yes. But will it make them want to love Jesus…no.
Peta is that way with animals. Will throwing cow blood on a woman’s fur coat in Times Square really make her want to give up her meat-eating and meat-wearing ways…probably not. Plus, You can’t blame anyone for not listening to Pam Anderson (their buxom blond spokeswoman). Will reading Safron-Foers book Eating Animals make you want to research more about your meat intake, or possibly only buy free-range animal products? Maybe. So, that’s all I’m asking you to do.
All I’m asking in return from this blog, (and from me giving up the Hibachi Chicken I so love at Japan Express) is for you to just scan Eating Animals and give it a chance. Don’t get offensive. Don’t get angry. Don’t think I’m trying to turn you to the dark side. (Even though any Star Wars reference should make you want to IMMEDIATELY be like me)…Just pick up a book. I ask this all the time in my blogs – for people to read certain books, this one shouldn’t be any different, even if it’s for a some sort of “hippie” cause.
Here’s an excerpt if you really don’t have time to eat, oops, I mean read, the whole thing. (I actually typed that, it’s not just me being SUPER corny).
And here’s the oh-so-valuable NY Times take on the book (for all you pompous assholes and/or crossword puzzle doers out there)