So it's fall now. We had our first big September rainstorm, and yep, it's fall. So what do I want--desperately, earnestly, painfully want? Pork, of course. Nothing says fall like bacon, pork chops, pork loin, pork ribs, pork fat in all its glorious, sticky-greasy-irridescent chip wonder. It hit me today, and I wasn't prepared for it. I mean, I nearly my footing in the kitchen.
I should have seen it coming. The last few days have been rough. I was reading a great book by Ruth Reichl (former NYTimes restaurant critic) called "Garlic and Sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise," and it was like 400 pages of the most beautiful food writing you could expose yourself too. At least ten meals included foie gras. And reading it was great, but also really horrible, because I had to remind myself that I have given all that up. I am no longer a gourmet eater. I am a conscientious eater, a healthy eater. I am an eater who weighs *70* pounds less I did when I was a serious gourmet eater-- and 15 less than when I was an amateur gourmet eater.
I have to bring an image of a long-lashed sweet-faced piglet into my mind to shake off the painful need for bacon.
Sometimes being a near-vegan is really hard. There is a certain lack of variety in my food world, because I'm still developing my recipe repertoire. And there is a difference in tastes. I made krautranzas the other day, and they were not the same delicious as the sausage-kraut wonders I created in my previous food life. Tempeh can do wonderful things, but when you are reaching out for the flavors of your childhood, there is so only so far you can go. I try to appreciate these foods as new foods, not replacements, but sometimes, it's hard. Lately, I've cheated a lot. Fiona and I had a milkshake yesterday. It tasted wonderful, with that salty, creamy, sweetness that only cow milk can provide. The most gifted blend of soymilk lacks that quality. Usually, I don't want the high sodium funk of cowmilk. Usually, I prefer rice or soy. But right now, I miss dairy. I miss the splendor of egg whites (although I don't miss the weird dry skin they give me). I miss the easy flexibility of baked goods with eggs. I miss the salty intensity that urea and hormones and enzymes give animal foods. Vegetables are just too damn nice tasting. I want to eat raunchy, damn it!
Is being a vegetarian with vegan intentions worth it? Of course. I feel so much better these days. I don't feel a secret well of guilt boarded up within me any longer. I have more energy. I am more in touch with my spirituality. I can taste and smell things with a newfound clarity. I can pet a cat, and not be completely creeped out by the similarity between a cat's thigh muscles and a chicken's.
I love animals and I love myself. If being a real foodie means giving up those things, then I'm glad I've put that behind me. Best of all, I know I'll never have to look a plate of foie gras and try to forget how it was made.