I think I might do okay as a vegetarian.
The reason this came up is that my son, Kris, recently announced that he is becoming a vegetarian. He read a book about all of the yucky stuff they put in meat these days. He apparently has not yet read the book about all the yucky stuff they put in vegetables these days.
Kris is very disciplined about things like diet and exercise, so this may, in fact, be a life style change.
So this got me thinking about how I might do as a vegetarian. Well, the first barrier has already been cleared: there are no meat products in a martini. In fact, I could not think of one single alcoholic beverage that contains meat. There might be one that’s made from distilled pig’s knuckles or something. I wouldn’t put it past the Germans to come up with something like that, but I’m not going there anyway.
That critical baseline having been established, I am also good on some of the other staples of my diet: there’s no meat in pretzels, potato chips, pizza, cookies, pasta or cake. Now I know what you vegans are thinking: you have to watch out for your egg products, cheese, shortening, etc. To which I respond, go chew on a twig. Vegans are like Orthodox Vegetarians. I am setting my sights on becoming more like a Reformed Vegetarian.
This brings us to that other staple of the vegetarian diet: beans. I am so cool with beans. I like them baked, refried, sautéed, you name it. I will miss those big chunks of pork fat that come in the canned baked beans, but come on, some sacrifices are necessary. Also, since the invention of Beano, some of the social consequences of over bean indulgence have been mitigated.
Fish and bread are also good in the Reformed lexicon.
So, you are starting to get the picture: you can be a vegetarian without actually having to eat a bona fide vegetable. I think if more guys realized this, more of us would be vegetarians.
I have always viewed vegetables under the best of circumstances as a necessary evil and a way to cleanse the pallet and conscience after downing a pound and half of meat. I can remember as a boy negotiating with my mother exactly how many peas I would need to eat before I would be allowed to leave the table. The agreed upon number was twelve.
Under the worst of circumstances there is broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. I will still stamp my feet and clamp my mouth shut if any of above appears on my plate. I am not alone in this. The first George Bush hated broccoli as well and famously observed: “I am the President of the United States and the most powerful man in the world. I don’t have to eat broccoli if I don’t want to.”
I am thinking of starting my own form of vegetarianism: Reformed Reformed Vegetarian. Under this system it is permissible to eat the flesh of animals that are vegetarians, i.e. grazing and grain fed critters. They have already done the heavy work of converting the unsavory vegetation into tasty protein. Why re-invent the wheel?
Of course, animals that eat the flesh of other animals are off the menu. No more cat burgers or dog chops for me. Tough, but it’s for my own good.