Tuesday, August 19, 2008

an anatomy lesson in progress

In less than a week, I've gone from clinging to the hope that I still have some kind of dietary ideals to a pack of tasty snausages to 70 pounds of meat on my kitchen counter.  That was some slippery slope. 

(It's totally childish and inappropriate, but I love to say, "snausages" instead of "sausages."  It gives you the opportunity to put some serious emphasis on the first syllable.  Because sausage needs emphasis.  It's that good.  And it's been that long for me.)

Even though I would tell strangers I was a vegetarian, I had absolutely no intention of leading them or myself astray.  I ate meat.  I eat meat.  But saying I was a vegetarian was so much easier than the more accurate: "I'm a picky eater."  The list had just gotten too long... fish, deer, elk, any game really.  

And now bison.

Seventy pounds of bison.  Soon to be ninety when the snausage shows up on Saturday at the market.  That's a quarter of a bison if you're wondering.

So now that bison has made the list, I wonder, what can I call myself now?  

Is there a name for someone who won't-eat-commercially-farmed-meat-except-bison-and-some-fish-that's-commercially-farmed-but-wild-is-preferred?  That one's hefty write-in on the wedding RSVP card which says, "chicken or fish?"  And that's one heck of a mouthful to say to your parents when you come home to visit.  And that's one serious way to waste time on a Tuesday morning - why do I care what I'm called?

Because even though they are dangerous, labels are nice.  They're convenient.  They release us from the pressure of constantly having to explain ourselves or constantly having to look at how complex issues really are. 

I suppose it's obvious: meat, for me, is really complex.

Not only is the struggle to find myself a new category to nestle my eating habits into quite complicated, but all these packages are a bit of a mystery to me.  I recognize words like "t-bone" and "steak" (sometimes used on the same package which is delightfully familiar), but there are other words that don't register at all in my mind.  

Roast is a very common word.  Quintessential American fare.  "Honey, we're having roast for dinner!" could come out of any sitcom I watched as a child.  But I'm as unfamiliar with that territory as I am with my new name.  And coming up with a new word to accompany vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc, seems so much easier to me right now.

This should be an exciting winter.  I suspect Emma-Lou will appreciate all the mistakes that are on the way with this growing mound meat in my life.  (Let's hope the Handyman is a good teacher in something besides plant ecology...)  "Fire up the grill, honey!"


Thistlemoon said...

I think there are a lot of people out there like you, I know several in fact, including (most of the time) myself! I have a post about this coming up soon too! Buffalo is awesome! I like saying snausage too! ;)

Anonymous said...

I try to only eat free range "happy" meat... so I hear you. "Locavore" doesn't really cut it. Wildavore? (Sounds like some sort of animal. :P)

We say "tor-till-as" (as in Atilla) around our house... completely wrong, but fun!

I'm looking forward to reading back through your entries and seeing what you post in the future as well!

Anonymous said...

I seriously hope you are going to cook something up and post it here! You are right?

the larsons said...

"I only kill what I can eat!" is what I hear some say. In your case, "I only eat those who had a fighting chance" or "I only eat wild game" might be the best way to put it.

Honestly, it's safe to say you are a meat-eater, period. There is no one I know who will eat ALL meats, so there is no need to qualify. If someone presses you: "You eat MEAT!" you can always qualify.

I eat meat because it's there, I can, it tastes good, and I really don't feel guilty after I eat it - despite hearing all the well-intentioned and well-reasoned arguments as to why I should not. Am I just a lout? Probably.