I have been a vegetarian since May of 2008. Although, to a true, hard-core vegetarian maybe not so much. On rare occasions, I do take what I like to call “veggie vay-cays.” This involves me randomly eating meat, typically for a special occasion or reason. The first time I did it was in May 2009, when my family was in Aruba and we went to the very first established bar there, Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant. This bar was awesome, but didn’t have a single vegetarian item, so I ordered shrimp (which was delicious).
Other vay-cays have been random…I made organic chicken wings one night for my fiancé and tried one. I figured it was organic and naturally raised, why not? I actually didn’t like it at all, it tasted rubbery and I thought to myself, “Yeah, this is not worth it.”
Well, three nights ago I was at my parents house for dinner. As we were eating the conversation turned, as it often does, to me being vegetarian. Let it be known that I do NOT come from a family of Earth-friendly, tofu-eating, herbivores. Oh no, no, no. My dad was a farmer for most of my childhood. We have tractors. We have had pigs and cows in the backyard at various points in time. Well, my dad at dinner was once again questioning my vegetarian existence. I stated that I did it more to be healthy as opposed to “Yay! Save the animals!” I also stated that if I were to eat meat, it would be something that was home-raised and fed naturally. This is where I can insert my foot into my mouth.
I forgot that my dad recently raised a few pigs a little up the road at a neighbor’s house. One had recently….passed on….and there was now an abundance of piggy products in our freezer. He immediately offered a ham that was “home-raised and fed naturally.” Of course, I am a vegetarian and could stick to my convictions and say that everything was hypothetical. BUT I LOVE HAM. It’s my vegetarian Achilles heel. I thought about it and accepted.
My parents came over last night for dinner. I made mashed potatoes and my parents brought the meat. I had what is considered by most to be a small piece, although it is the recommended portion size (“a deck of cards” size). It was glorious. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned and cut like butter. Amazing. I haven’t had ham in quite a while, so perhaps that is why it tasted perfect, but it tasted perfect nonetheless.
All that being said, tomorrow my vegetarian self comes back out to play. Ham vay-cay is over, leftovers will not be consumed by me. They will, however, be stared at and longed for while I reach for the leftover mashed potatoes.