I’m not a vegan, but I’ve decided it’s time to play one in public life, as of November 1st. I’ll still eat birds, fish and dairy gladly, but for the most part, only at home.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. The hypocrisy of buying my eggs, vegetables, and even the meat I make into dog food directly from a farmer, and then running out to eat chicken pho for $4.95 or hunting down my favorite taco truck on twitter has finally gotten to me.
As you can see, like any other addict contemplating reform, I’ve been on a bender for the last few weeks. It’s been fabulous: Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican and Ethiopian. I am still hoping to squeeze in some Thai food before it is too late.
While we have a lot of high-end restaurants in Seattle which source locally and organically (and where I can’t afford to eat frequently) and few smaller mid-range priced places that do the same (Elliott Bay Brewing Company, Agua Verde, Blue Moon Burgers, and Baguette Box are some standout examples), these aren’t the places where I spend most of my restaurant budget.
I hate the idea of not supporting family-run, local, ethnic restaurants – and pubs! These are some of my favorite places to eat, and I know they run on very tight margins, and sourcing outside the conventional system just isn’t an option, if they want to keep the doors open. So I am going to keep frequenting these spots, but I’ll be eating lower on the food chain, and with lot less options, since I’d also like to avoid genetically modified soy.
I’m going to be making Buffalo wings at home a lot more often to help cushion this blow for poor K.M. Luckily I already make perfectly respectable chicken pho. What I’ll really miss is all those amazing dim sum seafood dumplings – not to mention lattes, which I’ve only just realized are on the exclusion list.
I hope I can keep this from being another step towards total social exile.
Imagine – you are kind enough to invite me to dinner, and where I once might have said, “I’d love to but I don’t eat red meat – I don’t want you to change your menu for me, so can I bring something?” – which is bad enough. Now, in theory I must demand to know not just what’s on the menu, but where it came from: “Okay, I eat fish, but it has be labeled green by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list, so I can’t have imported swordfish. And are there eggs in that cake? Where did you get them? Did you know that vegetarian-fed probably means the chickens never really got outside to scratch in a normal environment?”
Nope, that’s not going to happen. It’s one thing if you have no choice, if because of food allergies or some other condition your health is on the line. But, since my stance on meat is about my morals and global warming, rather than my health, if I’m in your home, and as my host you push me on it, which actually has happened once or twice, I’ll just eat the damn bacon. I agree with Anthony Bourdain, there’s nothing worse than a graceless guest.
I dread how obnoxious it will sound if I have to explain why I eat birds and fish at home but not in public: “Well, what you are eating is so damaging to our environment and society, that I’ve just decided to opt out, till the system changes.”
Brilliant. Clearly, I’ll be working on that script. Teachable moments are one thing, but I’d like to avoid becoming a preachy pain-in-the-ass. But I’m afraid it may already be too late.