the order of things January 4, 2011

Somewhere around Thanksgiving, a change took root in me. It’s been threatening to grab hold for a long time and in between the obligatory holiday bird and the pigtastic meal (don’t get me wrong – in that moment, it was delicious) at Husk in Charleston, it finally locked on. I went through the motions of eating like everyone else because, well, I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers – no pun intended. It sunk in after I’d settled back in at home and my usual eating habits just didn’t. I’d finally done it. I’d eaten my last bit of meat for a while. I’d finally become some version of a vegetarian.

Those who read this blog regularly are looking around confusedly thinking “You weren’t a vegetarian before? You don’t use a lot of meat on your blog.” You’re right. When left to my own devices…when I cook for only myself and share those things with you on the blog…I cook very little meat. However, in my real everyday life, I live with a carnivore. All of my friends are porkophiles. Being a non-meat eater in these days of the Bacon Expolosion and the All-You-Can-Gawk-At visual pork belly buffets on the internet is hard. It certainly isn’t cool. Most importantly, up until a month ago, the occasional roast chicken or bone-in ribeye was tasty. Quite tasty. I mostly believed in eating animals that were sustainably raised & humanely treated. It was the order of things.

What’s changed is that order doesn’t make sense to me right now.  I feel too strongly about the way poultry and livestock are raised, fed, and slaughtered for food to contribute to the business of it. It’s not for me. Is there really a humane way to kill an animal for food? I’m not sure. Given all that…and when there is so much heartlessness and cruelty in the process…the idea of  being part of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Am I going to be giving away PETA stickers and pamphlets on this blog? No – I’m not so sure they’re helping the cause, either. Do I expect all of my friends to not eat meat around me? Nope – to each their own. Will I always be a vegetarian? I can’t be sure. I do know that until I get the issues sorted out in my head and significant changes to the process occur, I’ll stick to the veggie plate, thanks.

So if this isn’t a call to arms for all the readers of RWT to stop eating meat, why am I posting about it? I guess this post is more about me and my need to say it out loud. To hold myself accountable and let folks know how strongly I feel about it in my own life. Most of you aren’t coming here looking for a recipe for a standing rib roast or lamb prosciutto – there are better blogs out there for that sort of thing. You come here for stories. For soup recipes. For salads and the occasional not-so-disastrous foray into baking. Those things will all still be here…and in larger quantity. I’ll be doing a weekly post as of this Saturday that my loyal readers will absolutely love. There will be more adventurous cooking with vegetables, spices and world cuisines. I’ll still be blabbering on randomly about things that touch my heart. This post is to say that as of January 2011, RWT is officially a vegetarian (with the occasional pescatarian post as i get my diet sorted out) food blog. While not a big change, it’s a big statement and I’m really excited to be on this new path. I can only hope all of you will be supportive and enthusiastic like I am…and I hope more folks will visit for great veggie content. Here’s to a really new year!

Butcher’s Stall with the Flight Into Egypt by Pieter Aertsen -  image information found here.


Comments

Alesya Jan 4, 2011 09:01 am

I think you’ll find your blog will grow greatly and be even more popular now! Sounds like you’ve really figured out who YOU are that will shine through.

PS – So impressed you’ve been to Husk. I live in Charleston and haven’t been there yet. Next time you’re in town let me know!

tami Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Alesya- Thanks so much! The veggie thing isn’t *really* much of a departure from the recipes I share here now. It will be nice, however, to have a more dedicated focus. I, too, have been trying to streamline the process of my blog and find a more defined path…editorial calendar & everything.
We were in Charleston over T-day to spend the holiday with my friend Helen (Tartelette) and Broderick (@savoryexposure) made the reservation before it had officially opened. It’s expensive (and not very veg-friendly) but delicious! :)

The Broke Socialite Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Am not surprised. Need a veggie taste tester? Let me know.

tami Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

I always need veggie tasters. :) *HUGS* Thanks for always being so supportive. xo

Erika at BluLabel Bungalow Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Wow, how timely is this post?! My husband and I were having a similar conversation last night. HE officially converted us to “vegetarianism” as of last night. Ironically, I was already a vegetarian before I married him…

tami Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Wow…it seems like this is a very timely post for a lot of folks. Not sure if it’s the NY resolution chord its struck with people or if more people than I realize are truly worried about where their food comes from and the health & moral effects of eating so much meat. Good luck to you & your fam on the newly revived veggie venture :)

Capella Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

This is exactly how I feel. I have just become a regularly reader of RWT.

tami Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

So glad that this post has resonated with so many people…and I’m so glad you’ll be revisiting RWT. Thanks for the comment and the support!

laura carson miller Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Hi~ I think going ‘mostly vegetarian’, which is how I refer to myself, is a growing trend these days. I don’t eat beef or chicken, but enjoy the occasional bit of bacon on soup or salad. I still eat fish & shrimp. I agree about the raising/slaughtering thing but I wear leather shoes so there are still questions there for me. I look forward to reading more from you in the future & happy 2011.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

LCM – I definitely think it’s a gradual thing for me. I still have leather shoes and such…but my next pair of Dansko clog will be the vegan kind. Making small steps means just as much, ya know?
Thanks so much for the supportive comment & I hope you’ll come back and visit RWT. :)

Shank Jan 4, 2011 10:01 am

Yes! My new favorite food blog! I am a vegetarian (with salmon here and there) and I don’t miss the meat. I did if for personal reasons( I don’t wear any animal product either). I didn’t feel right killing and eating an animal to nourish myself. Also we weren’t made to eat meat. If we were, we would have teeth like lions and tigers (whole nother subject). What you’re doing is great! Vegetarians unite!!

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Thanks so much Shanika – saw your tweet today, too! So glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll continue to do so….and I really appreciate the positive feedback. It’s meant so much today!

Lynn Jan 4, 2011 11:01 am

I will love it, I know it. I consider myself 95% vegetarian and go for weeks without eating meat. I just feel better when I eat vegetarian. So I am looking forward to your upcoming posts. :)

Shanika Jan 4, 2011 11:01 am

Auto correct got the best of me. My name is Shanika not “shank”

Dana Jan 4, 2011 11:01 am

I write a vegetarian blog and I always applaud people for making a change to their own diet without feeling like they need to change those around them. My own husband eats meat but is happy to eat veg at home. I’m excited to have you in “our” camp. :) I’ve always been a fan.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Dana – Thankfully, I tend to cook this way at home so the carnivorous boyfriend isn’t much phased by this…except I haven’t been cooking “meat for him” so he’s been veggie for a few days himself. I’m happy to BE in your camp…and I’m a huge fan of your blog as well :)

The good thing is that even us non-vegetarians will enjoy good veggie recipes, to go along with our meat and fish!
Looking forward to your regular posts.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Thanks Susie! Not much of a huge change from the content here now but definitely done with more purpose! Appreciate the comment!

Jason Riedy Jan 4, 2011 12:01 pm

While I’m thrilled you found a path with which you’re comfortable, please don’t think that all meat eaters willingly support the insane factory production methods. Some of us take a slightly different path. My wife’s processing the last of our current batch of meat chickens right now. (I’m not there thanks to this cold, and alas likely would be at work otherwise. But I join when I can.)

Most of our red meat is hunted or from people we know and trust. Because of relatives, we have easy access to one of the few areas in the US that still permits small-scale cattle processing, SW Virginia. The processing itself legally must be done in ways we are not permitted to watch or participate in, but that’s the only phase we cannot inspect or join. We’re still working on pork. Our ideal is a yearly boar hunt; pigs aren’t native to the US and wild ones destroy habitat.

Fish are difficult. Sourcing reasonable fish is very difficult here. Aquaponics are a possibility, but complicated and relatively high maintenance for now. I miss being able to visit the docks and buy directly from fishers catching wild fish responsibly… But then places I used to fish are now solid green with algae. The oceans and rivers are a mess.

That said, I’m looking forward to your vegetarian fun! We tend to use proper portion sizes of meat, rendering the vegetables the main portion.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Jason – Thank you for the comment about this. I don’t think everyone is supportive of the bizarre factory farming of animals…and I know that many people go to great lengths to support local, humane farms and meat products. I don’t have the resources as close at hand as I would like…and even then…in my head…I’m still not sure if i’m okay with the slaughter of animals for my own diet. We’ll see how it all plays out but I’m glad you brought the points up for others to read about them.

BDR Jan 4, 2011 01:01 pm

With you. I love eating meat. I hate the way it’s raised. So, if I can’t get quality meat from a quality provider, I try not to eat it. Luckily, in semi-rural TN you can get a lot of locally grown/raised stuff. Still not perfect…but, better than before.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

BDR – We have several small farms here in Atlanta and outer areas that have been fairly good about selling at spots in town for sustainable, locally raised meats. I’m just not sure that it’s worth it for me even then…but for those who DO eat meat, I’m thrilled to see those options and to hear that farms are able to support themselves and hire local folks to work them. Like you said…still not perfect but certainly better than the alternative.

Mason Brown Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Kudos! Health first. I look forward to reading about your adventures into veggidom. I’ve got your back if Anthony Bourdain tries to give you shit.

tami Jan 4, 2011 03:01 pm

Thanks, Mason. So appreciate the support here & on Twitter. You would totally kick Bourdain’s ass, I just know it. :)

Amanda Jan 5, 2011 12:01 am

I’m looking forward to seeing what you do for your proteins. I’ve been trying to experiment more with cooking beans from scratch, but have only had moderate success. I’m a carnivore, but I think bacon adds absolutely nothing to a pot of beans. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog.

Suzie Salmon Jan 5, 2011 01:01 am

I really respect your choice, even though I eat meat myself. I don’t think any one diet choice is for everyone, for more reasons other than conscience (eg. allergies, medical, etc). But for those who do eat meat and have commented, I love that more are choosing to be picky and really examine where your food comes from and how it is raised and choose this first over and above the cost of food.
Suzie
@UrbanCntryStyle

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Jan 5, 2011 10:01 am

Although I’m still a carnivore to the core, I certainly support your choice and applaud you for it. Even we dyed-in-the-wool meat eaters “go veggie” on occasion and I look forward what I know will be fabulous options from you, Tami!

Amelia from Z Tasty Life Jan 5, 2011 03:01 pm

Tami: I share many of your feeling about meat… but can’t quite give it up completely. I was a vegetarian once for a whole year…and really missed it. It’s primal, primeval… innate. I do consider myself though a “flexitarian”, whence I eat meat on occasion, and mostly of the kind that is treated well, like grass-fed beef, or slowly dried prosciutto, or organic cage-free farm-raised chicken…and so on. And lots of fish, from where the wild things are. I applaud your mission though! and can’t wait for many vegetable-centered posts. Happy new (vegetarian) year!

Britton Jan 5, 2011 03:01 pm

Fantastic post! I wont be joining you anytime soon, but wonderfully written.

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