Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Apparently this is my fault.

Scott: It's too bad you just ordered that half hog and quarter beef. I don't want to eat meat anymore.


Scott: Two days ago I ate those fajitas with meat, then yesterday I had salad with the leftover fajita meat on top, and now I've eaten just the leftover salad in a tortilla without the meat, and the salad is SO much better than the meat. YOU made me read the food books. YOU've been cooking me veggie meals. I don't even really care about what the books say. It just TASTES so much better not eating meat.

I've seen this coming for a month or so. My first clue was when he had a bbq lunch with a bunch of co-workers a while back. He said they all had huge piles of meat on their plates and looking at what they were eating made him feel queasy. Then, a couple weeks ago I brought him his formerly favorite sandwich -- smoked bbq brisket with coleslaw from Whole Foods. He finished it, but it was a HUGE chore and he did not feel well afterward.

Despite the clues, despite Scott begging me to make shrimp fajitas instead of flank steak, seared ahi instead of New York strips, salmon burgers instead of bison burgers...despite it all, I put down a deposit on a quarter grass-fed beef and a half hog. Both are from small local ranches, both are raised on pasture and both eat what they are supposed to eat instead of just corn and soybeans. Both will be humanely processed and ready for delivery in October, by which time I have a feeling Scott will be a confirmed vegetarian. So, what am I going to do with something like two hundred pounds of meat???

We're about a week away from our veggie month. For the month of August, our family (along with Scott's sister Liz and her husband, Michael) will be going totally veggie. No fish, no meat, no chicken. We will NOT be going vegan, so we will still be eating dairy (mostly raw and organic dairy) and eggs from pastured chickens. This veggie month should give Scott a pretty good idea of whether or not he's really turned into a vegetarian. I think it will be a little tough on the kids, so I may throw some fish in for them here and there. They love tuna salad and fish sticks and salmon. Scott also loves fish, so the veggie month will be a sacrifice for him in at least one way. Plus he won't get to eat Chipotle's carnitas (pork) burritos, which are his favorite. Although, he now says he can't handle eating one more than once every three weeks.

What's crazy about this is that Scott used to be your typical Midwestern meat and potatoes man. When we started dating nine years ago, he ate almost no vegetables...unless you count the sauerkraut he ate on his DAILY Johnsonville pork brats. Or the pickles he put on his pulled pork bbq sandwiches. Or the occasional tub of mayonnaise-saturated potato salad. (Note to Scott's mom...I know this is not your fault. I know he ate veggies straight from the garden when he lived at home, but bachelor life and his George Foreman Grill corrupted him.)

When we started dating I made dinner for him regularly. He ate normal food, not just processed food. And he ate salad. And broccoli. And corn. And he had lots of gas, at least for the first week. He seemed to adapt okay, though, and veggies became a normal part of his diet. But, he still needed meat. And lots of it. Until about three months ago.

We all change, right? I used to watch football religiously and followed the Niners in the off season. I used to watch SportsCenter every day, sometimes multiple times per day. Now I blog instead. And I try to keep my house semi-organized and some of my children's clothes clean. Scott used to drink Keystone. Now he drinks hefty, local brews. He used to try to keep his car clean. Now he tries to keep the toilets clean instead. He used to play football. Now he does pilates. We've changed, we've grown together. Some of the changes have been good, some have taken a little getting used to. This change, this shift to partial vegetarian...I think it's going to take some getting used to.


Michael said...

i think veggie month is going to gear him up for a big huge meat eating fest in October.

if not, you know where you can send it...

we should probably start preparing for this veggie month... we are pretty much gonna wing it.

Michael said...

Liz: I just read Hillary's blog. We're not prepared at all.
Michael: Yeah, I figure August 1st we'll get some lettuce.

Hillary Dickman said...

Okay, first of all, next summer you need to join a CSA. It makes you into a semi-vegetarian whether you wanted to be one or not.

Second, you need to check out World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey from the library. That will get you prepared in an instant.

By the way, Scott does not like the term "vegetarian." In fact when I told him today that he was "becoming a vegetarian" he literally freaked. I think he might have even thrown something at me. He prefers the term "Jeffersonian eater." Apparently Thomas Jefferson preferred to eat his meat as a side dish and veggies as the main course. He says that he learned this about Jefferson from Pollan in In Defense of Food. The thing is, though, Scott doesn't even like meat enough any more to enjoy it as a side dish. Unless it's sausage. He still has a soft spot for sausage, which bodes well for our half hog.

carrie said...

I'm all for your little veggie experiment -- it's great, very commendable! For the last several years or so, I've been essentially a 'Jeffersonian eater'. It's sort of the best of both worlds but most importantly I feel so much more healthy than ever before. And you don't have to miss out on some of the good ol' favorites like turkey at Thanksgiving! All this aside, I think the most surprising things in this entry is that 1) you aren't watching SportsCenter and 2) Scott's doing pilates?! My how the times have changed!!! :)

Hillary Dickman said...

Yeah, I could never give up the Thanksgiving turkey!

I just don't have time in the morning to watch SportsCenter any more, which sort of grieves me, to tell you the truth. But what's sad is, even if I had a TV in the kitchen where I spend most of my mornings, I might end up turning on Good Morning America instead of SC. And I don't get to listen to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio because I'm not in the car early enough nor long enough. Very sad changes.

Pilates is new for Scott. It's one part of the solution to his back problems (spasms around his L5, we've been told), which have been plaguing him for a few years.

Michael said...

i stopped watching sportscenter due to something a friend made me realize. They have just as much product placement as they do sports. Coor's Cold Hard Facts and their 6-pack of questions and their Budweiser hot seat. Once you start to recognize it, Sportscenter and ESPN for that matter is completely ruined for you. I'd rather read yahoo sports and go right to the important stuff.

Kate said...


Are you ordering your meat from Ranch Foods Direct or elsewhere? I'd be curious to know. I've always been interested but have thought it would be too expensive for me.

Hillary Dickman said...

Hi, Kate!

No, we're not ordering from Ranch Foods Direct. I like to be even more closely connected to my meat than RFD allows. Weird, I know.

Our quarter beef is coming from Edmunson Ranch in Walsenburg and our half hog is coming from Socolofsky Farms in Larkspur. You can try out the pork from Socolofsky Farms at Taste of Life Natural Market in Monument. Their website is The Poelstras at Taste of Life sell the Socolofsky's pork, and I think they're the only store where you can get just a cut at a time.

I think with both the pork and the beef, buying it on the hoof cuts the cost of the meat to around $3-$4 per pound. We'll have to pay a bit more to have the ground pork made into sausage, but getting to choose our cuts and choose how our sausage is seasoned makes it worth it to me. Plus, knowing exactly where it comes from, exactly what it's eaten, and exactly how it was slaughtered and processed makes it worth the trouble.

Now, if I could just find chicken that lives up to my very high standards...

dad said...

You can count on me to help get rid of some of that unwanted meat...