I met a guy in college who told me that he was a vegetarian who eats steak. At the time, it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard and I laughed about it to everyone I knew. (If you're out there dude, I'm sorry. I'm sure you're very intelligent, making lots of money, and laughing at me right now while eating a steak.)
I've been feeling conflicted lately about my whole occasional meat eating philosophy. It's not a question of willpower - I think I have plenty of that. Going vegan for 4 days wasn't bad at all; finding vegan food was the hard part. I do get cravings but they're not overwhelming or unbearable. So what is it that makes me give in so easily? I feel like I've been trying to wean myself off of meat for 3 years now. Will I ever be able to give it up entirely?
Two of the people I've mentioned on my blog may provide some insight into my inner struggle: Jane Goodall and Anthony Bourdain. Two unlikely role models who have inspired me in entirely different ways.
In the battle of good vs. evil, Jane Goodall represents good. She is impossibly good, fighting for world peace, animal rights, the environment... You name the cause she's probably already on it. She seems to live in a fantasy world, or at least one not attainable by mere mortals. For an idealist and an optimist like yours truly, she provides plenty of inspiration. Just reading her books makes me feel like a smarter and better person.
I guess that would make Anthony Bourdain evil then? If Jane Goodall lives in lala land, then Anthony Bourdain most certainly represents reality. At it's very worst and in all its glory. He writes about food, pure and simple. About the realities of cooking and eating that the average diner doesn't think about. It's not all bad - much of it is about the pure pleausre of food - but it's all real. He writes about drugs, sex, violence - basically the self indulgent side of human nature. It's not surprising that they seem to go hand in hand with food. He has such a clearly defined philosophy on food and cooking that I can't help but admire him. (Even though he has some very unpleasant things to say about vegetarians.)
I think I'm pulled in both directions. I see the world and it's problems, and I want to solve them. I want to be a good person and stick to my beliefs, but I'm also scared to take the pleasure out of food. A lot of the vegetarian and even healthy eating resources I read seem to do just that and I'm sick of reading about tofu and nutritional brewer's yeast. There's a reason Food Network doesn't have a single vegetarian show, even though there's plenty of vegetarian's out there. Nobody wants to see Paula Deen cookin' up some seitan.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like I can't call myself a "foodie" and a vegetarian. That somehow by depriving myself of meat I'm placing myself in a category of culinary outcasts who can't fully appreciate the joys of food. All of this leads me to believe that being the "Worst Vegetarian Ever" might not be such a bad thing after all.