14 November 2007

The Final Lob

It’s never easy to say goodbye to anyone or anything that has brought joy into your life. The decision to end that relationship or association is difficult and questioning your choice borders on obsession. At the end of the day, you have to go with what’s best for you, no matter how hard that might be.

So, I made the decision to go vegan. Considering I haven’t had red meat in decades, and dairy was reduced to the occasional slice of Brie or random crème brulée, it wasn’t that much further to go vegetarian. With all they pump into poultry, I had been avoiding that for a while. I thought about ditching the fowl but keeping fish in my diet, but with all the crud in the ocean and the grotesque fish farming being done, I realized the futility of that if I wanted to avoid antibiotics, mercury and other muck in my meals. The only thing left before arriving at vegan village was a carton of eggs.

Did you know that “free range” and “cage free” are more or less on the honor system? Did you know that they allow poultry to eat bio-chemically jacked up, not-approved-for-human-consumption grains? And if we really are what we eat, I don’t want to be a genetically modified chicken embryo. But that’s just me.

Since I had already agreed to a Thanksgiving dinner party, I didn’t want to be the “what do we serve her” guest and decided that the day after turkey fest would be my first as a vegan. That also gave me time to say goodbye to some of my favorite foods. Like the crunchy, spicy shrimp rolls at Chaya and my beloved blue-corn-chip-soy-cheese nachos at A Votre Sante (because the soy cheese has casein in it, which is a milk protein, which is non-vegan-friendly). I did not make it to Cynthia’s for her famous fried chicken, or indulge in caviar at Shutters, but I did make lobster, for the first and last time.

I couldn’t really justify the restaurant tab for a lobster tail, so I made my way to the seafood counter at Gelson’s for a nice piece of ass. I don’t care that they are bottom feeders; lobsters are damn yummy. But they aren’t a fruit or veg, or even a whole grain. Alas, my crustaceans days were numbered.

Shellfishly, I opted to have the dinner alone. I wanted to savor each bite, indulge in my gluttony, and cruise through TiVo while I did. I’m really behind on everything. I mocked an old Buffalo Club dish, and poured myself a nice glass of wine to wash it down. And when I was finished, I was done. That was it. The satisfaction of the meal was replaced with ick. At first, I was concerned that I might have poisoned myself. It was my first time cooking tail. Perhaps I made a misstep. But standing over the kitchen sink, wondering if I was going to lurch, I listened to my body and it said she was done. I really just didn’t want meat anymore. I was ready to be rid of it. And that felt good. Now, there was only a turkey standing in my way. And isn’t that always the case?

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