Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Change of Tack, or: I Need Your Advice

I went to a party last night and met a man—the French hostess’s British boyfriend—who had been a vegetarian for the first nineteen years of his life.  “But I just couldn’t justify it anymore,” he told me.  “I wear leather shoes.”

“Do you like the taste of meat now?” I asked him.

“Not really.”  He shrugged.  “My palate’s just changed so much, you know?”

At the moment, I could see his point.  I was gnawing on some Spanish charcuteries the hostess had insisted I try—dry sausage, thinly sliced jamón serrano, bright red chorizo mottled with white fat.  The meats were certainly nice (and went surprisingly well with a vodka tonic), but they tasted mostly...salty.  “Do you like it?” my hostess asked.  I nodded politely, but I felt a little as though I were being left out of an inside joke.

That’s the feeling I’ve gotten each time I’ve tried meat so far:  as though I’m missing out on some vital understanding that comes easily to other people.  Everything—the first escargot, the smoked salmon, the moist slivers of chicken atop the Caesar salad I finally ordered for lunch on Thursday—has been perfectly pleasant.  But, each time, I haven’t been able to stave off the slightly morbid thought, ‘How exactly does the vaguely pleasurable taste of this meat justify the death of an animal?’

It’s not a question I ask facetiously or rhetorically.  I truly want to understand why some people—most people—cannot conceive of giving up meat.

So instead of stumbling around, occasionally ordering random meat-containing dishes based on my own ill-informed ideas of what might taste good, I’m trying a change of tack.  I’m asking you, dear reader, whoever you may be, to give me some advice.  What’s the best non-vegetarian dish you’ve ever tasted?  What kind of meat, in the words of the Anti-Vegetarian Society of Meat Eaters, will someone have to pry from your cold dead hands?  Let me know, via comments or email, anonymously or identified, what you think I should be eating, and I’ll give it a try.

Maybe I’ll find, as the Brit suggested last night, that my palate has changed too much for me ever to appreciate meat.  But maybe—just maybe—I’ll taste something that’ll finally let me in on the joke.


beartoe said...

Pot roast.

Ann said...

Beef tongue. Just kidding. Have you tried prosciutto? Make yourself a prosciutto sandwich with a baguette and a slathering of butter. It will taste more than just "salty."

Anonymous said...

you should come to houston and we'll go to beaver's, a new bbq joint run by monica pope (t'afia woman). i've never been but it's supposed to be awesome. i don't like pot roast (sorry dad). texas bbq. it's claire, by the way.

Anonymous said...

the lomo in argentina is divine.
translated lomo is filet minon.
sliced roast beef on toasted bread with mayonese salt and pepper.
in spain they loved to eat baguettes with some pepperoni-like-meat and cheese, it was so good.

i can't really explain why i cannot conceive of giving up meat. i guess if i tried to imagine being vegetarian i feel i would be missing out on the most essential delicious part of eating food; the juicy meaty delicious taste of slaughtered animals. if god didn't want us to eat meat, why did he make cows so darn tasty -says my friend Lucy Gambrill. this is maddie

vtvegmommy said...

I ate meat for the first 30 years of my live and went veg after the birth of my second child. It has now been about 6 years since I last ate meat from any source. While I have a purely visceral repulsion to meat at this point the thought of a pepperoni pizza still makes me drool. Why??? There have been times when I have almost thrown caution to the wind and grabbed a slice but that same visceral feeling takes over and I see a pig/cow or whatever it is that goes into pepperoni laying on that pizza. . .