Becoming something or someone else almost always means giving up something to get there. And there lies the struggle.
I’ve been reading TC Boyle’s “When the Killing’s Done” for my book club. I’ve skipped past the paragraphs describing the cruelties done to sheep, lambs, chickens and so on. I could barely stomach the images presented by the author. And now I think I can’t stomach eating meat any longer.
Through the years, I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. After all, I don’t crave a good steak, I’m less than enthusiastic about most meats and rarely do I miss having meat as part of a meal. I love beans, tofu, nuts and other protein sources.
But I’m also mad about SAUSAGE.
Sausage. The antipode of a vegetarian’s diet. A PETA member’s bane of existence.
But it is so delectable in its myriad forms and flavors. And grilled? A divinely inspired trip to culinary heaven.
I don’t struggle with the notion of having to eat more beans. I will, however, have to find something that works to combat the gas. Gas-X does NOT work. Beano –cute name, but ineffective. I certainly don’t mind eating more vegetables. They’re an easy and welcome addition to any meal and alongside some whole grains it makes for a nutritious offering. And, tofu? Yes, I very much enjoy tofu. So unassuming, it never loudly announces itself at a meal. It is only the accompanying sauces that make the fuss.
But give up sausage?! Sausage, the object of my desire. Sausage: Gatsby’s Daisy, Caesar’s Cleopatra, Pepe Le Peu’s neighborhood of cats, Rhett’s Scarlet, Charlie Brown’s Little Red-Haired Girl. This won’t be easy.
You could describe for me all the unsettling, vile and creepy stuff that goes into the making of a sausage and I would still sit down to a meal of lovely grilled knockwurst. I would scarf up a rosemary-laced artisan chicken tube steak. I would gobble up a kielbasa. I’d be hot for a hotdog. Just don’t show me any photos.
And I’ve tried tofu sausage. Ha! The two words are as linked as Paula Abdul and sobriety, as Rush Limbaugh and subtlety.
And even if I become a vegetarian, do I force my lifestyle on my dogs as well? Can they survive on a vegetarian diet of tofu and beans? Believe me, my Boston Terriers are gassy enough on a fiber-deprived good day, but after a meal of kibble and pinto beans? But remember: dry dog food does contain some meat—meat byproducts, that is, similar to what I suppose goes into a sausage. So, of course I Googled “vegetarian diet for dogs” and found this:
While this is a personal matter that each pet owner must decide for himself or herself, consideration also should be given to the ethical issue of feeding an animal a diet that is against its nature… eliminating all animal products from the diets of dogs and cats to meet one’s personal philosophy, regardless how well intentioned, may not be the correct choice if it potentially compromises the health of the pet itself.
And then, this:
Dogs would benefit in health and temperament worldwide…Such a diet would also greatly reduce the risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks and other common diseases and disorders.”
Michael W. Fox, DVM
Not exactly illuminating the answer for me, are they?
Not wanting to impose my philosophy on my dogs at the risk of their health is of immediate concern. So is preparing my vegetarian meal alongside their nonvegetarian one. Hovering over their doggie bowls while they munch on chicken and bits of steak won’t be a pretty sight.
Oh, if it weren’t for sausage…
Right now, the freezer contains a various assortment of meat products, including a few packs of sausage. I can either serve the meat to my dogs, take the packages next door to my nonvegetarian sister and husband, or work my way through them, awash in guilt and shame.
I am at a crossroads of a diet dilemma. The meat supply remains on tenterhooks, pondering their fate.