News Index > Sortable Oct-Nov 2006 > November 2006
Vegetarianism & Thanksgiving = Scorn

[North County Times - opinion]

Nine years ago, my friend Jennifer, a hard-core vegan and then-co-worker at the North County Times, sent out an in-house e-mail challenging her colleagues to lay off the bird on Thanksgiving.

Judging from people's reactions, you would have thought she burned a flag or personally crucified Christ.

One guy responded with a graphic description of ways he planned to torture the turkey before eventually strangling, eating then rudely digesting it.

It's a tough time of year to be a vegetarian, especially an outspoken one.

My wife, Worm, and I would know, as 15-year vegetarians. OK, I can't technically call myself a vegetarian since, over the years, I've made three or four exceptions for chicken or turkey, usually while visiting friends' parents who have cooked a special meal. No red meat or pig, though. Beef and pork definitely aren't what's for dinner.

It's strange how some people, once they learn that I don't plan to indulge in the ceremonial bird or accompanying meats on Thanksgiving, go on the defensive.

"Do you own any leather products?" a critic will triumphantly sneer, as if the rawhide handle on our 40-year-old chest negates any possible benefits of a vegetarian or low-meat diet.

Or my Bible-toting friends will explain how "the Lord gave us dominion over the animals" and how it "matters not what goes into a man's mouth but what comes out of it"; science friends will argue that our incisors, ideal for slicing a chunk of meat, and molars, perfect for grinding it, make us natural carnivores; and comedian friends will tell me that "if God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat" and that a turkey is just a "fast-moving plant." I've even had a burger-cradling 280-pound oaf, with mystery sauce dripping from his mouth just like in those revolting commercials, taunt me: "Sure you don't want some?"
Despite all of my defenses of vegetarianism, however, I never converted a single soul. So I eventually slunk down off my soapbox (the soap was not tested on animals, by the way), and, these days, I always refuse the temptation to quote from the book "Fast Food Nation" at the dinner table. Holiday meals have gotten a lot easier since I shut the heck up.

In fact, Worm and I have both become so lax that we just purchased a free-range turkey, which we plan to eat. We didn't want to deprive our 19-month-old son of his chance to become a true God-fearing American meat eater. Now if we can only figure out what to do with this dead bird (do we treat it like tofu?) and what to tell our betrayed vegetarian friends, who will soon be all over us with accusatory "Why?"s.

Jennifer's going to strangle me.

-- If you know how to prepare a turkey, e-mail

full story: news/columnists/reeder/18_16_0111_22_06.txt


Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin,