Dear Dana: I Feel Your Pain
First of all, if you’re a vegetarian and not reading Dana Treat, you need to start immediately. I recently stumbled upon her blog and have already read almost a year’s worth of posts in the past two days. Her recipes look delicious (definitely going to make some of her Cheddar Crackers some time soon!) and her posts about her life are also interesting and amusing.
Anyway, in my shameless scouring of her blog, I found her post “This Vegetarian’s Dilemma.” To sum up the main points, she’s disappointed in the way that most peoples’ view of vegetarianism is “stuck in the ’70s,” with people assuming we’re all hippies drinking juiced wheat grass and looking down our noses at all the omnis out there (okay, I added that last part, but it’s true!). She also touched on how hard it is to be a vegetarian foodie. There are some great food blogs out there, but it is very difficult to find strictly vegetarian ones. For some reason, people are more excited by bison ragout than vegetarian three bean chili.
What she wrote really resonated with me. As I’ve mentioned, I did maintain a vegetarian lifestyle for a little over a year in high school and ended up eating meat again just to avoid the ridicule and assumptions I got from a lot of my friends. It’s unfortunate that people think just because I choose not to eat meat that I look down upon others who don’t. I don’t care if other people eat meat. I date a guy whose main food groups are chicken fingers, hot dogs and pepperoni. I’m not going to force my opinions and preferences on him. I’m perfectly content grilling his beef burger next to my black bean. As my dad tells people, “I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t eat meat.” For some reason vegetarian has become synonymous with “I’m a hippie jerkface who hates you for eating animals and am going to do everything in my power to make you feel terrible for nomming on that cow between your hamburger buns.”
I think I deviated a bit from what Dana was talking about, but I still really like what she says in that post. There’s nothing wrong with eating a meal without meat in it, even if you are an omnivore. I enjoyed my acorn squash on Thanksgiving just as much as all the turkey eaters in the room. I’m happy with my new lifestyle (take two), and think this time around will be a lot easier than when I was sixteen.
Are any of you vegetarians out there struggling with these problems? Anyone else obsessed with Dana Treat?