It’s kind of funny, the little things I’ve been most concerned with about getting married…
I know that Dan and I have similar philosophies about money, similar goals for life and very similar values. Those things don’t cause me any anxiety.
One thing I am worried about, however, is what I will cook for my husband-to-be. Sure, I have better than average cooking skills, especially compared with most college students. But, there is one food group I am wholly unfamiliar with: meat.
Since getting engaged, I’ve been playing around with making different meat dishes for Dan while making vegetarian dishes for myself. And, I feel it’s important to say that I’m alright with this. I have no problem with the ethics of cooking meat for Dan, I just have a problem with actually knowing how to do it…
To really explain this, I think it would be best to take you back to the beginning of why I decided to become a vegetarian as well as why I am content with other people eating meat.
I was never a big fan of red meat or fish. In the “Book About Me” that I filled out in 1997, I even said that burgers were my least favorite foods. Nonetheless, I was far, far from being a vegetarian for my whole childhood. I ordered chicken fingers every chance I got and the vast majority of meals at my family’s home consisted for chicken and potatoes.
It wasn’t until the summer before I began high school that I started contemplating vegetarianism. While surfing around the web, I happened upon a P.E.T.A. video about unethical treatment of animals. I just couldn’t shake the images…
When I went off to camp the next week, I decided to try out being a “pesco-pollo vegetarian,” meaning I would still eat poultry and fish, but no red meat.
The “experiment” went off without a hitch as camp, but I was still hesitant to tell my parents about it when I returned home. Would they understand? Would they support me? While I was still trying to figure that out, I just avoided red meat at family meals. Instead, I came up with excuses for why I was refusing the meal… It wasn’t until a few weeks into my semi-vegetarianism that I finally told my parents I was done with red meat.
To my pleasure, they were fine with my decision. This is probably because it didn’t make too much of a difference to my diet. As mentioned, I never was big on red meat. So, instead of eating it once or twice a week, I just cut it out all together.
I went about this way for a few years and simply felt better by not eating red meat. To some extent, this was about not feeling “right” with eating red meat. To some extent, this was about believing it was healthier. To some extent, this was just about something I couldn’t explain.
Whatever the reason, sometime during high school, I also decided to cut out fish. I practically never ate it, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
It wasn’t until I moved away to college that I really toyed with the idea of becoming a full vegetarian (no red meat, fish, poultry or “anything that walked”). Whereas chicken dominated the majority of meals at home, my school’s dining hall offered plenty of vegetarian options for me to play around with. I decided to make a resolution: The day after donating blood, I was going to try to go all vegetarian.
One week, two weeks, three weeks… I still had plenty of food options as well as plenty of energy. I just kept going with it.
When two friends and I moved into an apartment sophomore year, we talked about cooking meals together. To make it easier, I said I would probably go back to eating chicken. But, when push came to shove, I just couldn’t do it. I had NO desire to eat meat.
So, I never did. And, chances are, I never will.
This is a personal decision. Because of that, I don’t think it’s right to push it on anyone else. Don’t get me wrong — I am fully, fully supportive and very encouraging of people who decide to choose vegetarianism. I just know it might not be right for everyone.
Personally, I LOVE being a vegetarian, not only because it sets better with my conscience, but also because it pushes me to try new foods, discover different kinds of protein and explore local varieties of food.
Now, as I learn to cook for Dan, my vegetarianism is going to push me in a different way. I’m going to do my best to cook the foods he likes — but you can be sure I’ll still put my healthy spins on them!
Questions: What’s your opinion on vegetarianism? Would you be alright with a spouse who choses a different diet than you?
I means a lot to me that Dan respects my decision to be a vegetarian. At the same time, I respect his decision not to be.