I’ve got to admit that my eating habits are a bit strange. Maybe they started getting that way when my Nana’s Thanksgiving turkey resembled the one from Christmas Vacation (the one that exploded from being over-cooked). My Mom, well, I love her dearly, but she won’t be competing on Top Chef or even Bottom Chef any time soon. We didn’t go out to eat often growing up, so my poor little taste buds maybe never fully developed (that is my story and I’m sticking with it). Pizza, pasta, grinders, baked fish and some typical New England prepared food was what I grew up on.

When I was 12, I became a vegetarian during summer camp. I’m not sure if I really became one to avoid home-cooking or because of my love for animals (or maybe because I was a rebel). Well, 28 years (yes I’m 40 now – ugh) later, I still don’t eat anything that walked on land. Till the day she died, my Nana was waiting for me to outgrow this phase. Sorry Nana, the purple hair is gone, but I still avoid food made from animals. Don’t forget to add in a cadaver class that sealed the vegetarian fate for even longer (looks like chicken). Oh yes, in case you were wondering, I do cook meat and nobody has keeled over of stomach ailments… yet. But, with my cooking disability (still trying to apply for government aid for it), my family is lucky I heat up a freaking fish stick in the oven.

Now that I have firmly planted myself here, in a place where food is such a huge part of the culture, I’ve been having perverted thoughts. Well, not really perverted, just strange for this camper. I’ve actually been thinking about eating meat again. I know nothing in a restaurant will resemble Nana’s turkey or her well-done burned to a crisp steaks. Certainly, living here hasn’t uncovered my missing “cooking” gene (bummer for my family). But I do know that wherever I go to eat, all the food will be incredibly delicious and that I’m am probably missing out on some things my palate has never witnessed. To add to my dilemma, some outside evil force has given me shellfish & wine allergies. *sniff sniff*

To remain a vegetarian or not…that is the question????????

***this post can also be found on NOLA.com

7 Replies to “Confessions of a vegetarian”

  1. Vegetarianism in Louisiana is a tricky thing. My husband and I just “converted”, but were sure to wait until after the last day of Jazz Fest. Our last meat was a wonderful cheeseburger at Port 0 Call on May 4th.
    No veggie burger has the right to call itself a burger (we’ve now tried them all).

    My hubbie is committed…I am calling myself a trial vegemite (I’ve always liked the word vegemite, and am appropriating it to label my new status). I don’t know if I ultimately have the will to resist the steaks, seafood, and other delights South Louisiana has to offer.

    Maybe if you take just a wee little taste of something?

  2. The uniqueness of Louisiana food is not the protein they cook (with the possible exception of crawfish), but the spices they use, so I guess you could cook tofu with the same spices, but I don’t see why you would want to. And since you have developed a shellfish allergy, your protein sources are even more limited.

    Eat meat; maybe you will like it.

  3. I haven’t eaten any furry friends in about 13 years. My six year old just took the complete plunge two weeks ago. The no red meat and pork was hard enough. Her decision not to eat poultry and seafood is killing me! Don’t know how you’ve done it – proud that you have though. Be strong and don’t completely cave – maybe just eat the ugly ones.

  4. Boy Greta, do I take exception to what you wrote about my cooking. When you were younger, probably pre-teen, & still ate at a table together, I cooked everything. It was good. Just hated cooking. Liked baking. Then when everyone went off doing their own thing at different times, yes I let cooking sort of drift by the wayside. I was a good cook when I cooked. Your hubby, my dear son-in-law, may take exception to that statement. He ate the chicken being cooked by me when you lived in Kansas – before it was fully cooked. Really wasn’t trying to kill him, but he probably wished I had that night. Who would consider that a grown person would eat bloody chicken? Think I’m going to become a vegetarian too after that little recall.
    Love, Mom

  5. I’ve been a New Orleans vegetarian for almost 20 years which means I eat dairy, eggs, and seafood. Sometimes it’s hard and I do miss a good roast beef & swiss poboy.

    But so far I’ve never gone back to eating meat, but if I couldn’t eat shellfish I would be sorely tempted too.

    The most important part is that no true New Orleanian would judge you whatever your decision.

  6. I was a vegetarian for 2 decades. Whilst in Rio and under the influence of caiparinias I ate dinner at a Churrascharia. THe meat was brought to the tables on spits, fresh off the flames and sliced onto the plates with razorblade knives, hot, spicy and beyond belief.

    I have been eating meat ever since. (husband John said I’m making up for lost time!)

    O BTW there were two groaning tables of indescribable salads as well so there was no reason beyond indulgence that lead me astray. I am so happy to have lived both sides of the story.

  7. I’m a true omnivore, but here’s something to consider if you’re thinking about eating meat again: If you haven’t had meat in a long time, it’s going to be really tough to digest. Some of my veggie friends learned this the hard way!
    As for New Orleans’ style veggie food – portabello mushrooms and eggplant are both great with creole seasoning.Yum! (Tofu? Blech!)

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