there was a time in my life that i was a 'veggie,' what we call in north america, a 'vegetarian.' there was no plans of rescuing the planet, cleansing the body or anything serious like that. i was living on a slim budget and figured plant proteins are much cheaper. also took less efforts.
with couple containers of pulses and grains soaking in water, couple blocks of tofu and canned tunas around, i think i did pretty okay. if you have a pressure cooker, cooking those beans and grain take no efforts whatsoever. because you always end up making more than just enough for a meal, you always have leftovers. and grains and beans, unlike soups, pack amazingly well. no leak, usually. can be eaten cold or hot. marvelous. great.
though after awhile, i start to hit concrete and cement, asphalt and hardwood floors with my entire bodyweight. thanks for my inefficient body, i was turning anemic. so even till today, i go back and forth. omnivore. then herbivore. i think i would really like to try to be a stupidvore. that would be cannibalism though i suppose.
anyways, one of the problems i faced as a veggie was that some other veggies just start to make this wonderful assumption that i was doing it with a big, bad-ass moral bandanna over my forehead: 'save a life, eat a plant'. hey, if that's your reason, that's cool. but let me make it clear- i have no moral agenda. it just saves me couple bucks and i just didnt think all that north american meat consumption was necessary.
growing up in korea, we mostly ate lots of vegetables, grain and sea-based proteins: fish, shellfish,t hat kinda things. there was way too many mountains and soil being too acidic for many things, we had no choice but to eat much soy and grain, if that. so the traditional diet is full of herbivore stuff, and even carnivore stuff is always about stretching things out- offal meat soups, bone-marrow soups, stews, etc.
but this moral stance thing really got to me. i remember this one
PETA kid: but cecilia, you surely do this because you are sympathetic for the animals?
me: no, but im very sympathetic towards your parents.
PETA kid: huh (didnt get that)? anyways, it's cruel to eat animals
me: well, how do you know? you talk to them?
PETA kid: they have feelings!
me: how do you know your carrots arent exactly screaming when you chew on them?
PETA kid: they dont have brains!
me: oh, so if it doesnt have a functioning brain as we call it, it's not alive is it?
PETA kid: yes, that's right.
me: well, i guess you will survive famines just fine. there are tons of unconscious people on life support in hospitals you know.
PETA kid: thats not the same!
me: oh?? really??? (give irritated look)
PETA kid: well, they may still be alive-
me: well, so are your carrots. (walk away, turns around, ask for a fag)
well you get the picture. i always thought the best you could do is consume your food thankfully, there is a reason that humans evolved as omnivores (ooh save the evolution argument for a later day please. there's plenty on that am sure), and if you need it (like me, whose hemoglobins become retarded if i stay herbivore for extended time- 2 months at best), dont waste and be gracious. you should always acknowledge something have died for your sustainability, even it be simple as a sprout (which i think is one of the most cruel things to do; you wake up the seed, and give them hope, thinking they will grow into full plants, but... with bit of vinaigrette, goes on the sandwich instead. the teeny young baby plants. ouch.), a carrot, a rabbit (they are rats after all. stop making faces please), or whatevers.
the simple bread you eat is the efforts and life of the sun, plants, farmers and bakers, and so many more inbetween those processes. all there, hard working, honest (have you ever seen a lying plant?). for you to casually toss into the toaster, put some smears, eat while mind-numbed or absent-minded either way. it's difficult thing to quietly sit and enjoy every bite of your food. there's always something- book, people, whatevers. for someone who dislikes to eat byself (me), it is something that requires a serious effort. i do DO it occasionally and then be completely mesmerized about the richness and sacrifices the world have made for me.
it's when you do not have it, then you will start to miss something, wanting it, desiring it, and grow another layer of appreciation for that missing thing. and often it's not just the immediate object that you are missing, but the extrinsic context of that object for you personally. like we all say, the old classics: valentine's day chocolates, mom's _________, christmas pudding, yule logs, easter eggs, christmas ham, thanksgiving turkey, you get the drift.
simple. we face food at least couple times a day. whether it be real sit-down meal or what i really like to do- snack while walking (i have zero clue why i like doing it so much), cooking for self/someone/everyone, buying food, a meal, a snack, a trial-bite, en entire pot, etc. and we make such judgements and form weird ideas on our food- no/yes carb, margarine is better- no, eat butter-it's more natural, sugar bad- no, lets bring sugar back- it's natural, southbeach, atkins, GI food, whatevers whatevers, high fibre, no transfat, this that.
let's see if one can just appreciate what one's about to eat, to nourish- not just calories or numbers. appreciate its presence, its (involuntary) sacrifices. whatever we eat, it was once alive, with feelings- whether human-detectable or not.
damn. i was going to write about things that has feelings though we casually dismiss them as 'objects' all the time, like my mike preamp that just died for no reason during a recording session. a simple reboot saved the day, but really, at times like that, i think machines have feelings and that they are rather vocal about that (i guess back to back underprepped undergrade middle of the ground, well, okay, mediocre recitals would bring at least a hint of annoyance to anyone, anything)- look, the preamp has its lights on and everything- just ... well... no inputs. gawd. what's the point of having a preamp if it's not gonna feed the microphones? ha ha. once again, feeding. funny enough.
but as of always, i am sidetracked.
but with the memory of a simple toast, right now preferred with a bit of butter cinnamon and brown sugar, im going to head home with a sweet anticipation for a great toast.
remembering that my bread, may still have feeling after all.
thanks bro. one day, i will be your supper, just another carbon recycling.
but i do agree, it's lot more fun for me to eat you than have you eat me.