t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.
Serving up Bessie...Thoughts on Being a Solo Vegetarian and Adaptability
The picture above represents a true feat on my part. I assembled these patties myself. That may not sound grand and glorious but it is a far cry from where I was 10 years ago when I got married. I have adapted to accommodate my sweet, meat-eating husband. I now will touch and prepare meat (while wearing surgical gloves).
My Journey to Vegetarianism Begins...
Nearly twenty years ago, while in my tender elementary school years, I had a truly traumatic experience involving prepared meat. With an after school group I attended a Bilmar Turkey Processing Plant in Michigan (where I lived). I have vivid memories of tiptoeing through blood pools, gasping at bins brimming with turkey feet, and cringing as turkey dogs shot out of who-knows-where in long chains. To compound the lasting horror, for some reason, still unclear to me, I volunteered along with my best friend Rachel (we were the only two of the whole bunch to step forward)to enter the slaughter room.
Sqwauking masses of white feathers hung suspended by their feet from a long conveyor belt. The belt crept slowly towards a large metal chamber. Upon reaching the chamber it was explained to us the turkey's received an electrical jolt to stop their hearts. Once outside the chamber a line worker slit the long slender throat, and the turkey moved to a second chamber. It was here, to my horror, the animals were again shocked, to restart their hearts so they would bleed to death. That sealed the deal for me. From that moment forward I swore I would never eat a piece of turkey again. I informed my mother (who was certain I would grow out of it, this too will pass) who has stood by me faithfully all these years. Always willing to accommodate.
Fully Committing to Vegetarianism
The full commitment to living a meat-free life came in my headstrong, environmentally zealous teenage years. In middle-school I was assigned to debate the issue of factory farming. Upon learning of the hormone and antibiotic injected animals, literally stacked on top of each other, I knew I wouldn't eat meat again.
When I got married I tried to avoid all cooking in general, especially meat. Slowly but surely however, I have adapted and learned to cook meat for my family. I don't remember a single moment when I could finally look or touch meat, it just sort of gradually came. When Ellery was little I fed her tofurky and soy milk... only to learn the hormones naturally in soy are as dangerous as the horomones in meat. So now I serve up Bessie.
Serving Up Bessie
Bessie was my Dad's cow. Raised on the Full-Circle Ranch. (3 years ago when my parents moved to Logan they wanted a name for their 9 acre spread. Brent's vote was the Double D Ranch, that didn't fly with my ultra-conservative mother) Bessie wasn't really her name, my mother refused to name the cows, and tried not to look at them peacefully grazing in their pastures. But for all intents and purposes, she was Bessie and she had a wonderful grass-fed life, rumbling around in Cache Valley. Except for the occasional break-outs of she and her two comrades, (cows are amazingly good jumpers, who would have thought) her life was pretty uneventful. Until slaughter day.
But I will happily feed my family Bessie. I know where she lived, how she lived, and what she ate. The same cannot be said of the grocery store meat. With Bessie I at least know my young son will not be developing breasts at a young age. For myself however, I stick with a huge green salad for dinner. No one ever thought of naming broccoli, or shooting it up with steroids, and that is just fine by me.
The Life Lesson
Stick to your guns. I have been mercilessly teased for not eating meat for years. However, it is part of who I am and I stick to it. Sometimes though it is okay to give on things that aren't a part of my value system. So just because I don't like to prepare meat, or eat helpless animals myself, it doesn't compromise anything dear to me to grill a steak for my family. I think that is a true life lesson. Giving where we can and sticking when we should.
Here is a recipe for this fantastic salad you see below you. This is my latest favorite.
Mixed Greens (including fancy lettuce, spinach, and green leaf lettuce (organic of course)
Sometimes I throw in an Apple
Pecans or Walnuts