of meat for a vegetarian
|I became a vegetarian (soft-core; fish okay)
10 years ago. A few months before our trip, I started to convert
slowly back to my old carnivorous ways. There were several
reasons for this:
||1) A big part of experiencing a different culture is trying
their food. In other words, I thought it would be a shame
to miss out on things like Argentinean beef, Turkish kebabs,
New Zealand lamb, and too many other foods to mention.
||2) I married into a big, food-happy Taiwanese family. If
you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding you’ll
understand my point. They’re neither fat nor Greek,
but let's just say that my new aunties don’t quite understand
why I wouldn’t want to eat meat.
||3) Bacon tastes good. (Not surprisingly, this is a common
argument of folks switching back to the dark side.)
Anyways, on with the story. Over the first
half of the trip I've slowly continued to increase my meat intake.
By the time we arrived in South America, I figured I was pretty
much fully converted; I think nothing of gobbling up a hamburger
and I don't wince when pepperoni shows up on the pizza. With some
urging from our visiting friends Jeremy and Hope, I decided I
was ready to brave a traditional and (in)famous type of restaurant
in Brazil called a churrascaria. For those of you that don't know,
a churrascaria is a restaurant that specializes in meat –
all kinds of meat in all types of preparations (slow-roasted,
grilled, spit-fired, salt rubbed, sauteed etc). Sure, it's possible
to get a salad, but really, you shouldn't bother. How it usually
works is that you pay a fixed price and eat until you explode.
But this is no mediocre buffet affair. Guys come around to your
table with freshly cooked meat of all varieties imaginable on
large metal skewers and carve you off a lean slice (or three)
right at your table. The place we chose boasted 19 kinds of meat.
Frankly, I can't even think of 19 kinds of meat, but Jeremy assured
us that he could, so off we went to meat [sic] our doom.
From the moment you sit down, it's on. You
have a little card next to your plate that is green on one side
and red on the other. Leave it green-side up to keep eating and
flip it to red when you've had enough (or just need a break).
Otherwise, they keep coming by and tempting you with juicy-prime-this
or bacon-wrapped-that. For some reason that can only be explained
by something related to Y-chromosomes, Jer and I decided that
we really should try all 19 kinds. Ugh. Just roll me out of here.
Or better yet, remove me in a wheelbarrow, preferably one that
has a drainage mechanism for my meat-sweats. The amount of blood
required by my stomach denied my brain the ability to count past
15, but my companions assured me that we indeed achieved 19. Whoo-hoo.
To celebrate, I think I'll have a carrot.