Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Food Issues

A couple of people commented after yesterday's post and asked if I was a vegetarian because I said I wouldn't eat ham or turkey.

I am NOT currently a vegetarian, but for nine years (1983 to 1992 - from the age of 15 to 24), I was a vegetarian.

The moral and ethical principles were a part of it, but my primary reason was that I found (and to this day, still find) many meat products to be distasteful... i.e. they don't taste right to me.

The ham and turkey thing started long before I became a vegetarian, so I never really "gave" those up. I never ate them - ever. I'm sure I tried them at some point and decided "Yuck, never again", and that's the way the story goes.

Just the smell of turkey makes me gag.

So, I'm not cooking one. Besides, even a turkey breast would be wasteful in this family. The Evil Twin will eat it, Buddy will eat a small bit, Sissy will eat a smaller bit still and we'd be left with a metric assload of leftovers that would eventually go in the trash.

To save myself of the trouble of all that, I just go to Heavenly Ham, which I believe to be a chain type store, and buy a sufficient quantity to feed the savages and have no leftovers. My normal cheap self must reconcile in my brain that this is for the best. Heavenly Ham is expensive (their Heavenly Turkey is also pricey per pound). But, once a year, it's not going to break the bank.

In addition to not liking ham or turkey, I also don't eat anything on a bone. There are only a few chicken type dishes I like.

I have never eaten: a pork chop, a buffalo wing, lobster, any organ type meat, or duck. I'm also picky about the preparation of meats - to wit: It must be WELL done. Nothing pink, nothing wet, nothing raw.

I agonize while at restaurants and rarely order chicken dishes because I'm positive they'll be under-cooked. I also don't do roast beef unless I am completely convinced by the waitstaff that the roast beef is well cooked and almost devoid of fat.

Oddly enough, the pork products I do like are quite possibly the nastiest around: bacon and sausage. Love the stuff.

When I was a vegetarian, I didn't eat ANY meat. I didn't eat soup made with any meat stock. I didn't even eat fish or seafood. I was what is known as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. That means I would eat products with eggs or dairy (milk or cheese, yogurt), but didn't eat anything with a face.

The funniest thing about being a vegetarian in this area at that time was that it was difficult to find vegetarian products (like soybean or textured vegetable protein), so I pretty much had to be really creative.

Also, I found it amusing that I encountered people who told me to "just pick the pepperonis off" a pizza or would think it was okay that my item was cooked on a surface that had just been used for a meat product.

What was the one food I missed most of all during my nine years of no meat? Tacos. I tried Tofu Tacos, but it just wasn't even close. And I do like tofu. These days, I can easily find TVP (textured vegetable protein) in my grocer's freezer (they're like little crumbled pieces of ground beef, but not actually meat at all) and I bet those would make good tacos.

So, the first thing I had when I decided to walk away from my vegetarianism was a taco from Taco Bell.

I still order vegetarian options at restaurants all the time and I'm quite happy with that. But, there's also nothing wrong with a big old cheeseburger (well done, please) either!


  1. Oh my! How did we become friends? :) We are total opposites. I don't eat anything that didn't walk or swim at some point in it's life. Maybe the bacon bond between us is what makes it possible :)

  2. Oh heavens woman!!! lol i have to have meat!!! and medium rare at that!!! lol!!! but i must say if i have an option of a salad that is totally loaded i will choose that over a steak anyday!!! lol

  3. "A balance of all food types in mass quantity", I always say.
    I cannot think of a food that I won't eat; I'm sure there is something but it escapes me at present.
    As a proud member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) I respect your opinions regarding food, I've seen some very good recipies here!

    I know! It's Paw-Paws that I don't like the taste of, they are horrible. They are OK as a filler in bread or something but terrible when eaten fresh.

  4. Did you ever get sick once you started eating meat again? I have heard that over the years, and was wondering if it was true or not. I like vegetarian dishes, always have, but I am a very happy omnivore!

  5. pleanty wrong with a well done cheeseburger. i'll take mine rare.

    i'm the exact opposite with food. i'll try anything at least once. i'm quick to eat mysterymeat onna stick from a chinatown street vendor, or go to a mexican taco truck in california. adventure hoy!

  6. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian and have been since about the age of 23 or so (before that I had given up meat, but still ate chicken and fish).

    The stuff I miss? Fish, shrimp and crab legs. Other than that, nothing really. And I won't eat those now because of the overfishing problem. I've decided I'm not going to contribute to the problem.

    I have TVP in my cupboard but have no idea what the heck to do with it...mostly because cooking for one person sucks so badly. Grilled cheese is so much easier. ;-)

  7. My husband will Not eat anything on a bone either...isn't that weird. He'll eat a pork chop, steak, chicken as long as it's not on a bone..what's the deal with the bone? I think it gives it more flavor but that's just the fat girl german in me coming out! LOL!
    Personally I've switched to using ground turkey in leiu of ground beef, it is a little healthier and not as hard on my tummy!

  8. My husband will Not eat anything on a bone either...isn't that weird. He'll eat a pork chop, steak, chicken as long as it's not on a bone..what's the deal with the bone? I think it gives it more flavor but that's just the fat girl german in me coming out! LOL!
    Personally I've switched to using ground turkey in leiu of ground beef, it is a little healthier and not as hard on my tummy!

  9. Metric assload! LOL
    Not a big turkey fan but I love me some ham.

  10. Yeah, I need meat...and if its beef..rare. My daughter is not a real meat fan but I think that may have more to do with her take on calories than if it has a face or not ;)

  11. Ron - the bacon bond is stronger than any other force. Stew would agree.

    Sabrae - I know most people like their foods medium or even rare and that's fine, but I just can't do it. I love salads, too!

    Skully - Unfortunately, I'm a mix of a picky eater with food texture issues. I've never had a paw-paw. Curious now...

    Gigi - I went back gradually, so I never got sick. And maybe also the fact I did eat some meats prior to that helped too? Not sure.

    Fattie20xl - I admire folks like you and wish I could be more like that!

    Kathleen - yep, I was mostly cooking for one also, so grilled cheese, mac n cheese - the occasional Morningstar Farms Griller patty... it's challenging.

    Chandra - lots of people think I'm weird for that one. I think for me it's a visual thing, like gnawing something off a carcass that gives me the willies.

    Hacksaw - For me, it's the taste of turkey that's a turn off, but the texture of ham that's a turn off.

    Efen - I don't care about the calories as much as overall taste/smell/texture. I have eaten (and blogged about) the Baconater, so lord knows I don't have calorie issues (except for liquids and that's a different post!)

  12. I love this post and the fearless exposure of your food quirks. It makes me look so much LESS quirky!

    I don't like turkey because I plain don't like it. Ron's deep-fried bird is the only one I thought was edible. Much to my delight - Ron's family is serving prime rib and spiral ham this year. It will be the best Thanksgiving ever. Especially if there is plenty of au jus!

    I have a serious disgust toward any fat or gristle in meat. I trim all the meat I prepare at home extremely carefully, being accused of wasting perfectly good meat because it was next to fat so I had to cut it off. If I eat meat at a restaurant and get fat or gristle I feel like I am going to hurl.

    Never has that led me to the almost criminal thought of abandoning meat altogether, though. ;-) Besides, if I did, what would I eat on a low-carb diet???

  13. Wha?! Prime Rib and Spiral Ham?! My family? Which ones?

  14. "I have never eaten: a pork chop, a buffalo wing, lobster, any organ type meat, or duck. I'm also picky about the preparation of meats - to wit: It must be WELL done. Nothing pink, nothing wet, nothing raw."

    You're dead to me.

  15. I would not have a problem with eating vegetarian... I don't really LOVE meat or anything. (well, maybe bacon).

    But it's so hard to find reasonably proced pre-packaged vegetarian food that I just go ahead and eat the meat.

    For example... I eat soup for lunch every day.

    I could buy $3 cans of fancy vegetarian soup.

    But frankly I'd rather jus pay $1.45 and get a few chunks of chicken in it.

    Plus... vegetarian soup? LOADED with celery. Those vegetarians LOVE the stuff!

    Amy's vegetarian frozen dinners are GREAT! But they are also usually around $5 each. Yeah.. no.

    I do love me some Gardenburgers - especially the sausage!

  16. Susan - you'd be pretty hungry. I relied heavily on carbs during my veggie days (actually, I'm a carb addict... ) :-)

    Ron - different family, dude. Sorry!

    RZ - Awwww. I can't help it though!

    NCP - yep, the cost is what I found so criminal about vegetarian options. It seems awfully expensive (and probably healthier), but people can only buy what they can afford.

  17. I love vegetables, but no way would I give up meat, especially chicken and turkey - my favorites.

  18. mmmmmm....Tacos.....nothing like some artifical meat do get you off the veggie wagon. After my bad burger and bout of food poisioning it will be awhile before I eat meat I didn't cook myself again. Happy Thanksgiving......

  19. Oooh...hmm...yeah, though about it for a sec (being w.o meat) - & NOPE, can't do it...gotta have my meat...preferrably beef! Regardless, Happy Thanksgiving! ;)

  20. While I am definitely a meat-eater, I am with you on the no pink, no fat rule.

  21. I can definitely identify with food quirks - I have MANY of them myself. I am still funny about bones - will always choose boneless over bone-in, however, lately I have been indulging in Wings for some reason. I used to make it a rule never to eat those in public.

    I used to need everything WELL done as well, I've gotten to the point where I can tolerate Med-Well cuz it does have a little more flavor. Now chicken, I can't feel ya on. I LOVE chicken, and have never worried about it being undercooked.

    I HATE Ham and Turkey though. It's always cold after like five minutes. Gimme a non-traditional Lasagna for Thanksgiving any day. I hate thanksgiving anyways though. It's just an excuse for me to get totally wasted, mostly.

  22. I hate it when people say "just pick around the meat" as though you will never taste it. Makes me want to do very wrong things to their food and say "just pick around it". LOL

  23. I've been a vegetarian for twenty three years. Thank the good lord for all the readily available healthy alternatives.

    And TVP does make good tacos. Morningstar Farms crumbles are perfect for them. Lucky even eats them weekly with no complaints. And no e-coli to fear as a bonus!!

  24. love the new look....well do Evil twin. When i had to go on a low fat/cholesterol diet I discovered lots of vegetarian foods. My favorites are morning Star products....and my grandson has found veggie chorizo....delicious. We will do a turkey and a ham and eat leftovers until February.

  25. kenju - I think I would have a hard time now staying away from tacos and bacon, but the rest... meh.

    The Girl - I know what you mean. I make my own meatballs because the frozen ones seem "suspicious" to me.

    TGG - yep, I like beef, too. :-)

    Ginger - I stopped watching the food channel b/c it seemed like all the meat looked undercooked on the shows and it made me queasy! LOL.

    Vinomom - I wonder how people even get enough meat off those little wing things. LOL.

    Honeywine - Maybe then they'd "get it".

    MsPulp - Of course, WV didn't have the MF Crumbles back when I needed them! Rats.

  26. rosemary - I still love the Morningstar Farms products. I love their "sausage" patties and the buffalo chicken bites.

  27. Nearly everywhere ya go nowdays has tasty stuff for folks like us who don't dig meat on a bone.

    I refuse to cook hamburger meat for the people in my house because I can't even stand to look at it.

    I will, however, cook chicken breasts as long as I don't have to touch it with anything but a fork before it's cooked.

  28. Oh yeah, and I *hated* it when people would just tell me to pluck the pepperoni off my pizza...talk about unclear on the concept - to say nothing of the fact that I never liked pepperoni even when I ate meat.

    My "favorite" story about people being oh so accepting of vegetarianism: one year my sister was asking me what I was going to bring for Christmas and gave me a list of items from which to choose, one of which was spinach dip. I said, "I'll bring the spinach dip. Oh wait, Mom doesn't like my spinach dip." Mind you, I make it like everybody else in the world with Knorr's vegetarian whatever...then my sister said, "What? Oh, that's right, our recipe uses beef bouillon." Yes, my family are the only people to use beef bouillon in their spinach dip - and didn't tell me for the first 10 years of my vegetarianism. I, needless to say, threw a fit and my sister's response? "What's the problem? It hasn't killed you, has it?"

    Can you tell why I love Christmas?

  29. Diva - Thank goodness for decent alternatives!

    Kathleen - No way? My mom never told me her dressing was made with turkey stock or some such for years. I eventually figured it out and she would modify it for me. But, still.... R.E.S.P.E.C.T?

  30. I used to love tofu sandwiches from Maxwell's Cafe in Morgantown. They grilled a slice of tofu with soy sauce, then put it in a pita pocket with mayo, cucumber, and sprouts. It's the only way I would ever touch that stuff, but like that it rocks.

    I bought fake chicken in England and that stuff was horrid! I don't know what it was made of but it neither tasted like nor cooked like chicken.

  31. Exactly! My family acts like I'm doing this just to piss them off...you'd think after 20+ years that they'd figure it out. But no. ;-)