March 04, 2014

In Which I Didn't Think I'd Become a Vegetarian

If it has a face, I won't eat it.

No.  Literally.  I was at a wedding a couple months ago, a Tanzanian marrying an American.  As I walked through the buffet line I saw two beady eyes peering at me from around the corner.  They were laying on the table.  It's mouth was half open, frozen.  And there was nothing left of it beyond his neck.  It was Virgil's cousin.  His body was in the large bubbling pot sitting in front of me - stew.  And he was laying there in wait for the presentation of the cake - Goat Cake.  The most prized portion of the goat, and it's eaten. All of it.

No, but really.  It is.

But that's not why we're vegetarians (though that doesn't hurt my case, I'll admit).  I find myself cooking/eating meat, maybe, maybe once a week.  Though it's typically less often than that.  Meat here… well, let me re-phrase that: Quality meat here, is hard to find, and when you do it's not cheap.  Plus it's just easier to go without.  Don't get me wrong, I've bought a slab of beef from the market a time or two, and I get the occasional chicken warm off the butcher block (not even kidding), but more often than not, we opt to skip the meat.

Our menu during the week consists of Tanzanian lunches (dengu, pilau, potato soup with chapati, chicken soup with rice, rice & beans).  Dinner menu is typically American-esque.  Spaghetti (with made-from-scratch sauce loaded with veggies), cheese & veggie quesadillas, stuffed pepper casserole, quiche, baked ziti, homemade pizza, bean and veggie enchiladas with homemade sauce, and the occasional baked potato with veggies, and (on nights like tonight when I don't feel like cooking) a handful of raw peanuts and a piece of toast with a side of carrots. It's just easier.  And more appetizing.  The heat here makes me not want to eat heavy foods like meat, and oddly, I don't really miss meat.

So, I guess I'm not really vegetarian, but I surely never thought I'd be getting all my protein from eggs, nuts and lentils!  I recently asked a student who was returning to America on furlough what the first thing she was going to do would be.  She said, "Go to In & Out!"  And my stomach turned.  The thought of a hamburger has absolutely no appeal to me.  Even a quality one!  The first place I want to go when we get back?  Jason's Deli, Crisp or Panera!  Give me some delicious salad and I'll be in heaven!  :)