I can't believe that 60 days have passed since my last blog post and that Christmas has come and gone! We've had guests galore with days filled with sun, rum and laughter. I am a lucky girl.
I've packed everyone back to the States and finally have time to reflect on my first real period of "challenge" as a vegetarian. I trust that all newbies experience their first walk through the mine field. Here are a couple of anecdotes from mine...
Implosion #1 - We're at a Barbadian Christmas party for my husband's work - the band is awesome, the drinks are flowing and the food is traditional Bajan Christmas fare. My favorite Christmas dish is called jug-jug. It's mashed and baked pigeon peas with lots of spice. It takes a long time to make, hence jug-jug only comes out to play at Christmas time. I'm a patient person.
I make my way through the buffet line, avoiding all of the "proper" pork, flying fish fillets and roasted chicken, while loading up on macaroni pie, sweet potatoes and a walloping dollop of jug-jug. Carbohydrates anyone? I digress.
Later that evening, I meet the son of the woman who made the jug-jug and after heaping praise and thanks all over him for the delicious meal, he says "the secret to my mother's jug-jug is that she boils the peas in pig tails before mashing." Boom goes the dynamite.
Is being a vegetarian like AA? Do I have to change my vegetarian date? I'm choosing not to since A) I don't think it's a logical assumption that a vegetable mash of peas is somehow made with pigtails and B) I didn't know about it before partaking.
Grenade #2 - It's a stormy Barbados day and although it's still 87 degrees, I decide to call it a day of winter. What is better in winter than soup? I've been making my own soups for a few months now and the thought of making a huge pot was overwhelming after a long day at work so I went by "The B" to buy a can of soup to make my life easier.
To my surprise, ALL Progresso "VEGETABLE CLASSICS" soups carried in my grocery store except for ONE are made with pork or chicken. Shocking. Maybe there are a whole other batch of Vegetable Classics that they sell in the States but here... pork filled. It's funny (and yet not) that I assumed they were vegetarian. I will forever flip the cans of soup. It's no wonder that we are addicted to the taste of meat and think we need it - we get it at every turn whether we intend to or not. I left the store "soupless".
(sidebar: looking at Progresso's website, they make 17 Vegetable Classics and only one is listed as vegetarian - why not just use vegetable stock?)
Land Mine #3 - Having guests is my favorite thing - I love to create a little hotel enviro and show off the best that this beautiful little country has to offer. But, with guests comes eating out on the fly. I haven't graduated off the veg training wheels yet so any meals outside of my kitchen present choices at every turn. Gone are the days of ordering "whatever"...
"Are the fries cooked in lard? Do you make your rice with chicken stock? Do you use pork fat in your beans? Good Lord.. do you boil your peas in pig tails?"
I've got four months meat-free and I care deeply about the journey, the knowledge, the process and my choices but I simply cannot become "that person" in a restaurant. Not yet anyway. I'd like people to enjoy having dinner with me - not cringe at the thought. At this stage of the game I can only worry about two things - not eating meat or drinking milk. Period. The rest of the mines will just have to detonate...