Tuesday, December 01, 2009

31 days to 2010: Eating Animals

As 2010 approaches, my thoughts are moving more and more towards eating better, making better choices when it comes to providing the body with fuel vs satisfying the emotional side to eating.

This is why I am looking forward to Kilax's giveaway of Jonathan Safran Foer's non-fiction book on starting an informed discussion about what is being done in the name of putting food on our tables. Eating Animals Entitled Eating Animals, it's not a call for vegetarianism per se, but seems to nudge folks in that direction. While I wasn't impressed with his works of fiction (read one, saw the movie adaptation of another), I am quietly curious about what he has to say, and how he says it.

For those who have known me over a long period of time, you might recall I used to be a (lenient) vegetarian, sticking to fried noodles or rice with curry-without-chicken, eating eggs and cheese but consuming bits of an actual dead animal once a week or so. This came about from reading Fit for Life: it was extremely impactful to me at that time. I still remember the first time I ate just plain lettuce, and was blown away by how sweet it tasted. Sadly, I drifted away from this under the influence of a partner who complained I was "being difficult". (I've come a long way since then -- that's a topic for another time, if ever. Moving on...)

Parallel to this, I was also known to not eat red meat. Even now, the smell of beef cooking makes me gag. I've just not really liked it. However, I'll not turn down a nice steak. So perhaps a big part of my aversion grew out of the poor quality meat used in local dishes you'd find in stalls, even restaurants. Stringy, fatty, chewy. Ugh. But I'll take beef in the form of burgers (I hear it's Prosperity Burger time back in Malaysia now... waaaaaah!!! That's only like my most favouritest McDonald's burger EVER!!), and here in the US the meat used in "Chinese" dishes like Mongolian Beef or Beijing Beef is usually pretty decent, so my aversion to it has lessened. But still. By default, anything that calls for ground beef, I substitute with ground chicken, turkey, soy crumbles, or a combination thereof.

I'm not sure if I would want to go "all the way" i.e. vegan, seeing as I really like my eggy and cheese breakfasts. At the same time, however, I do not want to be part of a system that feeds cows anything but grass, and bulks chicken up with antibiotics, all to get more and cheaper meats to our table, sans the nutrients that would have been present in "natural" animals.

I have a feeling that Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals will resonate with me - the only real questions are how much, and what I will do after reading it.

I've checked: Eating Animals is available within the Lincoln Library system, so even if I don't win the giveaway, I'll get my hands on it easily enough. But winning is always nice, isn't it? So I'm quietly hoping it's my name that Kim will pull out of the hat on Dec 6th.


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  1. Thank you for the link. I enjoyed reading your history with vegetarianism. I think a lot of people do give up beef because of the quality. I don't really know the difference, but I've been eating out with friends and they've been very unhappy with the quality of meat in their dish at times. Foer talks about how grass-fed cattle always wins tastes tests - but costs so much more. It will be interesting to see how the industry changes.

    I didn't know one of his books was adapted to a movie - interesting!

    Good luck with the contest :)

  2. Thank you for the giveaway! Also, I might not have known about, or bothered with, Foer's Eating Animals if you hadn't brought it up on your blog.

    fyi, the movie I saw was about a young Jewish man going back to former USSR looking for his roots; the book I read had something to do with dealing with life post-9/11. Decent stories, but not impressive.

  3. that's right, we did see his movie:

    Everything is Illuminated
    here is the imdb link.

    the movie was ... interesting, and touching from the Jewish perspective, but nothing to really write home about.


  4. anything with lamb is a very precious find for me. A new recipe to try for a gastronomic indulgence.with so much thanks for the share.


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