Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recovered Vegetarianism

For many years I have jokingly said that I am a 'Recovered Vegetarian'.  It's true.  I was a hard core veggie for six years; no animal stock in soups, no rennet in my cheese, no fish, you get the picture.  I became a vegetarian not for reasons of religion or political statement, but because I didn't know where my food came from, and the fact that eating another animal's flesh grossed me out.

Over the past fifteen years I have come out of my meat-free diet for the most part, having eaten the entire Warner Bros. cast; Porky, Daffy, Bugs, Foghorn Leghorn-au-Vin.  I'm a true fan of Steak Frites, Duck Confit is one of my favorites, and I've butchered a whole pig with my own two hands to help make bacon and sausages. 

When it comes to cooking meat in my home, though, I still have issues.  I never really learned how to cook it, I'm not a fan of eating meat off of the bone, I, unlike most, do not like the smell of cooking bacon in my house, and more often than not the portions are too big for my little family of two.  Now that Lorelei's getting bigger (and I'm getting bored of fish and chicken) I feel the need to figure out meat cookery.  I don't intend to go full tilt and start confiting ducks or making racks of lamb (at least in the beginning), but I do want to learn how to make a good steak, braise some pork, and maybe make some lamb chops.

One of the biggest hurdles I can foresee is planning ahead for leftovers and properly storing that which is to be eaten later in the week.  To date, I've been fairly good at using what I've got in the fridge with regards to leftovers, but it's always been half a bird, or a sausage link or two.  Now, I'm expecting to be faced with half of a roast or most of a pork tenderlion and I pray that I won't waste it.

As for feeding Lorelei meat, I have never kept it from her.  When she began to eat solids I fed her paté, bratwurst, meatloaf, chicken, fish, you name it.  I decided to let her decide what she likes and give her whatever I was eating.  (I talk about this in 'Let Them Decide - Ideas About What To Feed Your Kid')  The one thing I do keep from her, however, is fast food meat.  We don't do McD's, BK's, Taco Bells, or Boxes of the Jack variety.  I reluctantly gave her an In N Out burger when we were in California visiting Grandpa and Grannie, but that company's standards of quality are extremely high, so I felt ok about it.

So, here's to cooking meat!  May there be a short learning curve and friends who will help me eat it what I make.  If you have suggestions as to where I should begin, please leave a comment.  It would be much appreciated.


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