Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My summer of meats

I'm not going to defend it, I'm just going to say it: one week ago, I started eating meat again. I thought about it for a long time, and then I did it.* This summer, I plan to eat lots of things I've never had before -- the list is long -- and on Monday I chose non-veg poutine:


I figured if I was going to eat poutine for real, I should go to a place that's been called the best in the city. On Monday afternoon, Bill and I trekked over to La Banquise for plates of poutine classique. (There are 25 variations on the menu, like poutine with smoked meat on top, but I'm going to walk before I run.) And yes, it tasted as good as it looked; in other words, if the photo above looks tasty to you, you'd love it.

* I remember my first big family dinner as a vegetarian -- it was Easter, and I wouldn't eat any turkey, and my dad was annoyed and said it was just a phase. That was a little over 16 years ago. I think I made my point.

44 comments:

LEO said...

Oh, I hope no one criticizes you for chosing to eat meat again - certainly it's your decision and yours alone! Might I recommend The Omnivore's Dilemna by Michael Pollan?

As a side note, I'd love to hear your thoughts on How Sassy Changed My Life if you're inclined to share. I've been wondering about that book!

amanda said...

wow, I didn't even *know* you could get Poutine with meat! And I'm Canadian, go figure.

My sister was a vegetarian for 11 years before she started eating meat again this Spring. She's always been a total foodie and now she keeps saying how she's happy to have the food "spectrum" wide open to her again.

Daphne said...

former veggies untie! haha. I'm so funny, I know. One of the difficulties I had in being vegetarian, honestly, was the label--and the accompanying assumption that I was part of a group of people with certain views. Somehow I don't mind this with regard to being a feminist, in spite of the amazingly different ideas of what the heck that means.

Anyway, one of the reasons I went meat-eating has been to discover what I really like to eat. Smoked meats are generally not to my taste, though I think they might rank above cajun (burned) foods. (Not that I've had "real" cajun, since I've only had it in Seattle.) I like good hamburgers a lot, it turns out!

lyssa said...

congrats on your summer!

and have fun with it - and take it slow.

if you keep it up, great, and if you don't, good on you too.
:)

carolyn said...

you are too cute. i was a vegetarian for two years. i was very, very skinny then. ;) and apparently my parents thought that if i was a vegetarian, that meant i wasn't eating ANYTHING b/c according to them i don't eat vegetables (because acc to them i am exactly the same as when i was 3 yrs old) so my dad sent me a check with "buy some real food" written in the memo line.

PICAdrienne said...

Meat, like anything else, can be a good part of a healthy diet. Moderation, especially after not eating it for many years, is important.

I just can't imagine pork fried rice without meat...

Good luck to you, and do not feel the need to apologize to anyone for your (healthy) choices...unhealthy choices are much harder to defend.

regina said...

I was a vegetarian for many years, and then when i got pregnant i started eating meat again because I knew to listen to what my body was telling me. I don't often eat it these days, but when the craving hits me, I go with it. If anyone criticizes you, tell them to bugger off.

Jackie said...

I'm so dying to try poutine sometime. I've been hearing about it for years, but it's not like it's readily available here.

I'm all for the meat eating.

lyssa said...

That's funny, my vegetarian years started as a bet with my brother. He said I wouldn't last a week...seven years later I started eating some meat again. I was not a very good meal planner in those days, so I got kind of anemic and prone to the vapors...but being a vegetarian was part of my teenage identity.

My husband is a major carnivore. I started eating meat again after we got married, but lately I've been cutting back a lot more. I don't feel like I need to be part of a group or have a label anymore, so I doubt I will ever go back to a full veggie diet.

Jessica said...

That poutine looks so good. There is a place here in Seattle near the Pike Place Market that just started serving it. It's a little upscale and expensive but the cheese curds come from a cheesemaker across the street. Now those are fresh curds.

Damn, I'm hungry.

Jodi said...

I was a vegetarian for 6 years in my teens and early twenties, then started eating meat again. I must admit I had a few digestive issues at first, so be careful. Red meat was the worst; I still don't really eat it.

I quit the vegetarian diet mainly b/c I had trouble with low energy, being cold all the time, and just not going to the trouble of getting enough iron and protein. This was back when it was more challenging to be a vegetarian on a university campus, of course. I don't eat much meat now -- mainly chicken breasts and fish -- but I feel a lot better.

Mandy said...

If you are so inclined, I'd be curious to know why you started eating meat again. I have never been vegetarian, but I'm always interested to know about why people choose to be or not be vegetarian, piscatarian, vegan, etc.

For me, the choice is to buy free range/organic meat and dairy, and when possible, to eat at restaurants that do the same. I don't think I'll ever stop eating meat. We all draw the line in different places, I like to hear about how people decide where to draw it for themselves.

susan said...

Sorry to sound ignorant but what is poutine? I don't think we get that down here at the bottom of the world!

Bonney said...

Yes, please tell us 'southern folk' what poutine is!! It looks a little sketchy but I'm ready to be educated!

chez shoes said...

Welcome back to the fold, from one former vegetarian to another!

I recommend Nina Planck's fabulous book "Real Food" if you ever need justification for choosing to go omnivore. Not that you should ever have to justify this choice, but it's really interesting reading just the same - she addresses the health issues she had as a vegetarian, which are startlingly similar to my own.

Mariko said...

I have never been a vegetarian. Welcome to the carnivore club, Alison. It's nice to have you.

lori z said...

i'm always amazed that people can go so long without eating meat. enjoy your summer of meat!

Kate said...

If you'd like to have lunch with an omnivore and her more or less vegetarian daughter one of these days, we'd love to see you. You were right up the street from me for that Poutine. I'm supposed to take my sister and her boyfriend there when they come. They want to do all the real Montreal things. I guess that's part of it. Smoked meat might have to be on the menu too, though it sounds vile to me.

Romi said...

Oh. My. Gosh. That looks better than cheese fries! (Which is a heady compliment indeed).

gleek said...

hhmmm, i don't think that i could eat meat now even if i wanted to! my body had a lot of trouble digesting it even before i gave it up. fish is a totally different thing though. i have had it once or twice since going veggie and it never backfired on me. strange how our bodies can totally adapt if you just give them time!

Bumbershootska said...

*drool* Real poutine!!! *drool*
There's a restaurant in Ottawa that makes a poutine with onion rings on top - one bite and it's carb city and I'm the mayor!

Protagitron said...

Oh, dear, sweet delicious poutine... tempting me in that photo... calling me back to Montreal...
Curse, you, Alison!
And your food choices are up to you. I hate the religious-like fervour with which people hold views on food, especially when they exclude the delicioess that is classic Quebec poutine. But if you want to go veg again, that's cool too. usn

anne said...

Me, I'm a "recreational vegetarian." I've always eaten meat, but am more likely to have meat substitutes in my fridge. But I would never say no to poutine if I ever had the chance...

djb said...

Well I think it's a disgrace! Imagine all of the little potatoes that were killed to make that poutine. On the other hand, I needn't bother with a salad next time you come over for a barbie...

jennie said...

congrats and welcome back to the meat eating world. There is so much good meat out there... that poutine looks great (um, being american and all, what IS poutine?) :)

goodkarma said...

My husband and I were vegetarians for several years. It was the Korean barbeque that did him in. That Kalbi beef, I swear, he ate pounds of it. :)

Sarah said...

It's all about what's right for you. I've been eating a lot more fish and prawns etc lately, but I think I'll probably cut back again. I just moved to the UK and the variety of veggie food here and the ease of finding it (eg in the supermarket almost EVERYTHING is labelled veggie friendly, even stuff like cheese or oven chips that would have had animal rennet or beef fat in it back home. It's so easy and tasty to be veggie here (who ever thought I'd be praising British food?)

Marie said...

Did you ask to go light on the sauce? Poutine classique is still my favorite probably because I only get it once a year or so. With almost 400 different kinds of cheese here in France, I'm annoyed about not being able to get the squeeky curd poutine cheese. Argh!
So, you're a reborn meat eater... Wow! That's pretty huge. Enjoy!

Thinks too much said...

My bro-in-law was as serious veg, but while living in Japan felt forced to add fish to his diet. We recently visited him in Paris, and in a restaurant I asked him how the veg things was going, just as his meal arrived...an enormous, blue-rare steak. Question answered. But don't worry; Steve and I are eating way less meat, and very little beef as an environmental choice, so be reassured that there's still a net reduction of meat consumption.

Crystal said...

You gotta do what you gotta do. And with a plate of poutine in front of you that looks like that, I think your choice was pretty clear. Good luck with whatever road you end up staying on! Man, I miss poutine *slobbers a little on your blog*

Cindy said...

I've been a veggie for 25 years but last year I drooled every time I made the kids fish fingers so I knew I needed to start eating fish again. At first I had it at every meal, but now maybe twice a week. I think sometimes our bodies will tell us what we need as long as we really listen.
Best wishes, Cindy, UK

Stacey said...

wow! that's a big decision!!! looks like you started with somethign great though!!!

Lolly said...

Your post was very interesting to read - and the comments as well. It always amazes me how food and food choices can spark such conversation and controversy. I have been a vegetarian for 14 years, and I do not feel the desire to eat meat of any kind, including fish; however, I fully respect your decision to do so. My family, including husband, are all meaties, so I am used to it. Like Mandy mentioned above, I would love to hear more about your reasoning/thought process/decision to eat meat again, if you feel like sharing.

Thanks, Alison.

LaurieM said...

Meat in moderation, that's my motto! I've never been a vegan, though I do cook meatless meals for my family 2 or 3 times a month.

It's funny how the vegans can make me feel guilty somehow...

jodi said...

About twelve or so years ago, after being vegetarian for five years I also decided to eat meat again (and did so for a year before quitting meat again, this time for good), but when I first ate meat after the time without it I got very, very sick. I'm sure you know this, but go easy for the first while and start with meats that are easier to digest. My mistake was starting with bacon, and then trying some lamb stew (which I'd never had before). I thought I would die, it hurt so much.

xtina said...

I'm with Laurie M: moderation and balance. The things that are hard for your body to deal with, but tasty as hell - once in a while. Michael Pollan's book is excellent.

From all my Canadian-blog reading, I've gathered that Poutine is french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and covered in gravy. Is this correct?

When I eat out, I eat whatever looks good. Meat, dairy, wheat, what have you. At home I tend to cook almost vegan (more or less macrobiotic) but no wheat and no Big Rules (if I want to use butter I will). I find it challenging in a fun way to incorporate grains and lots of veggies into my cooking. J-La is a major meat eater, so on his cooking nights it's generally meat of some kind, bbq or roasted, which I eat and enjoy, he's a great cook. I can't remember - does Bill eat meat?

Mia said...

It is always your decision. I am going more veg than ever. I have found that my body does not tolerate red meat any longer. I eat just a little bit of chicken or seafood every week. I feel better doing this. Going total veg for me is hard because of my dairy intolerance. But we all have to do what is best for our bodies.

Your poutaine sounds nice. And the important thing is that you are comfortable making the change. And just remember all things in moderation.

Anonymous said...

My mom cried when I wouldn't eat Turkey at my first Veg Thanksgiving 14 years ago. Can you believe that? We laugh about it now. Wishing you the best transition back to meat!

Linda said...

Hubby was veg when I met him, and 'came back' with no comment whatever. Enjoy a little or enjoy a lot--he'd tell you that having one less issue to deal with in life is the real benefit here.

Lindsey said...

I admire your dedication. I don't know if I could last 16 days, let alone 16 years!

Moe said...

Interesting to hear other people's views (delurking. I have you in my bloglines:)

We're sort of in the same boat. We have recently started a more "vegetarian" lifestyle, but I really hate labels and don't think we need to categorized. (I like the term "recreational vegetarian" though, Anne!)

We still eat meat, but we are just doing it in moderation. Our reasons mainly revolve around wanting to support organic/local agriculture, and being more creative with our eating.

I love gravy.

Dr. Steph said...

Funny, I just finished reading My Year of Meats and thought more about cutting back my meat consumption. I will never be vegetarian, but I can see value in eating less.

However that plate of Poutine has put me over the edge. I must come to Quebec soon and have some of the real thing. It just isn't the same in Toronto--there needs to be a French person involved.

Chris said...

I gave up on being vegetarian when I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 10 years ago. So many meat substitutes contain nothing BUT gluten.

Chris said...

Oh, excellent title! Loved that book...