I did not make it the full week as a vegetarian.
I did, however, make it into the fifth 24-hour stretch. (I phrase it that way because I consider my official start of vegetarian life to be 5 p.m. on Tuesday night.) I cracked at about 8 p.m. on Friday night. I’ll let you guys do the math, but I managed to make it over four full days without eating any meat.
SO…what made me crack? What broke my streak?
Culture and company.
You see, I came home from college this weekend to celebrate my nephew’s third birthday, do some laundry, and catch up with family. I knew it’d be difficult to be around my voracious meat-eating family and abstain, and this weekend was honestly the reason I doubted I could make it a week.
It boiled down to my nephews birthday party. It’s January, and we live in northern Illinois. My brother grilled out. Hot dogs. All-beef. On the grill. In a bun. With ketchup. Someone pointed out to me that it was ironic that my breaking point was hit over a hot dog, and not some gourmet steak or fancy dinner. Nope, just a beef frank on a bun with ketchup, surrounded by other people enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers. I will tell you this, though:
That was the best hot dog I have ever eaten. It even beat Wrigley Field ballpark hot dogs.
So, people are attached to food more than we can imagine. Not only do we need to be more conscious of the people who work to prepare our food all across the levels of the food system; we need to be conscious of the company with which we enjoy it. How does the culture around us make decisions easier…or harder…to make? People are intrinsic to food. Culture and company.
So, as I return in defeat to the world of the omnivorous, I laugh. It wasn’t a steak or a gourmet meal that beat me; it was a hot dog, and the meat-eating culture I was raised around. So, there’s some food for thought.