I donâ€™t know why I took my vegan friend camping with me and my family. Youâ€™d think a vegan would know better than to trek off on a week-long vacation without an endless supply of trail mix or dried edamame, or whatever it is that vegans live off of when theyâ€™re on the road.
What can I say â€“ she seemed open-minded to new things. We both liked spicy Indian food, backpacking through foreign lands and camping in the wilderness.
Little did I know that she wasnâ€™t as open-minded as I thought.
My dad broke a sweat every time it came to cooking up a meal.
â€œDo you want cereal? Potatoes? Is it okay if I put cheese on the eggs â€“ do you eat eggs?â€
She wouldnâ€™t eat a damned thing. Sheâ€™d rather starve than eat horrid, lowly camping food.
“Look at these crackers,” she pointed to the ingredients list. “Contains chicken broth. See, things you don’t even expect contain animal ingredients.”
“Oh,” I said disconcertingly as I nibbled on the crackers that my dad so enthusiastically provided with hummus.
What was I to do? I don’t like consuming meat just as much as the next vegetarian, but this was my dad’s food, and he wanted more than anything for us to have a good time. He glanced over at us sitting by the bowl of crackers and hummus.
“What’s wrong? You don’t like it?” His heart was broken.
The girl could have brought her own food if she didnâ€™t want to torture my family and me with her snobbish remarks regarding our eating habits. Unfortunately, I think thatâ€™s what she enjoyed most about it. She sat high up on that throne of â€œIâ€™m-better-than-you-because-I-love-animals-more.â€
Donâ€™t get me wrong, I greatly respect those upholding veggie diets; they are both healthier and less detrimental to the environment. Still, somehow along the lines the morality and meaning behind meatless meals have been turned into some trendy competition.
So, whoâ€™s better than who? I donâ€™t eat red meat, so I must be better than you. Well, I donâ€™t eat ANY meat, so Iâ€™m better. Well, I donâ€™t eat any meat OR dairy. So?! I donâ€™t eat any meat OR dairy OR anything thatâ€™s not organic OR anything with preservatives. I ONLY EAT RAW VEGETABLES. SO THERE. I WIN.
TouchÃ©, my friend. You donâ€™t get to enjoy any culinary aspects of the worldâ€™s many cultures. You most definitely win.
â€œThe Colbert Reportâ€ recently featured a book called â€œEating Animalsâ€ by Jonathon Safran Foer. During the interview, Foer noted that it would have been okay to eat a hot dog fifty years ago because those farm animals werenâ€™t ridden with antibiotics or forcefully reproduced through artificial insemination. In fact, todayâ€™s farm animals are so deformed that they canâ€™t reproduce sexually, even if they wanted to.
OK, thanks Foer, Iâ€™ll never eat another animal again. Thatâ€™s fine. There are too many people in this country demanding a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner, thus giving way to mass reproduction of meat. Itâ€™s efficient to forcefully feed and breed cows, then fluff up their carcasses with preservatives and chemicals to provide enough patties for McDonaldâ€™s customers everywhere.
By avoiding meat, youâ€™re avoiding many bodily diseases such as cancer and obesity, while at the same time decreasing the demand for torturing all the helpless Bessies in this cruel, hungry world.
But when the time comes to enjoy something cultural, or if a family cooks a meal for you, itâ€™s offensive and snobbish to deny the offer. Basically, nobody is going to shoot you on site for eating an egg or maybe a piece of chicken every now and again.