Sorry for my absence and a few missed blog posts. My PC sort of blew out on me. The screen died; it went totally black. Did you ever try writing on a computer where you couldn’t see what you wrote? Yeah, I don’t recommend it.
Anyway, I’m back, and ready to really write what I tried to write on that black PC screen, only now I’m writing it on a beautiful, crystal-clear MacBook Air. Yes, Smoky is a very lucky writer.
I get a lot of questions from people—readers, fans, friends, family—about why I am vegetarian. Scott and I talk briefly about the subject in our book Trails (due out any day now!), but I thought I’d use my blog to expand a bit on the topic, because our reasons are as many as they are diverse. I’m going to take a few days, a few posts, to cover this, so it doesn’t sound like a preachy propaganda campaign.
And it isn’t. I believe choosing a vegetarian diet is a very personal decision. We are what we eat, truly, and just as I abhor it when the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on my front door (usually at dinner time) and try to sell me their faith, I abhor it when vegetarians, or vegans, or gluten-free eaters, start pushing their diets on me as if I’m going to be damned if I don’t follow their way.
As long as I mentioned religion, let’s start there, as reason #1: We are vegetarian for spiritual reasons.
Scott and I believe that all creatures that walk, swim, fly, or crawl on this planet are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are all Her children (or His children, if you prefer). We don’t believe we are any better, any more superior, than the ants and the bears and the cows and the pigs. We are simply different. Because we feel we are all equals, we abstain from eating those who are equal to us.
True, we believe this is true of the plant kingdom, too. And the rocks, and the rivers, and the oceans and deserts and mountains. We believe everything Gaia created to be equal, integral parts of the planet. But when we eat plants, we aren’t killing the plant (at least, not with most plants). We harvest the peaches and beans and tomatoes, but the tree and the vines still grow, still produce more peaches and beans and tomatoes, at least until the end of their lifespans. Then, they die.
What about plants where we do eat the entire plant, in effect, killing it? Plants like spinach and broccoli and lettuce. There are people—fruitarians, mostly—who won’t eat these plants because it ends their life. But most vegetarians like us believe eating this plants to be okay because we harvest them at the end of their natural lifespan. You don’t harvest your spinach, it dies. Same with lettuce, and chard, and broccoli.
Because of this belief, that we are all equal in the eyes of Gaia, we don’t eat anything that ever had a heartbeat or a mother. But there are other reasons as well. One of the big ones is the way meat is raised in this country. I’ll talk about that next week. Meanwhile, I’m going to leave you with one of our more decadent vegetarian recipes, an “I need comfort food” dish that somehow didn’t make it into the recipe section of Trails. Who doesn’t love good Mac ’n Cheese?
Mac ’n Cheese
- 1 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegan butter-like spread
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (use regular if you must)
- 2 cups raw milk (use regular if you can’t buy raw milk where you live)
- ½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, plus a bit for topping
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus a bit for topping OR 2 tablespoons bleu cheese (I prefer bleu; Scott prefers parmesan)
- 2 cups gluten-free elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions (use regular if you must)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat 4 one-cup ramekins with cooking spray or butter. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and stir in cheddar and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in macaroni.
- Transfer to prepared ramekins, and top with additional grated cheddar and parmesan. Bake 20 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.
Serve with World’s Best Brussels Sprouts. But to get that recipe, you’ll have to buy the book!