It's Not Easy Being Green

I consider comedians to be the philosophers of our time.  They make observations about our society and culture and report them to us in a clever way.  The comedians I enjoy typically make observations that resonate with me on some level.  Sometimes though, I laugh because an observation shines a light on an embarrassing aspect of my life and my reaction is also laughter.  I laugh primarily because the truth of the observation is humorous but also because laughter reduces the awkward and uncomfortable feeling this modern day philosopher has created in me.  Recently I had an important part of my life laid bare by a comedian.  The performer was not judging me or making any call to action to change the way I live but the observation brought real laughter and then has picked at my mind ever since.  

" I decided to go 'veggie' twice a week.  Brutal.  I could only make until about 5 o'clock.  That's what I realized about myself:  Something has to die everyday in order for me to live."

I enjoy eating meat.  I make the effort to be responsible about my meat sources and at TLS, our beef, pork, chicken and eggs all come from local farms.  I believe sourcing responsibly is important and yet the nagging feeling that something in my life has enough hold over me that I can't do without it for an extended period of time really gets to me.  I tend to rationalize my daily animal intake with my need for protein, B12 and other nutrition justifications but the truth is that I really like to eat meat.

So I went vegetarian for a week.  Proud of me?  Well, before you think I'm up on my moral high horse, I had intended to go vegetarian for a month and after 6 days I was so short-tempered, irritable and resentful of vegetables that I only made it a week.  Let me tell you, the eggs and bacon the next morning were glorious.  I think it is important to note that I'm not arguing for or against the morality of eating meat.  My hang-up is having anything in my life that I can't periodically abstain from with a little discipline.  I even do this with coffee.  Every month or so I take a week and skip my morning life-giving liquid.  The weekend headache is brutal but the feeling of discipline at the end is enough of a reward.

I have taken smaller doses of a vegetarian diet and have discovered some great benefits.  Cooking all vegetarian for a day or so is a wonderful way for me to be creative.  I play with ways to prepare dishes and sauces that make all-veggie dishes attractive and palatable.  I have discovered a love for ingredients that I have not included in my regular diet.  I have been pushed to create and enjoy new sources of protein that I would not have tried before (since meat was always handy).  My overall vegetable intake has increased and my meat portions have decreased.  Overall it has been an enjoyable exercise.

In the Dining Hall at TLS, vegetarian cooking will take a special place at the Entree Station.  We will begin celebrating "Meatless Mondays."  Our Kitchen Crew Chefs have been working on some wonderful celebrations of vegetable cooking and I am pleased to share those with you.  Try something new and expand your personal palate.  Don't worry, if you desire a meat protein source everyday for lunch a simple baked preparation will always be available.

The Kitchen Crew will have several food events during September.  Check the online lunch menu and feel free to join is in special culinary celebrations including:

-National BBQ Rib Day
-The Food of Peru
-Potato Celebration
-Special Dessert:  House Made Key Lime Pie

You can follow the Kitchen Crew on Instagram @mildmanneredchef
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