I just excused myself from the room so Rich would not see me crying. Today I received the book Forks over Knives; The Plant Based Way to Health and began reading while I enjoyed a dinner of tapas-style spinach and chickpeas over quinoa. I had never considered myself an advocate for animal welfare. My interests in veganism were purely self centered: to look better, feel better, save money and avoid the chronic disease that is the consequence of the standard American diet.
That all changed about ten minutes ago when I turned to the chapter Good for Animals. A mere six pages, it provided me with just enough information to reconsider my dinner plate forever. Unlike the movie by the same title or the many other documentaries chronicling the horrors of the meat industry, the book provides no gruesome images. I'm reminded of the anti-abortion posters with arresting graphics designed to convince young mothers not to kill their unborn children.
Images are powerful.
But tonight the words were enough.
We often hear about the mistreatment of calves raised for veal, but really, who eats veal? Not me. I'm more into the gateway meats, fish and chicken. I had convinced myself that fish are only kind of animals (Don't ask me how I managed to hold that belief; I taught myself biology.) Kind of animals don't have feelings or nervous systems or, well, I guess I just didn't want to think about it. It's easier that way isn't it? To not think about where our food comes from?
Just because it's easy, doesn't mean it's right.
The book describes the problem with fish, "Those who make it to the ship's deck alive are left to suffocate or are cut open. Purse-seine nets are used to catch large fish such as tuna, cod, and haddock, who are fully conscious when their gills are slit and their bodies disemboweled... And the story is worse for farmed fish."
It's so much easier to just plug my ears and shout, "LA LA LA LA!"
But just because it's easy, doesn't mean it's right...
So there's no easy way to transition to the food, but thank goodness it's yummy and vegan.
Lemon and Garlic Roasted Eggplant
adapted from Tyler's Ultimate
zest of one lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
generous pinch sea salt and granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggplants, sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant slices to coat, adding more olive oil if necessary. Nothing soaks up oil like eggplant does.
Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes until browned and bubbling.
Remove to a serving platter and douse with the red wine vinegar. Serve alone or with bread as a delightful appetizer.