Senior year of college, I decided to hold a pre-Thanksgiving Friendsgiving potluck in the month of October. Perhaps it was out of sheer boredom (my course schedule, which included Stress and Relaxation online, wasn't particularly challenging). Plus, I figured this was the perfect time to practice Turkey preparation for my family's real Thanksgiving feast the following month.
Like most collegiate events of my creation, the idea was executed via Facebook invite, which went something like, "Hey. I'm making a turkey. Yes, really. Bring some stuff(ing), an appetite and friends. This is going to be hilarious/ridiculous."
Truthfully, I never claimed to be a chef. Alternatively, I'm not saying I was a complete stranger to the kitchen. Growing up in household with three siblings, I had baked my fair share of brownies, cookies and pancakes (note: high sugar content, nothing with a pulse). The undertaking of turkey, though, was not within my domestic domain.
Never mind an ingredient list or kitchenware, my wardrobe was set. Apron: check. Cooking Keds: check. Headband to pull back my side-bangs (why did I think bangs were a good idea?) ...check.
After handling my formerly feathered friend and removing what was left of its insides (of course with the help of my loyal and repulsed sous chef), I almost swore off poultry altogether. I may have eaten a bite of bird upon receiving complements from my comrades (thank you, thank you), but I was certainly in no mood to gobble down dinner. (Though I could have very much used a nap or Spot On Energy patch after my Martha Stewart-inspired presentation.)
If the entire ordeal of handling, emptying and spicing a former creature of Earth wasn't going to keep me from consuming farm animals, my Netflix subscription was the icing on the indigestible cake. Food Inc., a very well produced documentary about American-made fare, kept me nauseous for days. I won't go into specifics, but those looking to kick-start a vegan diet will find extra incentive and maybe more than they want to know.
My transition from eating meat to vegetarianism wasn't too harsh -- especially after the first month. I opted for salads rather than cold-cut sandwiches. I found myself eating more veggies (yay!) but also more carbs (boo!) and desserts (don't even ask...). After a year of passing up chicken parm for potatoes, pasta or pizza, I was done.
Perhaps the unpleasant memory of making a meaty meal had faded from my mind, or maybe I missed having more options on my menu. Either way, it was a personal decision to give up meat and an entirely new one when I reintroduced it to my diet.
I don't think one way of eating is better than the other, but I do believe it's something people have to decide for themselves. Today I eat turkey among other animals, but I may give up foods with faces in the future. In the interim, I've resolved to strictly bake buttery bites and sugary sweets, which clearly do not require handling raw meats.