Okay. Let’s talk turkey. Or rather, the fact that the bird that will not be appearing on my plate this Thanksgiving. The green bean casserole, potatoes and squash will be there, perhaps looking around, shrugging their shoulders, and checking their watches. Is the turkey late? Held up in traffic, perhaps? Did the turkey forget the gravy and have to go back for it?
There will be no turkey because, well, I haven’t eaten meat since 2002. So let’s get a few things out of the way right up front. I think listing my Frequently Asked Questions should cover it:
Q. Do you mind if I eat meat?
A. Not a bit; that’s between you, your butcher, and your colon. Just don’t order veal if you’re sitting next to me, because I might moo softly whenever you take a bite.
Q. How do you get enough protein?
A. Twigs and bark are remarkably high sources of protein. Also, have I told you of my enduring love affair with all things dairy?
Q. What about iron? How do you avoid a deficiency?
A. I lick skillets and barbells, of course.
Q. What do you eat?
Quite a range of dishes, from sautéed plant stems with cardboard patties on whole-gravel rolls to garlic-infused paper straight from the shredder topped with a light sprinkling of wood shavings and capers.
Yes, I do occasionally whip up a dish that would inspire petitions, “Take Back the Table” rallies, and riots from small children and all of the men in my extended family. Take, for example, the broccoli pancakes and steamed cabbage with mushrooms that I made on Tuesday evening. I confess I made this because I’d been feeling cancer-prone and sluggish, probably due to my sedentary lifestyle, bad attitude, and mindless inhalation of something like 72 miniature chocolate bars during my annual pre-Halloween candy binge. Did J eat the broccoli pancakes? Well, let’s just say that with a little sour cream, salt, and shrill threats, anything’s edible.
Q. Do you still eat fish?
A. Ever since watching The Incredible Mr. Limpet, I can’t. I just can’t.
Seriously. Fish IS meat, Individuals Who Frequently Ask Me This. I do miss it on occasion (specifically, scallops sautéed in butter and garlic), but mostly, I now think of fish fondly—I wish this old friend well, but I don’t want to meet for drinks to catch-up. What do we have in common anymore, really?
Q. Will you eat meat when you’re pregnant?
A. Only if I am repeatedly kicked in the stomach and hear shouts of, “Hey ma! What’s a fetus got to do to get some hot dogs down here?”