My grandma always whispered the word ‘Catholic’ like it was a curse (hell, she might have believed it was one). I often described her as being more Lutheran than Luther himself in some ways, though, in her later years, she started crossing herself after saying grace because she thought it was ‘a nice touch’.
It’s almost Lent time again, and most years, that same grandmother gave up her beloved chocolate for it. When I was a little kid, I thought the idea of giving up something, especially CHOCOLATE, was absolutely ridiculous. What was the point? Did she do it because so much chocolate is eaten on Easter Sunday that she wanted to make the best of it? Sunday School had never brought the subject up, so I didn’t really get it.
But now I do. Chocolate was a luxury, much like meat was back in the day, and as such, giving it up for Lent is appropriate. I am a self-described ‘wussy agnostic’, but I do Lent in my way. I’ve given up booze (successfully), caffeine (not so much), and went on Weight Watchers at this time last year (okay, that’s not really very Lenten).
This year, I’m going vegan for 40 days. I have gone through stages of near-veganism (cheese always drew me back in), but that was many, many years ago. I swung back from there to vegetarian, then mostly vegetarian (eh, tuna and chicken? whatever.), through to bacontarianism, to where I am now, a person who eats meat and fish a few times a week.
But, given the environmental impact of meat consumption (causing deforestation and water shortages and higher dependence on fossil fuels), and my tearing up when I see photos of penned-up pigs or calves being taken from their mothers, I’m doing this to examine my own hypocrisy and detachment from the food cycle.
I also intend to approach this from a whole foods perspective, without relying on strange analogues of non-vegan food (Have you ever had vegan cheese? It’s an abomination, as is store-bought tempeh bacon) as much as possible.
My brother rolled his eyes when I told him, but as he already thinks I’m a weirdo for putting applesauce in oatmeal, his tastes don’t matter. He can throw a hunk of pork into a stew I’ve made for all I care. Obviously, though, this decision will be of some inconvenience to him, and to anyone cooking for, or who wants to go out to dinner with, me. So I apologize if this makes me a (bigger) pain in the ass. We can split a pack of Beau’s to discuss, since it’s vegan too.