Friday, April 2, 2010

Some Pig

When you don't normally eat four-legged animals, holidays can be a challenge. Thanksgiving aside, Christmas and Easter are a mine-field of roasts, lambs and hams. Believe me, just because we don't eat them any more, they still look mighty good in the pictures.

I just spent an hour on Food Network trying to find a special recipe that everyone will love for our Easter dinner. I came up with a big nothing. There are lots of special things (lobster!) that I would like to eat, but for this one meal it is important to me that the kids are dazzled. In the old days, we would have had ham, some kind of scalloped cheesy potatoes, two veggies, pink salad and a chocolate dessert. A perfectly dazzling, well-rounded, kid approved, colorful meal (with an abundance of scrumptious leftovers).

OK, I am going to say it, I want ham.

The whole thing feels like that scene in The Big Chill:
Michael: I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex.
Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing's more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

I am stumped. I feel like I live in this strange middle ground, constantly re-drawing the dotted line around what we eat and what we don't. Where the inhumane treatment of some animals bother me, but not others. Where the environmental concerns of some plants and animals are more important than others. The health of some foods more current than others. Always new information, new studies, charts and graphs. Doing what I can with what I have...

I can't be the only one who feels this way about food. Maybe because I love it so, because it is important to me, these issues are a real presence in my life. They are a constant companion between the store and our table. I can see my Dad rolling his eyes, "you are taking this too seriously." He is probably right. But then, taking things seriously is part of my nature.

Despite it all, I want ham. I want a pig that was kissed and hugged every day. I want the pig that ate only the best piggish food. A pig that frolicked in grass and wallowed happily in clean mud. A pig that had an untortured piggy life. I want a pig that had a name.

Oh god, I just rationalized eating Wilbur for Easter.


  1. Just checking out your blog, Heather. Good writing on interesting topics! As for the meat thing, you *can* buy meat that wasn't treated inhumanely. In fact, if you do, you are supporting those who "bother" with that approach. Just a thought. Clair

  2. Thanks for posting, Clair! I did end up buying a humanely treated ham. It was great and I didn't feel too badly about it. Kids loved it!
    You have a good point about supporting those practices with my buying dollars. I will have to think more about that!