Since becoming a vegetarian back in January, I haven’t missed meat that much.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely loved a juicy, rare steak every once in a while, but truth be told, it’s been kind of nice.  Well, there was this one time…

My roomie and I decided to enjoy a nice little pre-hurricane Irene lunch at a deserted diner here in the city.  She ordered a B.L.T.  and I ordered a veggie burger, or something way less exciting.  I knew I had a problem on my hands when I started salivating at the sight of that perfect sandwich in her hands.

I’ll say it.  I miss bacon.

I became a vegetarian mostly for health reasons, but after reading Eating Animals, it would be hard to ignore the ethics beneath it.  It was fascinating reading about pigs, and how incredibly intelligent they are.  It was their range of emotions and intense instincts that mostly surprised and intrigued me.  Foer describes the conditions that the pregnant pigs are kept in (which startled me to say the least):

“consider the life of a pregnant sow.  Her incredible fertility is the source of her particular hell… She will invariably be kept pregnant as much as possible, which will prove to be the majority of her life… a sow will spend the sixteen weeks of her pregnancy confined in a ‘gestation crate’ so small that she will not be able to turn around.”

“More serious and pervasive is the suffering caused by boredom and isolation and the thwarting of the sow’s powerful urge to prepare for her coming piglets.  In nature, she would spend much of her time before giving birth foraging and ultimately would build a nest of grass, leaves, or straw… the pregnant pigs, like most all pigs in the industrial systems, must lie or step in their excrement to force it through the slatted floor.  The industry defends such confinement by arguing that is helps control and manage animals better.”

Before getting pushed into these crates for four months, these sows know what they are getting themselves into.  They’re not stupid.  As a result of their powerful instincts, they fight back in avoidance of these crates: “one worker said it’s necessary to ‘beat the shit out of [the pregnant pigs] to get them inside the crates because they don’t want to go.’  Another employee at a different farm described the routine use of rods to beat the sows bloody: ‘One guy smashed a sow’s nose in so bad that she ended up dying of starvation.’ ”

Before reading this book, I had a teensy bit of understanding behind what happened in the slaughter houses.  I most definitely was not aware of (or probably even considered?) how their horrific treatment emotionally, and in turn, physically affected the animals.  I think that these conditions are underestimated, and unfortunately written off as a more radical, “hippie-dippy” point of view on factory farmed meat. I believe one of the reasons this industry does so well is because a lot of us have no idea what is happening behind those slaughterhouse doors.  It would be hard to look at a B.L.T. the same way after reading Foer’s book, but I also think that many people simply just don’t want to know.  They want to have that saliva drool for that delciiiouuussss bacon, and then be able to fulfill that craving.  It was a personal choice for me.

I wasn’t intending to go off on that ethics tangent, but I felt I had to talk about the piggies before showing you what I had for dinner tonight.  Faux-bacon.  I know, I know.  But I wanted that B.LT. gosh darn it!

I usually try to avoid the super-processed, faux meats, but this had the word ORGANIC (the magic word) in the ingredients, so it couldn’t have been that bad for me, right?

I toasted two pieces of Ezekiel bread, along with some sliced tomatoes, and broccoli slaw (I was out of greens), I had my T.L.T. (Tempeh, sort of Lettuce, and Tomato)!  I last minute decided to put a nice spoonful of guacamole on there as well.

The guac addition is optional, dependent on whether or not your father pushes a 19 LB value (!) container of Whole Foods guacamole into your already over-stuffed arms as you’re walking out the door, insisting that he and your mother will not be able to eat it all, while rushing to catch the train back to the city, with the 25 lbs of laundry you just had to bring home to do, because it’s probably cheaper than doing it in the city.  Well worth it.  THANKS DAD!

See?  Without my parents my life would be momentarily guac-less/meaningless.  It’s important to understand and value where we come from, because it has a bigger impact than we think.