I feel like I need to explain something.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a vegetarian. I don’t claim to be one. If anything, I’m a pescetarian. I’m kind of loathe to use any kind of label, but the distinction is important. I don’t know why it’s a hard concept for people to grasp, really — VEGETARIANS DO NOT EAT MEAT. Got that? NO MEAT. Is fish meat? YES. Is chicken meat? YES. There is no such thing as a “vegetarian who eats chicken.” CHICKEN IS MEAT, END OF STORY.
Although I’m not a vegetarian, I almost always prefer to eat vegetables over anything else. I don’t hate meat, but I’ve never felt intense longing for steak or hamburger or sausage or foie gras. I do not watch other people eat meat and yell “I WISH I WAS EATING THAT!” while tears stream down my face. I do not fling myself against the wall when I smell bacon. I know it’s weird but I just really like vegetables.
I always said that when I moved out of my parents’ house at 19 I would stop eating meat and I did. So the vegetarian label stuck even though that was ten years ago and I haven’t been eating exclusively vegetables in a long, long time.
Even if I don’t have any particular fondness for meat, eliminating food groups makes me sad. I love trying new food and there is almost nothing that I actively dislike. So as I’ve gotten older, I just stopped being so militant about enforcing any kind of rules on myself. I still prefer vegetables, and I still don’t choose to eat chicken, beef, pork, and other similarly adorable animals when given the choice. (I will however, eat as much sashimi as I can stuff in my mouth — I blame being Japanese for this.) Whatever it is that people feel about a juicy steak, I feel about raw tuna, perfectly cooked eggplant, taro in every form, and mashed potatoes.
And because life is short, I will eat any kind of meat for a culinary experience. But in my day-to-day life I generally stick to the vegetables. (Did I mention I also LOVE tofu?) For me, there is no point in eating hamburgers when veggie burgers are way more delicious. Adding chicken to my salad does nothing for me. Chili and lasagna? So much better without meat. I like my BLTs without the B. I order my Big Macs and Egg McMuffins without the meat and I think they’re tastier that way.
HOWEVER, there was no way I was going to miss eating Wagyu beef in Japan. And it was amazing. I got a coveted reservation to Momofuku Ko in NYC where they only have one set menu, which of course, includes meat. Was I going to pass up that experience? NO! I’ve tried the BBQ in Austin, devoured skewered anchovy pintxos in Spain, scarfed down escargot and terrine in France, the list goes on. Like I said, life is short, so I’m never going pass on eating something life-changing.
I’m going to China in a couple days and you will find me eating both scorpions and Peking duck. Because I am not a vegetarian. I’m just a girl who likes vegetables.