I made red beans and rice for supper again tonight. Except with black beans, which I guess makes it a whole different thing. As I was sitting down to eat, I reflected on how little meat I’ve been eating since moving up to Big Stone County.
I’m turning into a Minnesota vegetarian. Except that, while there’s no flesh in tonight’s dinner dish, I did sauté the veggies in a bit of locally-sourced, lovingly-clarified pig fat, aka lard. But isn’t that the very definition of a Minnesota vegetarian?
Before I am descended upon by the vegan hordes, let me say that I am completely joking. I do know the difference between a vegan, a vegetarian, and a person who thinks chicken stock (but no “actual” chicken) in a soup constitutes “meatless.”
And I remember my vegetarian (salad?) days when well-meaning hostesses served their homemade pie, and I took that first succulent, fruity bite only to detect the presence of meat in the crust.
If you’re Minnesota polite (or in training), you’d better just eat the fruit-meat pie and keep your mouth shut otherwise. Are you the ingrate that’s going to reject grandma’s pie? And don’t tell me she’s not your grandma. That pie is her love, for goodness sake. Eat it.
I have since come to appreciate a meaty crust. Although I would not knowingly prepare a larded dish for a vegetarian or attempt to fool a person into eating something that went against their principles, I am one who believes that it is better to “meat” one’s crust than “shorten” it–and I came to that realization even before we were warned of the dangers of trans-fats.
I’d rather have an honest food–a real food. And while there are plenty of them out there for vegetarians, there are also some rather horrifically-concocted “fake” foods that are on par with the worst the processed world has to offer.
Pastry is not for everyday, alas, nor are French fries crisped in goose fat, doughnuts cooked in lard, or cookies frosted with butter (my grandpa used to do this–two big cookies with a quarter inch of butter in between).
There are so many delightful and healthy dishes whose consumption calls much less for moderation–vegetarian and non-veg alike. I say, if you’re going to have a treat–if you’re going to make the dietary splurge, make it the best-quality most lovingly-endeavored splurge you can possibly think of.
After all, potatoes are in season and there’s about a thousand geese out on that lake. Why bother with frozen reconstituted shoestrings dipped in Crisco?
By the time you shoot, pluck, eviscerate, and roast that goose, pour off the fat; scrub, slice, and fry those potatoes; you’re going to be in absolute heaven eating your incredibly special delicious fries.
And you might even end up losing weight in the process!