Who Dat? The Perennial Plate Vegetarian

Mirra Fine - Blog

Hello. I will be the token vegetarian on this journey. Im also the cameraman. Yeah, I know what youre thinking, either: a) I hate vegetarians,  b) Im a vegetarian and hate this one because she is on this show, or c) This girl sounds amazing, I cant wait to hear more about her. So, lets start with c (which im guessing is where the majority fell):  Im small, tire easily, and have been told that I like the idea of food more than the actual meal — which isnt true. My food choices are simply misunderstood.

Whatever, so I like spaghettios and pop tarts. For a long time, to me true art was the way Kraft’s delicate powdered cheese coated so beautifully the ridges of the spiral macaroni; the way coke bubbles glistened as the brown liquid gold filled my icy glass;  The way costco soft pretzels’ perfectly browned crust opened up to the soft, pillowy heaven within — only to be engulfed in the miracle that is microwaved cheese sauce.

I looked upon vegetables with disgust — their mere presence irritated me. Paper plates were my gateway to all things processed and reheated (which was a lot). Dinner was relatively anything that could be added to pasta, or that came from a box. And my favorite accoutrement was a green container of Kraft parmesan cheese. (yes, Kraft was a theme here.)

I was blissfully happy, ate and wasted with abandon and kept my eyes neatly on what was easy to see.

Then I met Daniel Klein, and he ruined my life.
A year ago, I unwittingly became a part of The Perennial Plate when Daniel (A rugged, bearded, 20-something with yearly outfit changes) asked me to “just hold the camera for a second” as he pranced and twirled around in front of it.  I shifted the camera’s focus and from then on my eyes became fixated on everything I had been ignoring.

The change in me happened immediately…with Episode One. Daniel bought a live turkey from a local farmer, and was planning to take him home and eventually kill and process him for thanksgiving. Though I ate meat at the time, I cried bloody murder for Daniel”s plan of murdering an innocent, delicate animal. With one swift move, he had my accusatory finger pointing turned directly at myself — how could I get upset with him for killing an animal in a humane way, when i bought horribly “raised” and disgustingly slaughtered factory farmed meat? Touché. From that point on, I became a staunch (though I still shave my legs) vegetarian… as did my sister. We decided, if we arent able to kill it, or watch it being killed (note: I still havent watched that video… or any of the other episodes focused on slaughtering), we shouldnt be eating it. Each episode of The Perennial Plate helps me to be more and more confident with my decision. I no longer feel that any meal is worth taking one’s life.

So where does that leave me? Well I hate vegetables and nuts. So, this has been a very important learning and growing period. It has included a lot of involuntary gagging, but Im slowly starting to build a relationship with those disgusting little buggers. For example, I now really like cauliflower. But I heard anything white doesnt count. So it’s very touch and go.

I wont lie, I still conceal dr. pepper cans in undisclosed locations, and get a soft pretzel at any opportunity. (And, if we’re gonna be completely honest, i just blew through 8 boxes of thin mints…and am freaking out, because I know that I only have until the end of March to buy more). But Im aware of what Im eating, my eyes are open and Im excited to learn more about the land in which we live… and what good, real food can come from it.  Im feeling positive about this road trip. And although Daniel has said he would be upset if we stop at an olive garden on the road, it’s my car… so thems the breaks.

Lastly, some of you may be thinking: how can a self-respecting vegetarian work for The Perennial Plate — a murderous, blood-lined, animal snuff film? First, that description is not accurate. And secondly, I feel that being a part of this project is one of the most important things I can do in light of what I believe. Im helping to show what eating meat is really about — it’s taking a life… which I dont take lightly. And hopefully, this will make people more responsible for their actions and their food choices.


12 responses to “Who Dat? The Perennial Plate Vegetarian”

  1. Brandon says:

    Mirra, your wit and humor are awesome. I can’t wait for the battles between you and the chef battling it out over the next 6 months.

  2. Brenda Schroeder says:

    I appreciate your sense of humour, humility and acknowledging the journey. We are all on our own individual one and the fact you can have yours and support his even when they may not be 100% the same is a great example.

  3. Solsticemama says:

    You are hilarious! I’m imagining your car just packed with pickles and Thin Mints…it’s a good thing Danny is probably only bringing one shirt!

  4. pjbfcp says:

    I look forward to watching the next season and following along with this great new site; even though the navigation is on the right. I expect that The Perennial Plate is going to become the only comedy I like to watch. That’s not to say that killing animals is funny but a vegetarian with a Thin Mint addiction who films animals being killed is funny.

  5. vermillia says:

    Mirra, I made similar decisions about 35 years ago. I do eat fish; I think I can handle the mental and physical responsibility of the occasional fish.
    Rumor has it that it takes about 6 times trying a new food before it “takes”. My mom invented “no thank-you portions” for that reason. Ya had to try it. To that I added “maybe you’re old enough to like it now” for my daughter.
    I would watch Mirra on camera for the reality injection. How ’bout it?

    • Mirra says:

      Thanks Vermillia. Its nice to hear about others who have become a vegetarian for the same reason. I still struggle with eating fish, as Im not sure I would feel comfortable killing one. Was your daughter raised vegetarian also?

      • vermillia says:

        I didn’t eat fish either for a long time. Although my daughter was raised primarily vegetarian, she was encouraged to try food that others were sharing/serving. She’s had chicken, corned beef, etc. She is vegetarian now by choice, and does not eat fish.

  6. Mirra, that’s excellent. I now you can make the change. Remember, changes take time and going from a non-vegetarian diet to a vegan diet takes commitment and patience. Keep it up and let’s continue helping this world towards a more compassionate behavior towards animals.

  7. This is the best writing I’ve ever read on being vegetarian.

  8. Carolyn says:

    This is so refreshingly honest. Food choices are such a personal thing and in my opinion very reflective of our own inner work and how we relate to the world. I am still evolving in my own food choices and the path is far from over. Cudos to you and Daniel for this show. It brings me back to my roots where people are connected to the animals and the land instead of numbed out by pretty packaging and advertising gimmicks.

  9. […] and Mirra working together at a Harvest Dinner. Photo: Stephanie Watts Daniel: Mirra will be blogging. She’s always been a part of the project, though very behind the scenes. But she is a funny […]

  10. Rachel says:

    You, madam, are my hero. While I’m not a vegetarian, I rarely ever eat meat (not because of the whole killing thing, but because I don’t trust most of the meat available to actually be good for my body), and I totally respect what you’ve got goin’ on here. I, too, am a recovering junk food addict. And while I’m a little further along the route of eating more veggies and less junk, I feel you sista. So. Much. I am kind of obsessed with anything that has to do with sustainable/local/real food, and so often the people writing and speaking are experts, farmers, or people who have been cooking and eating good food for years, and it gets a little intimidating/daunting. (Very) long story short, I’m excited to read about your perspective throughout this whole adventure. It seems more real, and makes the whole process of changing how one looks at and eats food feel more attainable. Also, you’re hilarious. Good luck!

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