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.