Thanksgiving marks my first full year of going vegetarian. Don't worry, this post will not include the horrifying PETA video I received earlier this week. I'm not that much of a Debbie Downer on this "glorious" day of gratitude our country celebrates with balloon parades, football and eating a bird. However, this day that is so focused around food is an excellent time to appreciate sources of food and truly be thankful, or at least aware, about the entire process.
As cities have gotten larger and mass consumer super markets have kicked the local meat shop or bread shop out of business, something has gotten lost. People, myself included, struggle to associate a piece of meat neatly trimmed and wrapped in plastic with its source - an animal that lived in who knows what conditions, was killed, processed for consumption, and transported some distance to get to your dinner plate.
I'm not asking that people don't eat meat. America's culture is built on a foundation of red meat, fast food, cold beer, etc., but I'm just asking on this day that is focused around the turkey to stop. Take a moment. And just appreciate that it was a living bird.
Perhaps if we raise our appreciation and awareness for where food comes from, then eventually the living conditions of those animals before they're killed will improve to a humane level. The day I'll go back to eating meat is a day when on a nutrition label I can read where it was raised, what it was fed, review some rating system of the conditions in which it lived, know the process in which it died, and whether it was local / transported from miles and miles away. Just knowing calories on a label isn't enough anymore.
So, I raise my coffee mug to you, local Albuquerque'ian that maybe today you went to a local turkey farm and participated in the entire process. Or you, renegade Thanksgivian, that decided to roast a pig (poor pig) that you bought from a farm, killed it, cleaned it and cooked it. As part of thanks, let's appreciate the process that put living things on our plate today.
Now, I will go into the kitchen and work on my meal of amazing side dishes to my meat loving friends' dismay.