Monday, May 24, 2021

Animal Crackers in my Soup

 "Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?" I found this to be a profound thought if one ponders it. If the purpose of a vegetarian's  diet is to spare the life of living creatures, then wouldn't the thought of eating a baked replica of them cause them to take pause, albeit of flour and sugar? Is this hypocritical?

I have no problems with vegetarians at all as long as (1) they practice it for a sane reason they are dedicated to, and (2) they do not judge nor proselytize those of us carnivores, taking in account that down south, 95% of us are carnivores. That 5% being part of the Yankees who settled in Florida and other folks who feel the need to forgo meat. Remember we are the ones who have cookbooks on road kill. There is a reason we refer to an Armadillo as Opossum on the Half Shell.

A girl I worked with years ago declared she was a vegetarian. When ever we went out for lunch, she generally ordered salads. One day, at the annual Fall Church Bazaar, we found ourselves sitting at the table with the local priest, whom we knew very well. Lunch was their famous vegetable soup.

As the church ladies came by and filled everyone's bowl at the table, my friend looked at me in horror. "There is beef in this soup." I had forgotten there was beef in the soup and felt badly about it. Then she continued in a panicky whisper, "What am I going to do?" 

"Don't worry, just have a few of the corn bread muffins and we will stop on the way back to work and pick something up for you." 

I took a spoonful of my soup and savored the flavor I had enjoyed every year at the Bazaar. When I looked over at my friend, I could see her getting even more anxious."Are your alright?" 

"No," she said in a whisper,"What will the Father think if I don't finish my soup." 

I hated to tell her since he was rector of the church and there were hundreds gathered to speak to him, whether or not she cleaned her bowl was not going to be his first (or last) thought. "Don't worry." "But, I don't want him to judge me because I am a vegetarian."

On the way back to work, I asked her just why she was a vegetarian. "Well, a good friend of mine in college was and I thought if she was, then it must be a good thing to do." 

"And, what were her reasons?" 

"I never really asked." 

"Do you like meat?" 

"Yes, I love steak and hamburgers." 

"So you have no ethical reason or health reason or political reason?" 

"No, not really."

"Maybe you should consider giving it up and just eating a regular diet." 

"But what would my friend think?" 

"If she is a good friend, it shouldn't bother her. She won't even know it until you dine together." 

"I guess not." 

"When do you think you'll see her again?" "Oh, I don't know, she hasn't really been available for a year or two now? I leave messages but she is so busy she never has a chance to return my calls." 

"In that case, I think she would happy you made a your own decision." 

"Still, I think I should call her." 

Exhausted by the conversation, I replied,"You just do that."

Come to think of it, I'm not sure which is worse, an arrogant vegetarian out to covert the world, or one blindly following along, simply because someone said it was a good idea. The jury is out on that one.

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