Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Vegetarian at the Butcher Shop

Years ago, I read an interview with the country singer, Naomi Judd. And don't quote me here, but I recall a line where she said something about being a vegetarian "...but not a fanatic."

The concept resonated because, uh, that would be me. As a most-of-the-time vegetarian, I do occasionally succumb to a Caesar chicken salad, Casper's Hot Dog or backyard barbecued hamburger. Smothered in ketchup. Yum.

But most of the time I'm straight-up, hard-core veggies. My original reason for going vegetarian was simple. I felt better. Healthier. Leaner. It was only after watching the horrific, eye-opening documentary, Food Inc. that I understood and embraced the humanitarian aspects of vegetarianism.

Now, when I do make that rare meat or poultry purchase, I drive out of my way to shop at the grocery store nicknamed "Whole Paycheck." I'll spend the extra money for products with those buzz words: free-range, grass fed, cage free, and trust that it's true. I can only hope that somewhere, a cow or chicken didn't suffer for my lapse.

Lately, however, I'm pressed for time and shopping at the grocery store closest to home, grabbing any beef or chicken that's readily available, buzz words be damned. I'm in the kitchen, grilling, frying, roasting and searing, using techniques that are foreign to my brown rice-tofu-eating ways.

I'm doing anything I can to entice Elvis to eat.

His throat is still bothering him from his recent surgery and kibble is an obvious irritant. Ah, but ground beef with mashed potatoes soaked in chicken broth? It takes him awhile, but slowly, surely, he licks his bowl clean. Much to the dismay of Olivia, I might add, who watches his every move hoping for a stray morsel.

This is why, with apologies to all the cows and chickens out there, this most-of-the-time vegetarian is temporarily forsaking her ways and surrendering to the dark side, if only for the sake of my dog. Because these days, there's only one buzz word I care about.

And that's Elvis.


Anonymous said...

I'd do the same. Elvis is what matters and we know that you are doing the best you can to give him the best quality of life possible right now. If swallowing is troublesome, would it help to put the mixture in a blender or food processor to soften it? Sending warm thoughts to you and Elvis, sandy

Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry said...

Awww sweet Elvis, I know your momma will make you lots of tempting foods. Tell her to remember, the stinkier the better. Liverwurst...braunschwager...venison...you know, the works!

Eileen, I can relate. I've been a hardcore veg fanatic for 26 years. But when it comes to my dawgs, I will butcher an animal myself if it means that they will want to eat when they're not well.

It's so hard to see their appetite decrease, but unlike us silly humans who eat even when we're not hungry, dogs are smart enough not to eat when they're ill, so that they can focus their bodies' energy on more important functions other than digestion. I do hope he feels better though and wants to chow down on some good eats. Hugs coming your way....

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness Elvis loves his mama's cooking.

You can also try soft rice (if you have a rice cooker, use the porridge setting - 1c. rice to 3c. water or broth). You can even cook the meat with the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a bare simmer for 1.5-2 hours. The meat will be soft, and you can shred it finely into the rice.

Thinking of you and Elvis. I've read your column for years. Delurking now.

Anonymous said...

Eileen: Do you have to witre articles that makes me (a grown man) cry???? Get atricle about Elvis....

girldogs said...

Hi Eileen,
I just read your piece on saying goodbye to Elvis; it brought tears to my eyes. I have followed you in the Chronicle for years and remember meeting both Elvis and you years ago at Animals on Broadway in Walnut Creek. My dog Mocha is turning 15 years old tomorrow and I know I must cherish every moment with her.

Please take care,

Terri Martinez
Walnut Creek, CA

girldogs said...
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