Kentucky-fied Kitchen, Volume VI: The Hamburger & The Half-Assed Vegetarian

I eat a vegetarian diet. 99% of the time, I eat a vegetarian diet. If invited somewhere for dining, however, I do not tell my host ahead of time, nor at the table, that I don’t eat meat. If someone has lovingly prepared something for my consumption, I will eat it. I have called this ‘conditional vegetarianism’ in the past. The truth is: I’m a half-assed vegetarian. Because besides the eating-meat-as-a-guest that I do, there is also the 1x/year necessary ingestion of other important meat items. I eat 1 hot dog per year, at a sporting event. I aim for 1 BLT per year, because they’re awesome. And I eat an average of 1 bratwurst per year, because…well….I’m gross.

There are many reasons I don’t eat a lot of meat. It scares the shit out of me, a little. I read The China Study, also. Vegetables are delicious, too. And vegetarian food seems more creative, frankly.

But I usually know when the need for blood is creeping up on me. I’ll be enjoying a delicious, vegetable-laden sandwich when I smell iron nearby, and I feel faint with desire. I’ll think about it for a while, and keep ordering the falafel and tofu plates, when all of the sudden, I hear my mouth asking a waitress for a quarter pounder. With bacon on it. When I fall, I fall in public, and I fall hard. This is necessary because I wouldn’t ever want to cook meat for myself. I get scared about the handling of it and the thorough-cooking of it. This is not to say, however, that I don’t have meat in my house. Because I do. A lot of it. Bela gets a 1/2 cup of raw meat with each feeding. I just never consider all the ground meat to be anything but ‘dog food’.

I was in the grocery store last week, walking through the meats when I started swooning. But ‘I’m a vegetarian’, I told myself, and turned my back on my very own instinct. Walked up to the ground beef, selected a couple pounds for the dog and was on my way. Later, I was looking through the lackluster dinner options when I admitted aloud that I wanted a hamburger. And realized that we had the very ingredients I’ve heard that people use to make hamburgers…..namely…….hamburger meat.

“Hey, amy??” — I called. “Yes, Kel?” “Um…well, we could like MAKE hamburgers, couldn’t we??? Like from that ground hamburger meat in there?” “Yeah, we could.” “Well…is it like, hard…?” “No.” “Hm. Okay. Well, like, we don’t really have any meat…except for all of that meat.” “Okay! Let’s make hamburgers!” “Really???!!!??!!!???????” “Yeah!!” “OKAY!!!”

I arose from the couch, invigorated by the task at hand. We were going to make hamburgers!? I’ve heard that Americans all across the country do this sort of thing like – ALL THE TIME — and I’ve seen movies and television shows in which they are literally doing it like, while ON CAMERA… But to actually make it happen in one’s own home??! I mean…could we??

I washed my hands and put on an apron. I gathered the meat. I asked Amy how many steps would be involved (to mentally prepare) and she intimated to me that we really needed to just throw a bit of spice in there…some garlic and a jalapeno, maybe….and salt and pepper…and then put some heat on it. And I swear….like a butterfly from a caterpillar…a juicy hamburger evolved.

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I ate mine in mere seconds. I didn’t even hear sound while I was ingesting it; it was just me and the burger. I threw my hands up in the air upon finishing, and extolled the virtues of home hamburger cooking. The only thing to fear now, is that Bela could find me knee-deep in hamburgers someday while she goes hungry.

But, really…she should be fine. Because I’m a vegetarian.

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One thought on “Kentucky-fied Kitchen, Volume VI: The Hamburger & The Half-Assed Vegetarian

  1. I enjoy reading your writing. 🙂 Your experience and honesty are a breath of fresh air…and it’s great that you’re at peace. I don’t care about labels, but using one–“vegan”–makes things simpler for *other* people, you know? After first becoming a vegetarian in 1995, I’ve identified as a vegan since fall 2000, but have a weakness for certain pastries/baked goods when presented to me which I know have animal products. I wonder what I’ll do if I travel outside of the U.S. again. I ate fish to survive when I lived in Spain in 2001, but haven’t had it in twelve years and wonder if I could. -Kynshasa

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