Monday, September 25, 2006

On Becoming a Vegetarian

Eeeeuuwww, I just learned where "meat" comes from. Shocking, I know. But something happened Saturday that changed my life forever. My beloved husband told me that we needed to go to the ATM and get some cold hard cash (who carries this stuff anymore?) and go pick up a pig or a lamb from some Croatian guy my husband met at a church picnic. I was thinking barbequed pig or lamb, as the Croatians are prone to making (and they do a good job of barbequing their animals).


Head On A Plate


So we got in the car (my car, the VW Bug, the one with the small trunk) and drove to the ATM for $200 ($200?! How much "meat" are we buying?! Calm down, it's not all for the meat!). Then we drove what turned out to be about an hour drive to the guy's home in the country. I was still okay at the point of pulling in the driveway and looking out at his fields of farm animals. I was thinking that, not only did the guy barbeque the meat, he must also raise "the meat." We got out of the car and I introduced myself, then the guy hollered down the stairs to his wife (hollered in a way that made my husband turn around and grin at me...he knows I would not respond so well to being hollered at in that gruff tone...heh). His wife came running up the stairs and introduced herself, first in Croatian, and then when I spoke in English (because I don't speak conversational Croatian), she switched to broken English for my benefit.

Our husbands began heading up the hill to the barn and I began to follow my husband. She asked, "Oh, are you going up there too?" " Well, yes, I thought so...wait a minute! Are you guys going to kill something?" The two guys had been conversing in Croatian and I had no idea what was going on, but began to get a clue. My husband looked a little guilty. I think he too thought the meat would already be in "meat" form when we arrived.

Well, NO, I was not going up to the barn with them if that is what they intended to do. So instead, I stayed behind and had a reasonably pleasant conversation with a 68-year-old Croatian woman who was busy making apple strudel just like in "the Old Country" (a phrase she used often to describe from whence she came 33 years ago). She made me a cup of extra strong Turkish style (Croatian) coffee and we talked about how much she loved animals and could never eat any of the animals they raise, not even the chickens. She was baking a roast in the oven but said that all the meat she cooks comes from other people. Then, she told me that the lamb our husbands were in the process of killing was only 2-3 months old and was the friendliest lamb they had ever had! Arghhhh!!!

And then it happened. A traveling vet arrived to treat one of their rams and we had to show him to the sick animal. The wife told me that all the killing should be over by now and wouldn't I like to come up and see the animals? I knew better. I really did. But I trekked up the hill with her and past the open barn door. I nearly tripped over the pan of bright red blood! And hanging from a meat hook just inside the door was the woolly white furry skin and some remains of what was "the friendliest lamb ever." Ughh! I nearly lost my cookies! So that's where meat comes from!!!

And then, as if that wasn't enough, we had to wait even longer for them to finish butchering him, chopping him up into pieces small enough to fit in the smoker, and then putting all of the pieces into plastic garbage bags. Not even butcher paper! In the end, they loaded all of the body parts into a wheelbarrow (this really had all the look and feel of a CSI crime scene to me) and wheeled it down to the car. In attempting to lift the bags and squeeze them into my trunk, some parts slid out of the bag and into the trunk of my car! As we drove home, I could hear them sliding around in the back. Oh, the humanity! I felt like I should drive straight to the nearest police department and turn ourselves in. "Yes, officer, the body is in the trunk. Could you just take my confession and give me some valium or something?"

I vowed right then not to eat any of this meat. Or any meat for that matter. Well, okay, maybe meat from strangers, but never any meat killed by my own (or my husband's own) hands. Never. Ugh! I think I'm gonna get sick just thinking about it.

23 Comments:

At 7:10 PM, September 25, 2006, Anonymous Jennifer said...

EEEWWWW!
Yep, that would be the kind of experience that could seriously keep me from ever eating meat again. Ever.
Now that I think about it maybe we'll try the two week vegetarian thing again...

 
At 7:16 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Oh, Jennifer, I'm sorry you had to see that. I thought about you and your stint with vegetarianism as I was writing it.

 
At 7:26 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Jim said...

I'm very distressed that you allowed yourself to be in the same room with a woman who dismembered living APPLES!!!!

 
At 7:31 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

8-}

 
At 8:41 PM, September 25, 2006, Anonymous Brian said...

So, this is the lamb in your high-tech 'fridge, eh?

I'm not sure what I'd have done in your situation (much less your husband's) but I am getting a tremendous laugh out of reading it!

..."already in 'meat' form..." LOL!

 
At 9:29 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

I think I would seriously consider becoming a vegetarian after a sight such as that!

 
At 1:04 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Brian, I think my husband got way more than he bargained for...the guy recently had a stroke and was unable to function as efficiently as he used to, so my husband had to perform most of "the operation." 8-{

Rach, there is the thought that if we are going to eat meat, we should have to witness such things, I suppose. Beans and rice are sounding like a great protein source about now. ;-)

 
At 7:41 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger beth said...

See, here's where a healthy dose of situational ethics comes in. I do not eat lamb, but will eat chicken, cow, and pig (and the occasional turkey but I don't care for the taste overly). This has nothing to do with the barbary of slaughter (God killed animals in Genesis to provide food and clothing for Adam and Eve when He cast them out of the garden - so to me, eating butchered animals is part of the fall and sanctioned by God.) That all aside, here's why I don't eat lamb (or deer, or dove) - they're cute.

Much like in the human world, it's the cute who survive. :)

(Though I will say my favorite part of Notting Hill is the scene with the frutarian.)

(Oh! And some friends and I had an organization in High School called the Coalition for the Righteous Applicaion of Plants - that's right, C.R.A.P. designed mostly to combat PETA. We hung posters of weeping, bleeding carrots next to their bunny posters.)

 
At 11:08 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Beth, I knew I could count on you. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Fall, food and clothing, bloody turnips, yadda, yadda, yadda. But you hit the nail on the head with "they're cute." ;-)

How about veal? I love veal too, but I don't want to see the gory blood and guts part of how the cute little calf becomes "veal."

 
At 11:56 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Nope, don't eat veal either - again, cute. (Luckily, they grow up ugly - cows are yummy.)

Pretty much "baby" anything is right out. Up to and including baby spinach. :)

 
At 3:47 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Yeah, baby e-coli laced spinach is out for me too. ;-)

Only problem with lamb is, have you ever had grown-up sheep? Mutton. We had mutton burgers in Ireland, and I'll bet Rach knows a thing or two about it, but yuk!

 
At 8:55 AM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Badoozie said...

ok, i couldn't read all of this...i stopped when you said killing a lamb. sorry but i don't eat lamb and i never will. i don't eat baby anything. i'm so sorry you had to go there. dang...i'll only say this once, and in jest, but your hubby was behaving like a mantard. he shoulda known? men can be so "unprepared" lol

 
At 10:04 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

I'm sorry you had to see that too, Susie. Repulsive, I know. But I don't blame my husband. He was just being the "hunter," doing the man thing, you know? I think I'll stick to "gathering." ;-)

 
At 10:18 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger mis_nomer said...

Oh oh oh oh awful. And I love lamb chop too. But I've never imagined them as "friendly lambs". Oh dear..

 
At 10:39 AM, September 28, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Dear Gwynne,

For almost a week (a WEEK!) you've tormented us with a picture of a little sheepie head...couldn't we move on to something less vile, like, oh, photos of the tax code or serpents or something?

Yes, it's me. Asking for serpents. This is dire. Dire I tell you! :)

Oh, well, that and I'm bored at work and really want something to read. ;)

 
At 2:15 PM, September 28, 2006, Blogger Foo said...

My wife insists that all the meat we eat was never a fuzzy animal. Who am I to dissuade her.

Still... I never liked lamb anyway.

 
At 2:16 PM, September 28, 2006, Blogger Foo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:36 PM, September 28, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Dear Beth,

I apologize for the severe dearth of posts of late (and the picture). I have been busy reading the much more edifying posts of my blogrollees (thank you ;-). I'll put something else up tout (toute?) suite.

:-)
Gwynne

 
At 2:39 PM, September 28, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Foo, what does that leave? Chicken and fish? What about pigs? Are these considered "fuzzy?"

 
At 1:18 AM, September 30, 2006, Blogger denise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:19 AM, September 30, 2006, Blogger denise said...

I guess I won't tell you about all the times my dad came home after hunting with the game he'd killed and all the long hours we spent "processing" the meat. :)

 
At 1:21 AM, September 30, 2006, Blogger denise said...

Ack! I just saw the picture of the lamb's head. Ewww!

 
At 2:36 AM, October 01, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Denise, I think something has happened to me in old age. I used to be able to at least kill and clean fish, but now I can't even do that. I've never been able to fathom the actual killing and "processing" of mammals though. But that's never stopped me from eating it. Maybe if you grow up with it, it becomes easier?

 

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