The Meat-Eating Vegetarian

Okay, so I realize that being a “meat-eating vegetarian” is an oxymoron, but it seems to best describe my diet right now. I eat mainly vegetarian, except for meals with friends (Thanks for the burger, Tony! It was delicious and I didn’t die!) and local meat that I can find at the farmer’s market or our Natural Living Center. I can’t remember how much I’ve babbled about The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I figured I may as well start walking the talk and focus on eating local, grass-fed, cage-free, non-CAFO meat, eggs, cheese, etc.

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Pardon the rather awkward close-up of my thumb.

Thankfully, Maine is delightfully full of eggs, cheese, and meat if you know where to look for it. Actually, when it comes to cheese, it’s stupidly easy to find local gems – Hannaford (at least the one in Old Town – I find the Bangor one rather lacking) labels its cheese with their special “local” sticker. Many of them come from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, and you really can’t find a better cheese. There are also some goat cheeses that come from the coast, and the farmer’s market has a stand with some amazing “bevre” (bovine chevre, which perhaps I would love for their clever name, but fortunately it is also the best soft cheese in the state).

Local eggs are also quite easy to find – last week, finding myself eggless when I was mid-cookie-batch, I ran down to “The Store” downtown and found a case full of eggs that were from just down the road.

This particular find, A Wee Bit Farm, makes pork sausage that is close-your-eyes-and-moan good (is that weird? maybe). The best part? We can buy it at the NLC, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive ($6 for almost a lb), especially if you view meat as a luxury, as we do. Another best part is that it’s processed at the Herring Bros., which is a butcher in Guilford, ME that I have driven by more times than I can count. My sister has a great story about driving to the slaughter house instead of the retail store…but we’ll save that for another time.

Wine: part of a complete dinner

Wine: part of a complete dinner

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I’m pretty iron-poor, and even though I eat a lot of dark, leafy green vegetables and beans, it’s nice to get some meat in my veins every once in awhile. For this meal, I just sauteed up the sausage (squeezed out of the casing), drained off the fat, and added a jar of marinara sauce (I would have made my own, but alas…time does not grow on trees). I served it over whole wheat pasta with a little parmesan and a yes-there-is-too-much-dressing broccoli salad. It was a perfect example of a meal where the freshness and quality of the ingredient made the dish. I don’t find it hard to imagine why chefs always demand range-fed meat.

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4 thoughts on “The Meat-Eating Vegetarian

  1. My diet’s in a similar place. I’ve stopped buying and preparing meats at home for the most part, and view it to be as much of a luxury as a charcuterie plate or fancy cocktail. Can you imagine if every household in the US expected to be able to have a Moscow Mule with every meal? I can’t either!

    Grass-fed is truly the way to go. Too bad it’s so hard to find for eating out. :\

    • Exactly! Meat used to be a luxury…and the fact that people expect to eat meat every day (which is virtually unfathomable to me now) is a huge, huge problem. I wonder how much methane and animal cruelty we would abolish if everybody took the “meat is luxury” stance…

      Grass-fed is SO hard to find when eating out…unless you can afford it, which I really only can once a year. Luckily we have a lot of good vegetarian options in my town, but that might be because it’s a college town.

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