Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let’s Begin

First, let’s begin with a confession.  Saying that I want to write about vegetarianism, and that I want to do it for an entire month, seems fine in the abstract.  But when I tried to imagine what it might look like day after day, things started to feel hazy and uncertain.  Writing about vegetarianism feels a little like deciding to swim an ocean—it’s too big of a task to wrap my mind around.  I think it may be too big to accomplish, period, because there are so many ways to think about meatless eating and so many ways to accomplish it.

One of the reasons I wanted to recruit some awesome guest bloggers was so that this Veg Bootcamp challenge could also be a celebration of diversity.  One of the things I love about vegetarianism, and eating in general, is that there is no one right way to do it.  Even on a restricted diet, there are choices to be made, adventures to be pursued, discoveries to be made.  Alicia Silverstone once made the comment that the word “diet” means “a day’s journey.”  Her words resonated with me: our diet is part of our daily journey toward health and happiness.  That’s why I can think of few things that matter more than what we choose to put in our bodies, day after day.

Today, I have decided not to swim an ocean.  Instead, I want to start with something small, something that fits into the palm of my hand.  Let’s start with apricots.

Apricots in the Corner

Before last week, I’d never tasted a fresh apricot.  I was reading Jess’s post about an Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Crumble (swoon!), and I realized it.  I scratched a mental note into my brain, and I must have used permanent ink, because when I saw pretty little cardboard baskets of them at the grocery store, I scooped one up with barely a second thought.  They looked perfect, and perfectly priced: $2.99 a basket.  I love spring.

After a brief spin around the rest of the store, I hit the register, where the clerk rang up my fresh apricots: $7.20 read the digital display as the apricots beeped their way into the bagging area.  $7.20?!? I thought.  That can’t be right.  They should be $2.99!  But chances were that it was right, that I was the one who was wrong because she couldn’t read.  I was too embarrassed to bring up this issue with the clerk—I hate arguing or haggling over prices; I’m the one who will walk away from a garage sale find if it’s too expensive instead of trying to haggle the price down.  I say price it right the first time, dammit!  This is one of those instances when I am so not my father’s daughter.

Instead of arguing with the clerk, I decided to check the price on my way out the door, and sure enough, those sweet little orange orbs were $2.99 a pound.  And I had bought two pounds.  I took a deep breath, marched myself home, and tried to make peace with the way that my increasingly expensive taste in food makes me feel like I am literally eating my wallet.  Mmm, chewy!

My First Fresh Apricots

But you know, two pounds of apricots is a generous amount of fruit to have hanging around the house.  It means there are plenty of apricots for pre-dinner snacking and slicing over oatmeal.  And fresh apricots are really quite lovely: they taste a lot like peaches, with a tangier flavor and a less cloying sweetness.  Don’t get me wrong: I love peaches, but sometimes they can be a little over the top.  Apricots are like a more well-balanced and less fuzzy version of peaches.  I have decided that I like them a lot.  They taste a whole lot better than my wallet.

No comments: