During the past several months, my parents and I have begun to change our eating patterns from vegetarian to flexitarian (never eating meat to eating just a little), which is hard for an eleven-year-old.
We’re becoming flexitarians because my mother is trying to remedy her health issues by changing her diet. In fact, we are all experimenting with our diets to see what works for our bodies, which includes beginning to eat meat again. We’re also taking a cooking class taught via DVD which requires us to cook a lot of meat, and according to an old family rule, we all have to eat some. The two just happen to coincide, and suddenly I, a lifelong vegetarian, find myself eating what feels to me like an awful lot of meat.
But despite my objections, I’ve learned from this process. For example, I have learned that one simply has to brine free-range chicken or one will regret it. I certainly did. When I roasted my first free-range chicken, I didn’t brine it, and the result was dry and grainy, and took forever to chew.
I have learned that I really like pan sauces, in particular marsala cream sauce. (The chicken marsala cream sauce I made a while back is not to be soon forgotten.)
I have learned that I still like the vegetal accompaniments to any given meat-based meal better than the actual meat. This is due in part to the fact that I now know how to make some wicked braised potatoes.
And I have more experience under my belt, which could be useful someday. When I grow up, I’m going to be a fiction author, and every experience I have now, I will be able to use someday in my writing. According to a character in a book called The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy (Penguin Books, 2007), “Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story.”