Lent – the forty days between Mardi Gras and, Easter – is the only time, so far, I’ve been able to be a true vegetarian. Not vegan (I still eat cheese – still working on that) but vegetarian – no beef, no pork (the easy part for me) and no chicken or fish (the harder part.)
My husband respects my goals on this so much, that he voluntarily doesn’t eat “red meat” at home and doesn’t eat much meat in my presence, besides chicken and fish. A few weeks before lent, he asked me if I minded if he brought home some red snapper someone at work had offered him. Since I’ve occasionally indulged in seafood (except during lent) I said okay. As a tomboyish youth, I took pride in cleaning fish myself, but this time, I was happy to leave that job up to my husband. The night being cold, he scaled the fish and cut off the heads in the kitchen. The smell was not pleasant.
Then I saw it – The eye of the red snapper, staring at me, from my own kitchen sink. The eye’s blank look confirmed that it was dead. But it was still shiny. The fish had been frozen until it thawed in my sink. Could the eye possibly still see me?
I think I’m going to get better at this vegetarian thing. It’s about time. I’ve been working on it for about 40 years. Not eating cows and pigs has been easy. And after watching enough videos of what happens to baby chicks on factory farms….. well… I think I’m done with chicken. Now the eye of the red snapper has given me an extra push toward being a true vegetarian. Even though the taste of its well prepared flesh was flaky and mild, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have, if I had not seen the eye.
On the eve of lent, during my church’s annual Shrove (aka Fat) Tuesday oyster roast, I only ate three oysters – well done and dry, not slurpy. Oysters don’t have eyes, but I wonder: Are they still alive when the heat of the roasting fire forces their shells open?
Sometimes I wish I didn’t think about such things.
Now, for a somewhat humorous, yet honest, look at this issue:
It’s about progress, not perfection.
(The red snapper image is by “Paulk” via Wikimedia Commons)