Epicure: Beware Those Blood-Sucking Veggies!

Extreme overconsumption of food really gets me thinking—I can’t do much else, after all.

One’s eating habits form a sort of microcosm, don’t they? It’s everything that’s happening in the world but smaller, meted out by the mouthful and—with luck—full of flavor.

When I met my future husband I was kind of Puritanical. I wore tight dresses and had some fun but I was a workaholic ethical vegetarian. And I didn’t drink OR drive. Husband was kinda the opposite, something of a hedonist. Since he was really cute, I felt that his lifestyle of omnivorous eating and drinking and listening to music way too loud deserved exploration.

We sort of met in the middle. I adopted some of his hedonistic tendencies, he has been largely vegetarian at home for years. Now we take turns writing restaurant reviews.* Nothing to complain about there, but my eating habits have made me sick in a surprising way.

After seeing the film Forks Over Knives last year Husband and I—without any discussion at all—became vegan at home. We gave up cooking meat and fish altogether and cut out eggs and cheese. We felt better, but it also made us really look forward to doing restaurant reviews! This seemed to work out well. Ascetic but…naughty too.

Then last week I went to donate blood at Southampton Hospital and was turned away. Me! You know that annoying prick that they perpetrate on your finger before you donate? Mine revealed that I was slightly anemic. Damn it! I am extremely squeamish. The sight of a box of Band-Aids can upset me but I force myself to donate blood. Now this? Talk about adding insult to injury.

Who saw this coming? Only the One Who Knows and Tells All, my mother-in-law. She’s been nagging me for years that “she-screwed-herself-up-because-she-didn’t-eat-red-meat-for-years-and-now-she-can’t-digest-it-and-she-has-to-take-prescribed-vitamins-and-get-shots.”

Argh.

I never bothered about nutrition. I figured that most foods are made up of protein and that the occasional shrimp cocktail provided all the iodine I need.

I looked up what foods are rich in iron. Double damn! Liver, red meat, egg yolks, salmon, chicken, whole grains, beans and dark green leafies—but there’s a blog out there all about how spinach is NOT rich in iron…is that “irony?” I really don’t think so.

I am absolutely going to treat my condition with food rather than pills. I had a burger on Saturday. It was the best burger ever! Not because it’s been years since I last ate a burger but because this one was raised and prepared with knowledge and love. Art Ludlow of Mecox Bay Dairy raises beef in Bridgehampton and he sells it at the Sag Harbor Fair Foods Market at Bay Burger. Bette Lacina farms next door to Bay Burger with her partner Dale Haubrich (Bette & Dale’s Farm). I volunteer at their farm on Saturday mornings at the same time that the market is going on. Oh man, Bette fired up that fresh, local burger meat and threw some of her own mesclun on rosemary bread and applied ketchup. Best…burger…ever. You can see that, right?

I don’t want to have to eat meat. I very much prefer to kill only leaves, but damn it I have incisors and I’m weak.

As Audrey II said in Little Shop of Horrors, “Feed me!”

 

*Here are two tips, dear readers, because you read my column and my restaurant reviews: 1. Have what we had. Before we order we ask key questions so that we know a lot about where our food comes from and how it’s prepared. If we liked it, you probably will, too. 2. You can largely judge a restaurant based on its soup and its roast chicken. If they don’t get these basic menu items right…call a different number for reservations next time.

 


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