Or, How I Killed and Cooked My Own Dinner.
I am a carnivore. I love meat… grilled, cured, raw, stir-fried, dried, whatever. I’m a huge fan of all pork products, from bacon to jamon to pork belly to chops. Seafood? Yep. Poultry? Yep. I love it all, and I’ve eaten loads of it over the years, giving little to no thought about where that yummy meat was coming from. As long as it tasted good, I wasn’t bothered. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and my dog, Piggy, is basically a full member of the family. That said, I’ve always been able to disassociate my love for animals with my love for eating them. I do truly believe that there is a natural order of things and that our bodies crave animal proteins to function at our very best.
Anyhoo, after years of guilt-free animal consumption, this meat-loving gal met the man of her dreams, and he turned out to be… (gasp!) a vegetarian. Who’d have thought I’d end up marrying my food opposite? Early on, P.J. and I found that we could happily co-exist – a carnivore and a vegetarian living in peace, albeit mostly on pasta at the time. Lately, as a result of P.J.’s influence and my transition to Paleo, I’ve been giving the origins of my food a lot more thought. I’ve been exposed to a whole new way of looking at meat – responsible, sustainable farming practices and cruelty-free animal husbandry. We visit the Austin Farmers Market every Saturday to stock up on grass-fed beef and pork, fresh eggs from happy pastured chickens, and loads of locally grown veggies. When we eat out, we find ourselves gravitating to boutique restaurants serving locally grown and raised fare. It’s been a gradual evolution, and an important one.
On our recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard, while I was snarfing down a silly amount of lobster over three days, it occurred to me that I’d never actually killed my dinner myself. Ever. I can’t even recall cooking a lake fish that I caught as a child (this is probably mostly due to the fact that I was an AWFUL fisherman… fisherwoman?). With such easy access to beautifully butchered and prepared meats, I’ve found it to be so easy to insulate myself from the realities of eating animal meat. It occurred to me on this trip that I should, at least once, do the deed myself… I needed to kill and eat my dinner. Myself. I see it really as an act of respect for the animals we consume… if I’m not “man” enough to kill the thing I’m eating, well then maybe I shouldn’t be eating it. Now, I’m not advocating regular at-home butchery for everyone, but I think there’s something important and elemental about respecting our meat enough to be the one to kill it.
That brings us to our title character… the lobster. I’m a huge fan of lobster meat, but I’ve always been super-intimidated by the idea of preparing (and by preparing, I do mean killing) lobster at home. So, when my brother was in town a few weeks ago, I convinced him that it was time for us to really commit to our carnivore nature and kill our own lobster dinner. I’m not going to lie… I thought I would be totally cool throughout the process, but there was a lot of girly shrieking, shaking hands, and I do believe I let loose a four-letter word or two… ;) In the end, we boiled two gorgeous 2.5 lb. lobsters and had a ridiculously delicious dinner that night. I’ll be posting the recipe for the lobster dinner shortly… stay tuned!
While I’m not rushing out to hunt my dinner tonight, I’m so glad to have taken this baby step. I shared this story with a close friend recently, and he’s offered to take me deer hunting later this year. Whoa! I’ll admit, the idea is slightly terrifying, but I’m giving it some serious thought.
Are any of you out there hunters? Do you buy your meat directly from a local farm? Would love to hear your take on things…