Yesterday, I had my first 99% almost no meat vegetarian meal. It was lunch at The Sicilian Express in T.Morato with my friend Gina. Who wanted to eat veggies. For what reason it was not so clear. Or I forget, I don't know.
I must clarify that we did not expressly, consciously, decide to eat a full-on vegetarian meal. Gina just wanted some veggies (at least that's what she told me) to eat for lunch. That did not bother me as I, too, have been known to eat veggies with my meat. And The Sicilian Express is not exactly Bodhi. It's a nice Italian restaurant that has both flora and fauna in its menu. So, really, it posed no threat.
We had a nice lunch, actually. We ordered the sicilian salad which had about five token chicken bits to make up for the mangoes. (Mangoes in a salad is not a good idea for me. But, strangely enough, the salad worked. The chicken with the greens was a good combination). We also had a margarita pizza, which is basically just cheese, tomatoes, and basil. At every step, Gina asked if I was ok with the foods we were to order. And strangely, I put up no fight. I said yes, every time. And actually meant it.
It was only later that I realized certain things: 1) I just ate pizza without pasta; 2) I just ate a no-meat, instead of an all-meat, pizza; and 3) I just had a meal that had more plants than animals in it. And I'm not even upset about it!
Contrast this with 4-5 years ago when Clarsy and I had lunch at Struan and Tang's in Power Plant. I ordered fried squid, and almost pitched a fit when the waiter brought out a plate of breaded squid with brown rice. BROWN rice. For all you geniuses out there, brown rice is healthier--and, therefore, less tasty--than white rice. (The word "rice" in the previous sentence sure is a landmine. Imagine if I substitute "a" for "i". That wouldn't make for an egalitarian statement. Good thing I'm just taking about race, este, rice. Rice.).
What the f--?! This is brown rice, I said, because I sometimes like to state the obvious. Clarsy, quick to do some psychological bullshitting work, said, "Yes, but the squid is fried." I swear, that made me feel a lot better. A lot. Of course, looking back, I can admit that we skated around the very real possibility that the squid was fried in olive oil (which, again for the geniuses amongst us, is generally considered to be the healthiest of oils, notwithstanding the threat from the extra virgin coconut oil camp). We did not acknowledge that possibility as I was already overwrought bordering on queenish.
Given my history of aversion to healthy eating, my reaction to yesterday's almost vegetarian meal might seem to be a tad uncharacteristic. A more bochog-typical reaction would have been to end my friendship with Gina. Yes, over meat (or the lack thereof). Instead, I affirmed a good friendship over a surprisingly good meal. And I enjoyed myself.
I think I'm realizing that eating veggies, and eating healthy, may not be so bad after all. I'm not about to give up my meats. And I'm not about to eat a 100% vegetarian meal anytime soon. I am too much a hedonist, and for some strange reason, I cannot imagine experiencing nerve-sizzling pleasure when all you eat are plants. (Case in point, the Epicureans of Rome. Who binged all they wanted. I doubt if they gorged themselves on lettuce.). Yesterday's meal was pleasant. Nice. But if I had had meat as usual, then the meal would have been just as exciting, dramatic, inspiring as the conversation that accompanied it.