For years, I’ve thought about food. I’ve thought about the food that different cultures consume, the ways that culture motivates people to eat certain foods, the ways that we mass produce food here in the United States, and I’ve thought about my own (oftentimes poor) practices of food.
During graduate school, I became vegetarian. I did it for theological reasons–that it is never just to kill, especially the killing that goes on in mass produced farm animals who are subjected to cruelty. But, it is never just to kill for pleasure. I was vegetarian for six years, then I started eating meat again. I can’t tell you what prompted this change. And so, I enjoyed meat, often trying to purchase it from an organic grocery store. I justified my consumption in this way.
Along the way in becoming vegetarian, I grew quite close and fond of my oldest dog, Cricket. I began to explore animal studies and learn the closeness that we share with non-human animals. As animals ourselves, it was this relationship with Cricket that motivated a new and renewed look or glance at the way I view food and eat. This glance at food, though, took years. It wasn’t a fast glance.
After some years and a move across these United States for doctoral work, I revisited my food politics. I often had this bodily nudge that I should ‘go’ vegetarian. And then my oldest dog passed away, but didn’t pass away naturally; we had to euthanize her. The following day, my partner and I went out for dinner. We ended up going to a popular hamburger joint. While there, my partner said: If we care about Cricket, why are we eating hamburgers.” While you may initially think that cows and dogs are not parallel, the point my partner was making was around cruelty and not participating in animal cruelty. We cared for Cricket up to her last days, then had to make the painful decision to euthanize. This motivated me to look at my food politics and practices.
So, I went vegetarian, again, and along with my partner we are seeking to make little moves against destruction when it comes to animal and farm cruelty by reducing our participation.