The day i became a vegetarian

If you don’t already know, I am a vegetarian.

I made this choice on January 1, 2011. It was on a plane ride home from spending Christmas with Dave’s parents in Ohio. Before we boarded our flight, we sat in the airport with our coffees and laptops, praying that our flight wouldn’t be delayed (we’d already been delayed twice during our layovers). It was New Years Day. We had every intention of flying straight home to Cali from Ohio until our flight out of Denver where we had our layover, got canceled. We were handed meal vouchers and a free night stay at a Holiday Inn Express. But it was December 31, 2010. There was no way we were doing New Years at a Holiday Inn.
Dave called his old college room mate, Reid, who lives in Denver. Reid came and picked us up within thirty minutes. We were going to party in Denver, CO for New Years. We were ready for it. We went to a house party full of twenty-something young professionals and artists who had already enjoyed much champagne as they danced and laughed and had the kind of fun you can’t have if you take life too seriously.
The next morning we woke up to an early alarm in our hotel room. I immediately dug into the stash of Christmas cookies from Dave’s mom. Christmas cookies for breakfast on New Years morning…think about it. It just makes sense.

Next to our stash of cookies I picked up my copy of the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. I’d gotten it for Christmas and was three chapters in. I Knew when I started it I would become a vegetarian.
I devoured every page. It affirmed the convictions I felt about eating factory farmed animals. This book was fantastically written and would have made the original muckraker journalists of the early 1900’s quite proud.
But then again, I’m no scholar or literary critic. Just a book nerd who doodles and writes about rainstorms and Elton John.

As Dave and I sat in the airport that morning waiting for our flight, we saw a little bird chirping and wandering around where we were seated. I had never seen a bird inside an airport. I don’t fly that much. Dave and I ordered burritos at a Mexican restaurant just an hour before where I was asked if I wanted chicken on my burrito. I almost said “yes.”

Then I saw that cute little bird hopping and chirping around, pecking at potato chips and sandwich crumbs. It was a delightful little bird. I wanted to play with it and hold it. It’s fluffy feathers and sweet beady eyes evoked the eight year old in me and I was fascinated by its curious and peculiar character.

I would never have eaten that little bird.
As we took off on our flight shortly after, I thought long and hard. My choice was clear. I knew where I stood.
Dave and I watched out the airplane window as the plane took off, that’s when the words came out of my mouth.

“Dave…I think I’m done with meat.”

Those words were what forged the bond between my body and mind to no longer consume meat products. Being a vegetarian requires the peaceful compliance of both the body and the mind, it can’t be forced.

I’ve been devoted to vegetarianism since that day as we flew up into the sky.

In the spirit of my sharing the story of the day I became a vegetarian I thought I would share a a quick and tasty meatless dinner I threw together in about 10 minutes flat on Monday night.

Tomato pesto pasta with roasted broccoli and meatless sausage. I ate mine in a bowl which made it difficult to capture the dish (or make it look pretty) but if you’re a veg. or just like pasta…you should try this (and if you’re not veg. use real sausage…I’ll never know).

Start with the pasta. Boil desired amount on stovetop and while that cooks, throw broccoli in the oven at 375 for ten-fifteen minutes (I use frozen broccoli, it roasts beautifully).


Once pasta has cooked, remove it and drain. Mix a heaping spoonful of sun-dried tomato pesto in with the pasta. I use Trader Joe’s. It’s perfect for pasta.

And I think it’s pretty.

But that’s just me…

Now cook up “meatless sausage” however desired. Again, I use Trader Joe’s brand because they rely on me to keep them in business. And I do.

Dice up the “sausage” and toss with pasta. Throw in broccoli once it’s done. And top with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of Parmesan cheese (I recommend grating fresh Parmesan over it, I was out of it).

It’s easy and a nice change to your typical weeknight pasta. I found it filling and satisfying. The absence of marinara or tomato sauce helps to bring out the flavors of the pesto and sausage.


Follow you meal immediately with a few of these….

And you’re golden.

There you have it, a vegetarian’s story and a recipe…from my kitchen to yours, bon appetit!

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April 12, 2011