lemon jelly

The Vegetarian Odyssey
June 20, 2008, 11:46 pm
Filed under: food, philosophy, Uncategorized

I had a prof who once explained the Aristotelian notion of a first mover in terms of a lemon jelly doughnut. “Motion,” he said, “begins with desire.” While the details of the Metaphysics are largely lost on me now, it’s still true that little makes me happier than food and philosophy.

Up until recently, any intersection between the two was incidental. Brownies were an afterthought – a little something to keep us going while we poured over a semester’s worth of notes on qualia and consciousness or identity politics. We may have talked shop as we beat eggs or melted butter, but the confections themselves were never really central to the conversation.

Food and philosophy, of course, are not mutually exclusive matters, and this is old news. It’s just taken a bit of time to register with me. Plenty has been written on the ethics of modern food production and consumption already, and with menaces like BSE and world famine hitting the press, there’s bound to be plenty more. My interest here, then, isn’t in finger-wagging and moralising. Rather, I want to document my experiences as I go about changing the way I eat and, of course, share some recipes.

After twenty odd years of eating meat – everything from my grandmother’s turkey pies to frog innards served in a papaya – I’ve decided that it really isn’t a practice I can justify continuing. Factory farming, environmental damage, and slaughter, at least in my mind, weigh quite heavily against gastronomic pleasures. With the help of some friends and philosophers, then, I’ve set out on the first few steps of what I’ve termed my ‘vegetarian odyssey’.  In keeping consistent with my moral convictions, this means at minimum (1) no more meat and (2) no animals products that were obtained in cruel or inhumane conditions.

Of course, there are other considerations that come along with this change – namely, health, grocery bills, and delicious food. Since I am still a health-conscious and food-loving but impoverished student, I’ll be keeping all of these in mind as I write and cook here.