Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?
Although Consumer Reports lists some very good reasons – the expense of meat, unwillingness to kill animals for food, waste of grain on animals, religion, disdain for corpses – mine is much less complicated. The Rainbow Rib room closed and I was disconsolate.
What do vegetarians eat at Fenway Park?
Three ice creams, two bags of peanuts, and beer.
Do vegetarians have cookouts?
Yes, I skewer marinated vegetables, and often grill fish.
Ah ha. How can you eat fish?
Fish are not cute.
Do you wear fur and leather?
Consumer Reports stated that "some total vegetarians, called 'vegans,' also refuse to wear fur, leather, wool, and other inedible animal products because they believe it is wrong to exploit the animals for any reason." This vegetarian has leather shoes (too many, one would say) and while I would not buy a new fur coat, I would have every intention of getting my mother's Persian lamb remodeled when I can afford it. And this stuff about exploiting animals – anyone who has ever owned one, especially a Siamese cat, knows who really gets exploited.
Do you think you are peculiar?
The funny thing about most of the vegetarians I know is that they eat as badly in their own way as anyone else. I go through countless cups of coffee and peppermint Velamints every week. And just last week I fought over soggy Chinese leftovers at work. I eat pizza when I know I really need something more substantial, and I even get heartburn from time to time. Bizarre is a friend of mine (a carnivore) who scatters apples around his Volvo. When he gets hungry he finds one and proceeds to eat it; he sucks out the juice and spits out the rest.
Even though I don't eat meat, I have to admit it smells good sometimes. I have come very close to taking a bite out of a Fenway Frank. When my neighbor – whom we have christened Barbecue Bob because of his beefy appearance and his addict-like devotion to cookouts – fires up his grill, those steaks, burgers, and sausages sure smell good. Although I dream more about smoking cigarettes (I quit over three years ago), I have dreamed about eating hamburgers with a few slices of tomato and Bermuda onion. I'm sure a psychiatrist would have plenty to say about that.
What do you eat?
A quick refrigerator tour. In the freezer: four "working woman's" pie crusts, a box of pina-colada frozen yogurt-on-a-stick; a box of homemade ravioli; a bag of coffee beans; three bagels and one roll; and a bottle of Bulgarian white whine that my spouse equivalent, currently immersed in the All-Star game, has out in the freezer to chill but had evidently forgotten. Top shelf: three oranges, parsley, seltzer, orange juice, French white wine, spring water, milk, and a bottle of Bitter Lemon that was bought for house sitter who never drank it. Middle shelf: leftover spaghetti sauce, half an onion, cheddar cheese, seven nectarines, string beans, radishes, cream cheese, tortillas, and a bowl of leftover salmon. Bottom shelf: a bottle of Cold Duck that has been sitting there since the winter of 1977, when a well-intentioned but obviously misled person gave it to us; one head of romaine lettuce; a quarter watermelon; peas; blueberries; broccoli; a few lemons; a few plums; bean pate; too many carrots; mushrooms; two tomatoes; two sea-vegetable pies. On the door shelves: aromatic bitters; fresh ginger; tartar sauce; mayonnaise; tomato paste; sweet-and-sour sauce (very old); one jar of giardineria; a few hot sauces; chutney; two jars of marinated jalapeños; maple syrup; two jars of pesto; capers. The vegetable drawers would just bore you.