When it comes to meat, I am a carnivore. If my doctor told me, for health reasons, I couldn’t eat steak anymore, or any meat for that matter, I would feel a deep sense of loss. I’m not sure if I could go cold-turkey and live a vegetarian lifestyle after eating meat my entire life. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my friend, Tara Austen Weaver was raised vegetarian. After experiencing chronic fatigue which prohibited her from enjoying her favorite outdoor activities, doctors encouraged her to start eating meat. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be harder for a vegetarian to be forced to start eating meat verses a carnivore like me having to go vegetarian.
In her new book, The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman’s Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis, Tara chronicles her meat eating journey with honesty and openness. I found her experiences with butchers and ranchers thought provoking and eye-opening. It’s been about three weeks since I finished reading Tara’s book and I’m still processing her journey into the world of meat, finding myself in my own moral crisis. I can also say, I will never look at the word “carnivore” the same way again.
Tara and I are fairly new friends. Both of us are food bloggers living in Seattle. We’ve shared dinners, respectively debated food blogging/publishing ethics, attended the same parties, food events, and workshops. Even then, I wasn’t aware of her life journey as it pertains to her health. After reading her book, I know far more about her than I expected to. It feels a little strange to read her life story across the pages of a book and have her know so little about me. I’m sure this will change over time but still… I feel a little guilty.
Since reading her book I’ve been dialoging with others about Tara’s experiences. Needless to say, there is a message to be heard and learned from Tara’s meat adventures. Not everyone may agree with what she has to say, but no one can deny everything she’s gone through. She shares her story in a non-judgmental tone but makes her position clear on why she feels so passionate about what she believes. I can respect her beliefs and more importantly, I admire her for sharing her life with me through her book. Besides, anyone who considers bacon to be the gate-way drug into the world of meat is alright by me. Although you won’t find any recipes in her book, you can find some of the dishes she mentions in it at Tea & Cookies, Tara’s beautiful food blog. If you love food, memoirs, and good writing, this book is for you.
PS: If you do read it, I would love to know what your thoughts were. Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like I said before, I’m still processing everything and think it would be fun to dialogue with others too!
Disclosure: Although I was given a copy of the book by Tea, my review of her book are my opinions and view point.