October is Vegan Month of Food and Vegetarian Appreciation Month. Yup, veggies get a whole month to be appreciated. First off, I'm not a vegan. I'm vegetarian. I tried being vegan for a few weeks...mostly those few weeks when I ran out of money and couldn't afford the $5 eggs from the Farmers Markets or the fancy imported cheeses. Mostly vegetarian, really. Except for fish. Pescatarian really. Technically. If anyone is keeping track of these things.
So, it all started 17 years ago, and I was 20. I was sitting in the backseat of a rented Renault station wagon with my sisters, in Sicily, coming back after spending the whole day with a great-great-great aunt who lives on a farm in Catania somewhere. She gave us this little gift to take back to the small town we were staying at...a little chicken. A LIVE little chicken...sitting in a box...next to me. Well, the drive was long and me and the chicken had some time to talk, to chat if you will. I did most of the talking, and she just looked over her box and nodded up and down at me, understanding every word I was saying. We bonded. Oh yeah, we definitely bonded. I pet her waddle - I'm sure of it.
You can probably tell where this story is going - we had her for dinner. My little friend who loved me unconditionally (ok, so she had no choice, she was stuck in a box. But really, I think if she had the option she would have stayed and listened...we were that close). I was appalled. I was eating her thigh, her breast, her little body. Everyone around the table just giggled at me.
Well, I'll show them! From that point on, I decided that I would not eat my friends any more. I just couldn't do it, it wouldn't feel right. That, and the fact that I never really liked the taste/texture of meat and I used to sit for hours at the kitchen table until every last bit of it was swallowed because that's what you do when you're a kid living with Sicilian immigrants - eat everything in front of you even if it makes you want to puke it all up later, or feed it to the dog, or hide it all in your napkin. The time was now...I was out of the house and my parents couldn't tell me what to eat anymore. They did, however, trick me into eating horse(!!) that fateful trip in Sicily, summer of 1992. Final straw, indeed!
But, I digress. This month, October, I'm going to commit to writing daily, even if it's just a little, about something vegan...ish. Not sure what exactly. I'm thinking - Vegan Gardening. Don't laugh. I think I can make it work. Especially now that Fall in the desert is here, I'm ready to get out in the garden and transform it. Maybe I'll write about the chicken coop I'm making (ok, I'm technically not making it...I got my friend Chris to do all the work...I'm delegating). The chicken coop is vegan...the eggs aren't. But the eggs will come AFTER October, so I'm safe.