The social implications of not partaking in the Rite of Dead Cow

So if you've been keeping tabs, which I totally wouldn't blame you if you're not, I'm on the 'eat vegetarian' portion of my 2 Week Resolutions. Which means I've been a vegetarian for...about a week.

(Since I've also been denied dairy, wheat, and sugar by the naturopath, I'm having a hard time with the meal planning. Lint, anyone?)

So far, it's pretty easy. Other than when I have any social contact whatsoever, that is.

Living in a bubble for one? Eating vegetarian is a breeze. Living with and (gasp) socializing with other people that reside in this redneck province? Um...not as easy.

The second day of my vegetarianism, we were invited over to a friends' house for Sunday dinner. I don't really know these people that well, they're more hubby's friends than mine, so I didn't feel totally comfortable announcing my recent conversion. I mean, there's a conversation custom-designed to make you feel like a tool:

"Oh! I'm a vegetarian, I can't eat that fragrant, delicious-looking, Flinstones-sized slab of ribs."

"Really? I didn't know you were a vegetarian."

"Um...well, just this week. And next week. If it lasts."

"You're a vegetarian for 2 weeks? Why?"

"...just because?"

Anyway. I now have an extremely belated sympathy for my friend Politika, who doggedly remained a vegetarian in this animal-flesh-loving prairie town, all through high school and maybe a little while afterwards until she could make her escape to the much more enlightened West Coast. It couldn't have been easy, trying to eat out and attend social gatherings like barbecues and dinner parties and the annual Bacon Dance. All the while obnoxious, meat-eating heathens demanding to know why you couldn't just eat ONE bite, I mean, c'mon, it's not going to KILL you. It's delicious!

(I may or may not have been one of those people. I refuse to answer on the grounds that it's pretty fucking obvious that I was.)

Like most places, social activity here just revolves around food. And the assumption is, on the prairies, that food means meat. Usually red meat. And potatoes. With beer. (Sometimes one or all of those things is deep fried.)

My third night of vegetarianism, hubby and I had a pre-arranged date night. At a steak house.

Tomorrow night? Fundraiser steak night.

Well...ONE bite isn't going to kill me, right? C'mon.

(...This resolution is doomed.)

Happy Canada Day from President's Choice! (Or: Celebrating the birth of our nation with some dead cow. Vegetarians, fair warning)

A while back I posted about an opportunity to stalk some people dressed up as butchers who were handing out coupons for free meat. They didn't do this little piece of performance art in my city, and apparently President's Choice heard me whining felt badly enough about that to send me some of my own. They even threw in the seasoning!

And what better way to sample the offerings than a summer barbecue?

Except, well, it didn't really produce much summer for a while there, and our barbecue hasn't been used in 5 years and I'm not convinced it wouldn't spontaneously combust. So I went to the source of all things grilled - my Dad.

(In other words, we called up my parents and invited ourselves over for dinner. But in our defense, we brought food and booze).

President's Choice has expanded its fresh meat offerings to include the "Tender and Tasty" and "Free From" lines. As far as I can tell, the "Tender and Tasty" line is just, well, meat, although it's GOOD meat - the beef is cut from Canada AAA or USDA Choice grade beef, restaurant quality beef superior to previous Canada AA choices. The "Free From" line is hippy beef, raised without the use of antibiotics or steroids and (I assume) played soothing music and allowed free access to art supplies.

I marinated two of the steaks in PC Steak Marinade and we seasoned two with the PC Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns grinder.

(My Dad: "So this is just...salt and pepper."
Me: "Yeah, I guess."
My Dad: "You know what this would be really good for? Camping. To put in your camping kit."

after Dad has mentioned his camping kit 4 more times: "Dad? Do you want it? To put in your camping kit?"
My Dad, acting surprised: "Well, sure!")

(I felt like I had to bring more to the table than just dead cow, so I also made mojitos. President's Choice has this handy little mojito 'kit' for sale right now so I picked one up. I gave up bartending a while ago but clearly I miss it occasionally. Plus I got to feel all Southern and minty fresh, ya'll.)

Tangents aside, those steaks were gooooood. They were...well, Tender and Tasty. I thought the marinade was fantastic, though Mom pronounced it "too salty" (but you have to consider the source there - Mom thinks salt is the Devil's seasoning. Or she would, if she were religious at all). The Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn was....salt and pepper. We went over this. Dad added his own bbq sauce when he thought I wasn't looking.

I was disappointed by the "Free From" steak, though - it was a little tough compared to the "Tender and Tasties" and not as well marbled. While it's nice to feel that your dinner had a good life prior to it's incarnation on your plate, and it's nice to think that you're not adding a bunch of chemicals and crap to your body when you eat it, I would not normally pay that dearly for the privilege (you are, after all, still cramming red meat into your maw. Not the healthiest of choices in the first place). The "Free From" beef was over $35 a kg, ya'll - like, 8 bucks for a tiny 8oz steak. If I didn't have coupons I would have shit a brick gasped audibly. I admire President's Choice for trying to make organic meat more accessible, and sourcing more of their meat from Canadian producers (the "Free From" line includes chicken and pork as well), but I think if you're that dedicated to making your food free from hormones and antibiotics, you can purchase it from local farmers for much less.

So, verdict? President's Choice Tender & Tasty is just as advertised, their Free From line is pretty good too (though way too expensive for moi), they make some kickass marinades, and my mojitos were AWESOME.