on eating burgers again.

i have a long and storied history with hamburgers.

as a child the joke was always that if there was a burger to be had, i'd be the girl to have it.

and then as a girl-in-the-throws-of-womanhood there was this one particular burger shared with this one particular boy growing ever so nicely into manhood. for months thereafter i refused to have another burger--afraid that it'd somehow negate or erase or make less sacred that day and that burger that would never again be.

i think there's this false notion that people recovering from eating disorders turn to a vegetarian or vegan diet because it's about control or restriction or just another way to lose weight.

about this i want to say several things:

1. for some people, i'm quite sure this is true. this is exactly why they turn to it. but not everyone. not even the majority.

2. those who think eliminating meat will lead to weight loss have quite another thing coming. {beef patties are not usually the thing a person binges on}.

3. a vegan diet still allows for the consumption of a lot of crap (over-processed foods, stuff high in sugar) and it does not promise thinness any more than anything else.

4. until you've tried a vegetarian or vegan diet you don't really get to judge either. from the inside of it, it's not about restriction so much as a restructuring--a second look at what we've been taught to believe about food. and it becomes not about what you can't have, but all of the possibilities from within the defined parameters.

in the process of recovering from a knock-down-drag-out fight with a version of bulimia i began reading as much as i could about food and it's meaning and it's place in our culture. i was unwittingly, unknowingly searching for a food culture--a value system because i wasn't sure we have one in this country. and if we did it came from a place of what-we-can't-have.

still to this day i believe the food culture of this country is mostly one of weight-loss (which obviously isn't working because people are getting fatter--though i don't think the point is for it to work so much as it is for people to spend money). and if there is a value system it has little to do with food and everything to do with fat versus thin--versus being the operative word.

and then we've got women versus other women--demonizing large bodies and small bodies alike.

for me the reason i turned to vegetarianism was always one of environmental concern. it was very clear to me that it was the single easiest thing i could do on a daily basis that would positively effect the environment. to say that we should be able to eat whatever we want whenever we want it is an unbelievably selfish notion and in turn, practice. what we eat affects our health and the health of the planet--it affects our limited natural resources, the consumption of oil, the lives of the animals we're consuming.

i went on a first date recently where i asked the guy: who am i to say that my life is more important than the that of the chicken i want to consume? and he responded with: because you're human and the chicken is not. it's as simple as that. maybe it would be that simple if i had to eat that chicken to survive or the chicken was my only option or i knew that chicken hadn't been born and bred for a 28 day life that was nothing but unbearable suffering.

okay, i'm getting off topic.

this is all to say, that i've started to eat meat again, in small amounts. not in moderation (let me be very clear and say small amounts, not in moderation because people who hear or read that word {moderation} interpret it to mean the exact amount that they're consuming something, so small amounts it is).

i am not against eating meat. but i am for local farmers. i am for sourcing food locally.

i was searching for a food culture and eliminating meat gave me one. each and every day the choices i made regarding food felt bigger than me and my vain and false concerns regarding calories and carbs and counting points. but that choice to abstain from meat was made while i was still very much in the throws of coming out of an eating disorder.

and i'm not anymore. and i've come to learn that food culture and its associated value system isn't so black and white. it is not simply to eat meat or not to eat it. it has to be about more than that. it has to be about nourishing ourselves as we nourish the earth. it has to be about investing in local food systems and eating seasonally. it has to be about making more food ourselves and teaching the next generation what food is and where it comes from and why it's important.

so yes, i've started to eat meat again. and the hamburger i had last week at the farm-to-table restaurant just across the street was worth the wait. the best part of it? the juicy, red tomato that tasted like candy (once you've had a tomato that's in season and ripe, how you can ever have another tomato in the dead of winter again is beyond me).

it occurs to me that at some point last week i wrote about how the desire to change my body was the least interesting thing abut me and every other woman i've ever known. in moments like this i become very aware of semantics. what i said holds true, and i will defend that statement until the end. but, it should be noted, that the desire to eat healthier, be healthier, live a more active lifestyle--the desire to seek out a food culture, the endeavor to nourish ourselves with food and information are endlessly interesting and not to be underestimated.

that's all, i really just meant to say the hamburger was damn good.

{the burger was had at prime meats}. if you ever you find yourself in carroll gardens... or anywhere close, go.