Guilt, Ethics and Karma-My Dilemma-VEAL!

This was written several years ago, but it is as true today as it was then.

On Saturday, I drove to the beach in Belmar, NJ for a variety of reasons – to get away, to acknowledge the death of a friend who loved the beach and because another friend offered the use of her house while she was away. My partner and I desperately needed a respite from life.

After a brief ceremony acknowledging our deceased friend, we decided to take advantage of the unusually pleasant weather. It was a breezy late afternoon in July, about 75 or 80 degrees and there was no humidity, truly amazing for our region this time of year. In order to extend our delight and pleasure over the weather, we thought we’d look for a restaurant where we could dine outdoors. The only restaurant that seemed to have the level of atmosphere we wanted had a covered outdoor dining room that measured about 20’ x 20’. Perfect!  The menu reflected rather pricey entrees, but we decided to go for it.

The atmosphere did not disappoint us. The menu proved to be a bit of a challenge for me. You see, I don’t care for seafood or most fish, which meant that about 75% of the menu was not an option. What was left were several chicken dishes and a veal dish. I wasn’t in the mood for chicken. With my daughter, Amy a vegetarian for almost 15 years and vegan for about 10 of those years and another daughter, Jill, who is on the brink of becoming a vegetarian, I swore off of veal many, many years ago, haven’t purchased it to prepare and haven’t ordered it in a restaurant. As I was contemplating my dilemma, I realized my ethics and karma may have been in jeopardy. Almost more important was the gnawing feeling physically that was appearing in my body simply over the IDEA of considering ordering veal.

Another thought added to my indecision. I had been thinking recently that I’d love to make my mother’s recipe for Veal Scaloppini, something I hadn’t tasted for at least 20, maybe 25 years. It was really yummy, made with green peppers and onions.

Here I was in a beautiful setting, a clear blue sky all around me, everything seemed perfect, but I really did not want to order a chicken dish; I had had chicken the day before. I caved in and ordered Veal Parmigiana (they had no Veal Scallopini on the menu). As I ordered, there was a feeling of dread in my head and my heart. I tried to ignore that feeling.

The meal arrived. Suddenly the full impact of my decision hit me. Now what do I do?
I fooled around and fussed with the platter, consumed the accompanying side dish and avoided those two huge pieces of veal. Finally, the time had come. I had to eat my entrée, or rather, the albatross, the thousand pound weight, the VEAL. I started eating it, taking one small bite at a time dipping the cut edges in the marinara sauce which had been provided. As I was eating, my mind was racing. I was enjoying our environment, talking with my partner. Unfortunately, the meat had taken on the presence of a skunk…dark, dreary, smelly, unwanted. I was in total denial trying to avoid thinking about eating veal, feeling very upset, conflicted and guilty. I realized as I ate the meat that the taste of veal was no longer familiar to me. It had been forgotten and it didn’t give me a happy memory or feeling. It wasn’t particularly interesting or necessary to my well-being or enjoyment any longer. I was observing myself closely, my feelings, my taste buds, my responses to the fact that I was eating a piece of meat that I had made a decision to NOT CONSUME ever again. Back and forth, back and forth like a pendulum…my mind was going over it all…what am I doing eating this, a poor calf was tortured so I could have this dinner, a dinner I don’t even want now. What’s the difference between a mistreated calf and an imprisoned cow, pig or chicken? Maybe I don’t want to contribute to these industries at all…these are businesses that support violence against animals. I am a peace activist. What was I thinking when I ordered this. Maybe I will go vegetarian. Or vegan. Eating this meat goes against everything that I believe in. I am a peace activist. Believing in peace doesn’t just mean being against the death penalty or wars; to embrace peace one must incorporate non-violence into all aspects of life. On and on and on… I went into my mind as I tried to enjoy my meal. I ate an entire piece of veal and had another staring me in the face, waiting to be devoured or at least acknowledged. I started to eat it, had maybe three bites. Then I realized I was quite full and didn’t need any more food. Whew! That’s a break! That veal had been presenting feelings akin to those of a six year old staring into lima beans.

Just a minute, I didn’t get off the hook that easily. Next problem…what to do with the remaining piece of veal. Normally I would be extremely happy over the prospect of revisiting last night’s dinner tomorrow via leftovers. Not this time, no way. The dreaded veal had long ago created such feelings of aversion and apprehension throughout my entire being, mind, body, spirit. I was getting antsy and agitated, the way you get when you know you’ve done something truly terrible. How could I simply discard this food, waste it, if you will, when I shouldn’t have ordered it to begin with? This calf DIED and now I am thinking of allowing his/her death to be for naught. Back and forth, back and forth…never have I felt such conflict over food!

My partner said, “It’s okay to leave it. It’s fine.” Pearls of wisdom let me off the hook.
Whew! What a relief!

I was telling my grown daughter Jill, not the vegan, about this situation yesterday. She said,” The same thing happened to me years ago. I was in a great Italian restaurant in Boston and I ordered Osso Busso. I couldn’t eat it.”

I am still very upset about ordering the veal. My next problem is much larger than eating veal. What do I do now about chicken, beef and pork?

This is MeddlingMom…think about it…also, guess what? I thought dilemma was spelled dilemna until today! Weird!

Have a great weekend!


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: