I like vegetables.
What's that Marie? Sorry, I think you made a typo there. You mean beer, right?
Okay, yes. I like beer. (and tequila. and wine. and...) but in the spirit of a new year and fresh beginnings and yada yada yada, let's talk veggie tales.
Sean likes to refer to me as a "closet vegetarian"; someone who secretly likes vegetables more than meat but is afraid to tell people. He's mostly right. I'm definitely not a strict no-meat eater. I like meat. but in moderation. I like vegetables a lot more. The question then becomes: Why am I so hesitant in letting people know that?
Now don't get me wrong. I've never met a cheese plate I didn't like and the bread basket usually sees me coming and runs a mile in the opposite direction because it knows its about to be inhaled, but there's just something about vegetables that seems to be taboo. Subbing in steamed broccoli for your fries at a restaurant? Gonna cost you extra. Wanting just a soup and salad? The questions about if you're feeling okay start popping up. Why is it normal to eat a piece of steak the size of my head, but wanting an extra helping of cauliflower makes me weird?
The most ironic thing? I've been sitting here for the past 20 minutes trying to figure out what to say next about this topic. I keep typing things and then deleting them, afraid I'm being too this or too that. I'm being overly concerned about people getting the wrong impression. For Pete's sake, I'm talking about vegetables, not North Korea. Why is this so difficult?
As I started writing this post, a tweet popped up on my newsfeed that was exactly what I was thinking:
Perhaps Gracie is on to something here. Maybe the reason I'm hiding way down in the back of the vegetable drawer, afraid to come out and shout my love for all things green and nutritious is because of all the misconceptions that arise. There is a huge dissension between my "blog" world and my real world. And this confuses me. If my blog roll and twitter feed had a dinner party, I'd probably be the loud, drunk one who eats too many pieces of carob, sugar free, vegan cheesecake. But at a real world dinner party? It's another story. I feel like America is slowly starting to swing the pendulum toward healthier eating, but we've got a ways to go.
So where does that leave me? Is society making me feel like an outsider for loving vegetables so much or am I doing it to myself? To be honest, I think it's a little bit of both. As Gracie so eloquently put it, health and nutrition has become a political battlefield and I'm simply trying to avoid stepping on a land mine. But I need to step up and more honest with myself and those around me. I shouldn't be ashamed of my veggie loving ways.
(Maybe I should be a little bit ashamed of this totally phallic butternut squash and the 13 year old smirk and sense of satisfaction I take in holding it. Sorry Mom.)
so for 2011, I am going to make a more earnest effort to take my love for vegetables to the streets. I will shout it from the rooftops. I will start wearing a name tag. It will say:
Hi, My name is Marie. I like putting spinach into my breakfast smoothies. I also enjoy giant hunks of broccoli with my pasta. This does not make me a left wing health nut who wears patchouli. It also does not make me anorexic/bulimic/weird. It doesn't mean I won't eat meat and Lord knows I could never live without goat cheese dripping in honey. It also does not mean I can't kick your ass in a drinking contest (because I can). It just means that I like finding balance in my life. and balance to me means making sure those 5 pints of beer and 3 bars of chocolate are supplemented with a green bean or two. I also promise not to get overly defensive when you question my love of vegetables. Maybe you aren't judging me like I thought. Maybe you're just curious. Maybe you're secretly jealous because you know my garlic roasted brussel sprouts are dabomb.com.
Okay, so maybe it'd be more like a poster I'd wear on my back than a name tag. But then again, how awkward is that!? It'd cover up all my cute outfits and be a bitch to wear on the subway. Hmmm....
maybe I'll just tell this to myself instead. and next time I get invited to a dinner party? I'll offer to make the sides.