My parents must have suspected when I was growing up. There was something different about me. The thing is, I didn’t have a word for it. I was in high school before I ever heard the term, and it was usually a punch line in these parts. I didn’t want it to be true. It would make life more difficult. People would judge me. I’d need to consider how I would raise my children. How I’d handle holiday dinners. But by January 1, 2006, I could no longer deny what I’d known in my heart of a long time. I am a vegetarian.
It was often an awkward conversation on first dates. But the right guy could look past it. Little did I know that right guy would be a hunter and fisherman. Venison invaded my freezer. My children’s breath is ripe with jerky. But he accepts my soy burger on the grill, respectfully turning it with a clean spatula. And that’s what counts.
Our secret to success has often been dishes that you can easily top or toss with a grilled chicken breast or stir in some ground beef as you plate. But occasionally we stumble upon “mock” meals that aren’t made with a soy product (he’s far too much of a man’s man to enjoy even the best chickenless nuggets). I confess, another part of our family dinner arrangement includes my concession to add fish to my diet after our wedding. And though I often consider cutting it back out, that middle ground is at the heart of this mock pulled pork sandwich. It’s just our favorite BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s) and a few cans of tuna fish heated up on the stove. If you didn’t know better, you may swear it’s the real thing.