My former life as a vegetarian zoo keeper
When I was a teen, I turned vegetarian.
My oldest brother bet I would last about a month. I lasted SIX YEARS (go me!).
Becoming vegetarian was a snap decision brought on by a song—Spawn Again by Australian band Silverchair. I was sixteen and OBSESSED with lead singer and vegan Daniel Johns. I was also an animal lover. I think I’d owned every kind of pet on the planet, including a goat, a mouse, a guinea pig, a cat, a dog, a rooster and ducks. Oh, and a caterpillar called Gutsy.
These days, when I ask vegetarians about their motivations, SO MANY say they’ve never really liked the taste of meat. I, on the other hand, was quite the carnivore. My favorite dish was crumbed lamb cutlets.
It therefore required a WHOLE LOT of willpower to give up meat. I only slipped a couple of times, sneaking a chicken burger from McDonalds (which back in those days were more sawdust than chicken, methinks).
When I was seventeen, I traveled through the United States and Europe. Do you know how hard it was to find vegetarian food in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2001? The closest they had was chicken salad (no, still an animal…). And the Austrians SNACK on bacon!
My stint as a vegetarian came to a close when I went to uni. I was living on campus and cooking for myself, which translated to two-minute noodles and not-bacon (my cooking skills have barely improved these days).
I eventually decided to start eating fish, which expanded into chicken and then red meat. But, one day, I want to find my willpower again. Those lambs are just TOO DARN CUTE, unless you’re talking about Lamb Chop. I must have been the only kid who hated Lamb Chop.