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Vegetarianism Versus Masculinity

Eat No Meat

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I am not a meat eater. In my daily meals, I observe a dietary constraint. I do not eat beef, pork or poultry. Sometimes, I only eat a little amount of fish. In the Wikipedia, a person who eats no meat but fish is known as a pesco-vegetarian. I am one of them. At some point during my 30s, I noticed my eating habit had by a progressing degree took a drastic change. I try to avoid eating fish too, and confined myself to be a vegetarian.

As a child, I had an innate hereditary that was deep-rooted in me, naturally stopped myself from eating meat. I stayed away from meat because the butchered meat produces and discharges an unpleasant smell. When someone prepares a meat dish in the pot, and because of the smell of meat, it makes me nauseous and chokes me in the throat. If the smell of the meat is too strong to bear, my nasal will easily get congested and make me feel wanted to throw up from the stomach. It all happens beyond my control.

When I was a child, I remembered I nearly spewed a vomit when I chewed a small piece of barbecued pork. That was my first and last attempt I remembered I ate pork. It was my aversion, a horror episode in eating pork.

I also have a disinclination in eating chicken too. When I was younger, I ate only the lean piece of breast meat, and unless it has been fried in the hot oil so to hide its smell. A piece of chicken that has not been fried in the hot oil will have a discharge of the smell of meat. I can’t swallow the piece of chicken that bore the smell of chicken. It sounded weird, I will only eat the chicken that did not have a chicken smell. I’ll also avoid any dishes cooked with the chicken skin attached to the meat. I was highly watchful from eating the chicken skin. There are people who showed a great like to munch the crispy-fried chicken skin, but not me. To me, literally, the chicken skin is the outer jacket that covers the chicken and it has the most sebum glands that produce an unpleasant smell of the poultry.

I love any type of vegetarian food, so particularly I love Indian food. I love the Indian food served by the Hindus in the ashrams and temples for a simple reason. They serve a pure vegetarian food. I feel at ease eating the food they cook. One thing is for sure, there is no squirting of blood due to the butchering of animals in their kitchen. There are also no cutting up meat and butchering bones on their chopping board. The pungent cumin seeds, the sweet cinnamon, the mellowing fennel, the cloves and the hot chili added to the aroma of the vegetarian meals serve by them.

Unlike the vegetarian food served by the Hindus, the Chinese have the most variety of food cooked with pork and its lard. I have been avoiding going to the food court run by the Chinese food operators lately.

I detest pigs. I will be scared-to-death if you get me to make a hand contact with the pigs. I can’t stand to see its snout with its projecting nose and mouth that blow a viscous secretion dripping out from its snout. Pig is immensely a filthy animal. This filthy animal eats its feces and smears its body with its own feces. I find it disgusting let alone man butchers pigs for its meat.

I have a few colleagues in the previous job who have a great loving in eating the pig’s innards boiled in the herbal soup. I find eating the pig’s innards dreadfully horrible. Once, while having a lunch with them, I was served with the pig’s innards. It was an unintentional act by them to put me into a blunder embarrassment and I knew, I’d rather gnaw my own arm off than gobbled the pig’s innards down into my stomach. My ex-colleagues found no comprehension why I confine to vegetarian diets, at the same time I also found no understanding why can they gobble down into their stomach such horrible internal organs of the pigs.

On another occasion when I was with my ex-colleagues at a restaurant, I was already a non-meat eater and they have a laughed in my face to reckon how does a man eat no meat. Being a non-meat eater for a man is a difficult ground principle for him to observe. It is not usual for a man to confine his diets with only greens without meat. Most of the men will eat to a pound of meat in a day. It is a perception of the men, eating meat is a macho trait and being labelled hunky, and being a non-meat eater, is a man associated with less masculine.

I try to join the crowd in the office for lunch, but it had been a tiring toleration for me to accommodate to people every day because I eat a different diet. So, I decided to go for lunch alone. When I was still engaged with the previous job at Jalan Raja Chulan, I took the privilege to have my lunch at the Shridi Sai Baba centre. The centre is a 10-minute walk from my office. A bit after 1.00 pm, I would walk to the centre. After everyone had attended the midday prayer lead by the swami, the rice-pot, a huge one, will be opened and the attendants of the kitchen will serve the rice meal. They served all vegetarian dishes. I enjoyed the vegetarian meals served at the centre. I call it - the happy meal, because the meals I ate were prepared in plain and simple style, very austere but tasty and healthy, served with an add-on of the Indian spices that I like.
Jhareko Paat by Narayan Gopal


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 00:27 Archived in Malaysia

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