The Fartersons invited us all over to celebrate the Fourth with a bunch of food. And among the food, there was BARBECUE.

I don't think I can adequately express how much I love barbecue--when I say "barbecue," I am referring to what Yankees some people call "pulled pork;" a thick layer of red sauce does not automatically bestow barbecue status on some lucky, lucky, lucky meat.

I didn't know what barbecue was until we moved to Tennessee, but I was only twelve then, and I immediately became a fan of that luscious, tender dish. It has been my birthday dinner for almost twenty years. I have defended it in the wilds of Iowa, where they tried to convince me that grilled chicken legs dipped into some hickory sauce was barbecue. I have stared in disbelief, in Kansas, at a piece of fried bologna painted red with Heinz 57 that was clearly mislabeled as barbecue. I have held back my vomit in Missouri when the school cafeteria tried to pass off some canned Manwich (MANWICH!!) sloppy joe mix on a bun as barbecue. "Lady," I thought, but didn't say, "I KNOW BARBECUE. And that, ma'am, IS NOT BARBECUE."

So, obviously, I love it, okay? Love the smell, love the taste, love to see it cooking, love love love love love love love.

Oh. But I'm not eating meat now.

And, staring down at that huge aluminum square piled full of beautiful barbecue, I realized that I am a stupid, stupid girl.

Because it was GORGEOUS. And it smelled SO GOOD. And it was RIGHT THERE.

For a minute, I considered diving headfirst into that barbecue. That would have been embarrassing, yes, but it also would have meant I'd have that whole container to myself.

It was tempting, mighty tempting.

But I passed it by, and settled down with some macaroni and some fruit. VERY dissatisfying. Not at ALL the same. QUITE a letdown.

I allowed myself to be joyless for a second, but just a second. Maybe two.

The victory here is that I passed a major test, the first real test of vegetarianism!

Do they make soy barbecue?


Shannon said...

When you said the macaroni was "dissatisfying," I SUUUUURE hope you meant that it's not what you WANTED, not that it wasn't very good. If not....I know where you live. Muhhaaaaaaa :)

Mei said...

Yes, the macaroni was very very good, it was the best macaroni ever made, oh I wish I knew who'd made it, etc.

But it wasn't barbecue.

Anonymous said...

Watching you do a swan dive in the BBQ would have been very satisfying for me. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as vegetarian barbecue! It's make with seitan, not soy, but it's delicious and so good it can please even the most die-hard carnivores.

Get this book and make the Caribbean Seitan BBQ Wings. (It's one of the signature dishes of a Philadelphia upscale vegan restaurant.) Drop me an e-mail if you'd like more info.

J said...

wow, that's impressive! good job resisting such delicious temptation!

Amy said...

You are too funny! Congrats for passing the test...not sure how you did it

Mei said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Marsha; I'll be sure to look for seitan on my next trip to the grocery store.

J and Amy, it was not easy resisting, that's for sure!!!


Made by Lena