When you make the switch to vegetarianism, you develop hawk eyes. You can detect bacon crumbles in your creamy potato soup, and you become suspicious to any meal that was prepared by someone else.
Trust issues? Yes, but it’s not you, it’s me.
The paranoia is well warranted. Meat can be found in almost everything, from actual meat dishes to broths and salad dressings. Even gelatin in Jell-O is a by-product of meat processing.
So whenever I’m at a party or a dinner function that serves appetizers I have to ask, “Is there meat in this?” The response is a mix between an acceptance of my dietary choices and a “you tree-hugging hippie” look, which I grew accustomed to since moving to the Midwest.
Giving up meat had never been a problem for me. There was no horrifying PETA video back in high school or health reasons that convinced me to make the change. I just stopped and never regretted it.
So I knew something was wrong when I felt compelled to revert back to my carnivorous tendencies for a two-week trip to Russia.
It was after a class discussion about why the rest of the world hates Americans that I started doubting my three-year commitment. The idea of seeming like an ungrateful American for not eating meat was more unsettling than the bomb threats.
Images of me snacking on some American brand potato chips while everyone else ate authentic Russian cuisine haunted me. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy my trip if I weren’t eating Russian food.
So I did some research before I made any rash decisions and was surprised to find that a lot of Russian cuisine is vegetarian friendly.
- A dumpling that can be sweet or savory
- Each variety comes in a mixture of different options
- All meat, all vegetable or all berries
- A beet soup
- Served hot or cold
- Temperature determines the other ingredients
- Sweet, meat or vegetable options
These are just a few dishes I would get to try while keeping true to my commitment. I probably will still look like an ungrateful American, but at least I won’t be hungry.
BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 22 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.