Thursday, January 9, 2014

I've come full circle

While I officially renounced my vegetarianism in late 2012, after a 16 year stint, 2013 was truly the year of the meat for me. In fact, that will be the official title for here on out.

While it's one thing to just start eating meat, the real challenge for me (aside from varying things and not just eating bacon 3 meals a day) was cooking. Since I gave meat up at age 13 (I don't know how my parents put up with me either), I really never cooked it until last year.

Cooking meat for me was (and is) always slightly terrifying. Just getting the technique right to make it taste good was a new skill. But the really scary part was the threat involved. If you undercook vegetables, they are just gross. If you undercook beef, you will get Botulism and die a horrible death.

Here's my other issue. I don't really want to think about the journey from roaming beast to Alyssa's dinner plate. I do not like to be reminded that I am eating body parts. Examples of words I prefer not to hear about my meal: thigh, bone, and most especially, skin. I do not want to eat "ribs" (and I haven't, yet). I want to eat a burger, in a burger shape, and never discuss the cow that nobly gave his life.

 I would like to be as disconnected from my food as humanly possible, ideally avoiding it in raw form altogether. Eric is really good about browning beef, shredding chicken, or doing whatever meat preparation is required for a recipe. (I mean, let's face it, it's the least he can do considering how much his life has improved this year.) But the problem is, he has a job, and other responsibilities, and isn't able to be at my beck and call for chef duties.

I wanted to begin to get over my aversion, and started 2014 off strong. We got a special meatloaf pan for Christmas, so I decided to bite the bullet. I purposely planned to make it while Eric was at a basketball game (he coaches 8th grade boys).

My family has been raving about the Pioneer Woman meatloaf, and they really didn't need to twist my arm. First of all, it's Pioneer Woman. Second of all, it's wrapped in bacon.


Full disclosure: I was sort of dreading the part where I had to mix up all the meat and other ingredients with my hands. Like all day long. But when the time came, I rolled up my sleeves, closed my eyes, focused on my podcast, and it wasn't even that bad.

While the meatloaf cooked, I did my weekly powerwalk. 4.5 miles in an hour.

I did have a bit of a dilemma. Meatloaf is traditionally served with ketchup (and of course PW fancies up her ketchup in her recipe), and believe me when I say I would rather get another root canal than eat something covered in ketchup. It's public enemy number one for me. So I made the PW sauce recipe but subbed tomato sauce.

I didn't realize that our special meatloaf pan takes twice as long to cook the meatloaf. So I did almost die of hunger when it took until 8pm for it to reach 160 degrees, aka the non-botulism temperature.

In the meantime, I used my cast iron skillet to make a side dish - caramelized Brussels sprouts.

Eric walked in right as the meatloaf was done, and we were both basically rendered speechless at dinner, because that's how good the meatloaf was. SO worth the wait.

I think it's safe to say that making bacon wrapped meatloaf is the antithesis of vegetarianism. Now I look back on those days like I look back at ex-boyfriends:  I can't believe I ever went there. Such a mistake. Such dark times. Actually, vegetarianism is way worse than any former relationship I've had. Don't try it, seriously.

You might think tonight sounds perfect, but believe it or not, last night was just as good. I had a happy hour date with all my favorite running store coworkers, and I was looking forward to it all week.

The best part about a running store date? It's perfectly acceptable to meet before, run, and show up in sweaty running clothes. I actually forgot this, and woke up at 5am to run on the treadmill before work. Luckily, I immediately realized how insane that was, sent out an email, and went back to sleep.

I met my friends Katrina and Alex at 6:30 to run. They're faster than me, so they pushed me to do 8 miles at an 8:43 pace. Even with the temperature in the teens, it flew by.

After the run, I went to get my free Starbucks drink of the day before meeting up with everyone. I know it's sacrilegious, but when it's this cold, I'd rather have a nice hot chocolate or coffee than wine. While I was crossing the street, I completely wiped out on black ice, right at an intersection with a ton of cars waiting to go through the light. It was one of those falls where you don't even know what happened until you are on the ground.

My first reaction was "DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO MY MAGIC MUG??". Luckily, it was ok. It didn't even occur to me to check on my previous most prized possession, my iphone, until like 5 minutes later.

Finally, I would like to note that I didn't get home until 11pm. On a school night.

What food is your public enemy number one?


  1. I love how cooking meat is so terrifying for you. Now I feel like a badass because sometimes, I don't even check to see if chicken is done. I just poke it and if it's firm, I take a bite. I like to live dangerously.

    1. hey nice post Alyssa. I like your style of writing. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog titled How Are You Spending Your Remaining Days? .
      keep up the good work.


  2. PW is the next Paula Dean. Her foods are soooo delicious but also soooo unhealthy! Sometimes you gotta live a little though!

    I sort of hate cooking poultry just because the temps do have to be right. It sort of scares me. I always cut it open to check for pink. Beef is so much more forgiving! Have you ever heard of Cannibal burgers? Sick

  3. If you under cook beef you're more likely to get E. coli and and you may die, but more likely you'll wish you were dead. If you want some Botulism just eat honey... all honey has Bot spores in it. I have a degree in food science :) And yes, I realize that really wasn't the main point of the post.

    Great job on the bacon-wrapped meatloaf. That's a lot of raw to deal with! And I'm glad your mug was okay. It would totally suck if you failed on your New Years resolutions on day 9.

    P.S. You're totally safe with chicken nuggets, since chickens don't have nuggets.

  4. I told Mike about your dinner and he looked at me, looked at the frittata I made him, and goes, "Don't ever tell me things like that again." I'm such a failure as a wife.

    I've cooked meat twice and it was for Bungee when she was sick. So, yeah.

  5. I hate raw chicken, it's so gross and nasty. I've gotten better, but I used to make Justin cut all raw food. I'm so glad your magic mug was ok!

  6. I love your new meat eating side. ANYTHING is better wrapped in bacon! And you eventually get over the meat/raw meat texture. When I quit being a vegetarian, I made Patrick cook all the meat because it freaked me out and I was terrified I'd mess it up. But it's been a couple years now and it doesn't bother me at all. You really should try ribs though - they are INCREDIBLE. Just have Eric remove the bones for you so you don't realize what they are.

  7. Okay, I would have learned about your ketchup distaste if I read these in order! The meatloaf does look tasty. I make a WW one that I added more sugar to (because this is important) in the form of grape jelly. It's very good!


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