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Amanda: Why Indian food might convince me to go veg

February 28, 2011
When I was little my cousin went through a vegetarian stage.  Inspired by a teacher who told her she should never eat anything with a head on it, my cousin Mollie vowed, from the age of 7, to forgo beef, chicken and pork and opt for veggie burgers for eternity, or at least until she turned 10.  At family cookouts my dad would plop a veggie burger on the grill for Mollie.  Veggie burgers, wrinkled, green and frozen in comparison to the big, round, beef patties my dad crafted himself, seemed as absolutely unappealing to me then as they did a month ago.  Few of my friends in high school and college, too, vowed a promise to abstain from meat, leaving me unaware of and uninterested in vegetarianism’s large hold on people throughout the world, specifically, here in India.

I never considered being a vegetarian until now.  Why?  For one, veggie burgers, unlike the wrinkled, green and frozen ones my dad made for Mollie ten years ago, are the bomb in India.  Like their meat counterparts, they pair well with ketchup and their fresh and spicy taste is completely satisfying.  Speaking of spice, Indian food is super-spicy. Spicy enough, sometimes, to make my eyes water and my nose run.  Vegetables here are fresh and yummy, and since my host family purchases produce from a street market, I know that most everything I eat is local and in season.  Almost everything I eat here is prepared from hand, even the garlic, with its invading scent, that my host mother peels and minces for dinner.

I haven’t actually missed meat at all in the past 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, I suspect being a vegetarian wouldn’t be as fun (or delicious) in the US as it is here.

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