Unlike some members of my family, and hoards of folk who are more devout followers of their respective faiths, I attach no religious significance to what goes into my belly. I was brought up to respect the cow and not eat the pig. But what did the lamb and goat and sheep and chicken do wrong in the presence of the cosmos? How come we eat those without guilt?
The brahmin I stubbornly asked this burning question of my youth patiently explained that all other animals are holy too and hence, the true Hindu is meant to be vegetarian, which in all fairness, a lot of Hindu people are.
However, when those who see me biting into a juicy New Zealand beef cheese burger (well done, and accompanied by a potent garlic mayo and chunky chips) or buying pork chops give me the evil eye – or someone in my family purses their lips at any allusions to beef eating tendencies, I say [cow’s] bollocks to you. There are more important, and less hypocritical things in life, and it is pointless following the black and white without questioning, or just following. You may eat sheep and still be able to sleep at night without a nice cup of horlicks, but that does not mean you have to be one.
I believe abstaining from pork or beef does not bring eternal happiness and forgiveness from the universe, nor will it ensure the next life will be any better than a rat’s. It does not make one a better person and it certainly does not define one, or make one a more devout Hindu (I’m non-practising, by the way). It just means you’re a really fussy eater.
Now if you chose not to eat something because you didn’t like to taste, or not used to eating it and it made you gag slightly (like me with what is almost a Scandinavian staple – salt licorice), or are indeed allergic to it, then that’s a whole different story.
Anyway, the reason for all this word sprouting is that we had pork cutlets last night with a warm potato salad and fresh ribbons of lettuce, carrot and apple. Served the meat with a spicy garlic and red onion butter -it was truly delicious, and I slept like a baby.