This is a follow up post to the one about why I became a vegetarian. You may want to read that one first. Maybe not. If not, I have taken the liberty of providing a summary below:
I ate meat. Then I didn’t. Then I did. Dun dun duuunnnnnnn.
So, like I said, while I was living in Amsterdam I went on holiday to Barcelona with my friend, Malika. We went out for dinner and I was eating my veggie meal, as per usual, and she was eating this Seafood Dish From Heaven that completely distracted me away from my vegetarian ways. A few short weeks later, after being a vegetarian for a full 10 years, I would dice and spice and chow down on my very first skinless, boneless, everything-less single chicken breast in a very long time.
Right around this time, before I had the great fortune of meeting the studly John who would later become my husband, I went on a date. With a non-vegetarian French dude. I was making a habit of restricting my meat eating adventures to restaurants because I had no confidence in my ability to actually cook meat and I didn’t want to poison myself and die alone in my apartment. If a restaurant poisoned me to death at least there would be people around and I would have someone to sue.
So, on this particular evening I decided that I would order The Fish.
The waiter brings us our food and places our dishes on the table. I am devoting a lot of attention to making sure I am correctly deciphering this guy’s uber refined French accent. But not so much I don’t notice that the fish flopped out in front of me LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A FISH. This is shocking for someone who likes her meat presented in indistinguishable chunks. I am shaken, but I soldier on. I throw caution to the wind and shovel a forkful of this very fish-looking fish into my mouth.
And I immediately get stabbed in the tongue by 5,000 bendy, albeit razor sharp pointy bones that are now violently accosting my mouth like lego-sized swords with a vendetta.
I freeze mid-chomp. WHAT THE HELL. What do I do? Do I spit my mouthful of half chewed tacks out in front of this guy I hardly know? Do I discreetly pluck the bones out of my mouth one at a time and covertly tuck them into my napkin? Do I excuse myself to the ladies room and spit out my fish flavoured bones somewhere along the way?
Finally, I break into the conversation:
French Guy: Allo. I am French… I am saying French zings…
Me (mouth kind of full): Why in the hell do you people eat this crap that STABS YOU IN THE FACE?
“You people” meaning people who eat stabby fish. Not French people. Just so we’re clear.
French Guy looks at my pinched up face and then down at my plate. There may have been an eye roll in there, but I can’t be sure. He points out evenly:
French Guy: You didn’t take ze bones out.
Me (in my head): Yeah DUH. I also didn’t haul out my canoe for a fishing expedition and club Nemo to death MYSELF, that’s what I come to a RESTAURANT for.
Me (out loud): Oh? Oh yes, right, right. The bones. Ha, ha, heh. I’ll just… with the bones here… hmmm… remove all these silly little suckers… hmmm…
And so I begin removing the bones. One by one by one hundred by one million until finally French Guy figures if he is ever going to get out of there he is going to have to help the uncooth Canadian eat her food. So he picks up his fork with a flourish, reaches over my plate and deftly lifts all 8 trillion offending bones up and off of my meal by the spine (do fish have spines?) revealing a completely edible dish that doesn’t resemble a porcupine at all.
Nothing makes a girl feel classier than having to be shown how to eat her food. Maybe he could have cut it up for me too. And wrapped a ‘kerchief around my neck so I didn’t slop all over myself. Evidently fancy Europe was not rubbing off on the likes of me.
Moral of this story: When you stop being a vegetarian bad things happen.
Consider yourself warned. You’re welcome.
(to be continued…)