TUESDAY

“Ewww! How can you eat that?” my 10-year-old cousin Bridgette says, scrunching up her nose as I take a bite of the barbecue tofu strips on my plate. As usual, I’ve made my own food, so that I could have something to eat at the family cookout. I turn to Bridgette: “How could you eat that?” I ask, pointing to her chicken leg. “Because it’s good,” she says. “No, it’s not,” I return. And so we go back and forth. I honestly don’t understand how people can eat chickens, pigs, cattle, fish, and turkeys. They’re all such nasty animals—eating their own feces, scum off the ground, trash. I guess people are just used to eating crap. And although I wasn’t raised as a vegetarian, I never liked a lot of fleshy foods. My brothers used to tease me because I didn’t know how to eat chicken; I would leave all of the meat on the bone. Really, deep down, I think most people don’t like meat; rather, it’s the sauce—curry, barbecue, teriyaki—and the batter that people crave. No one wakes up thinking, Hmmm…I really have a hankering for a dry-ass piece of turkey with nothing on it. This Sunday, as many people sit down for Easter dinner, there will be five or more vegetarian dishes—macaroni and cheese, collard greens—and only one or two meats. And in my house, meat will be very scarce, because my mom, grandfather, and aunt are all becoming vegetarian. Beware, Bridgette: You’re next, so you might as well go to “Vegetarianism: A Lifestyle You Can Live With” at noon Tuesday, April 17, at Martin Luther King Memorial Library’s Auditorium, 901 G St. NW. Free. (202) 727-1175. (Maori Karmael Holmes)