Day 20 (of 31 days of free writing)

Sometimes food is deeply connected with religion. Like religion it can be a very sensitive topic. People get energized to proselytize and usually that leaves me feeling cornered and defensive. It all started for me when my first grade teacher told the public school class that today we should not eat meat. She said it was a holy day and if our mother served us meat we should refuse to eat it. I was horrified and said so. If my mother cooked me dinner I was raised to be appreciative. But disagreeing with the teacher turned into an inquiry about what church I went to, which led to me running home in tears because under pressure I could not remember what I had been taught to believe. Lately I’ve had several conversations with people at church about ethical eating. These discussions generally turn into lectures. Their point is that it is unethical to eat meat and dairy products because of the methane gas cattle expel. Also pork, poultry and fish as to be avoided as much as possible. I share their enthusiasm for trying to protect the planet we all inhabit. But do they really need to imply I am committing a sin if I have milk on my morning cereal?