dont feel bad, it’s the best food I ever had.


Major former-vegetarian confession coming: Grilled duck is fucking delicious.

It’s succulent, tender and juicy as hell.

A brief history of my foodieism: My life-long vegetarianism started as a general dislike of meat. As a kid I pushed the pot roast around my plate, horrified by the smallest glisten of fat, until incurring sufficient sympathy to be excused to pour a bowl of cereal.

As an adult, every piece of animal product tasted wrong to me, and I went vegan. Living in both San Francisco and Portland, I ate (and loved) homemade veggie burgers and oven-baked sweet potato fries and avocado salads. I checked labels and asked too many questions at restaurants.

And slowly it became no longer a simple preference of taste, but an environmental clearance. The raising of farm animals, the long transport routes, the packaging. To me, it equaled a seriously negative footprint.

But with this stance came a catch I repeated endlessly: If I lived in a place where eating meat was sustainable, I’d do it without another thought.

Fast forward to life in SE Asia, and it was time to make the change. Practice what I preached. Love the duck. Chew the fat.

I hesitated for a moment at my first blood soup and my first fish belly, but in the end, everything about the way we eat here is sustainable. I watch my eggs be collected, my chickens die, my fruits fall from the tree.

I eat organs and suck bones dry.

Because here, nothing is wasted. What we eat is a part of who we are and how we live. Everything is connected in an integral way that benefits our health, the stability of the land, the success of the crops and the vibrant, communal, food-driven culture.

Now in Asia, I chew that fat with pride.

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7 Responses to “dont feel bad, it’s the best food I ever had.”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Eating duck has a certain cosmic balance to it.

  2. Dennis Says:

    I have to admit this blog title I had to look up. Sorry.

  3. Linda Says:

    They say as you grow life looks different. I have enjoyed your journey so much. Listening to you experience life has helped to shape my journey. Leslie, thank you for opening my eyes a little wider through your heart.

  4. Lu Ann Meyer Says:

    I had to look it up too. Funny how we adjust our ways depending on the circumstances.

  5. somchai Says:

    Maybe when you get back to the States go out and kill something wild close to where you live. Lao food uses just about all parts and we have excess animals. Sin paa saap, and it’s sustainable too. ;-)

  6. Leslie Says:

    we do eat EVERYTHING here. it’s great. i was having dinner with some new friends in sumatra the other day and looked at all our plates and realized i cannibalized my food so much more than anyone else. i was literally sucking on the bones!

  7. Ekua Says:

    I think it´s so great when people utilize the whole animal. I am still getting over my squeamishness about that, but have explored that world a little bit. Yesterday in a park in Mexico, I saw a little boy eating random chicken parts like it was no big deal. Very interesting to watch kids who´ve grown up thinking that was no big deal!

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