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David Metzger: Vegetable Love

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Listener David Metzger loves meat and eggs, and his wife eats neither. But when he considers the world he wants to inhabit, those veggies are looking and tasting better.

My wife is a vegetarian, but not a ‘Let’s save the world through what we eat’ vegetarian. I’m sure she’d love to save the world, although she has never said so. The truth is my wife feels physically ill when assaulted by the smell of fish or smokey meat. She also does not like eggs, which proves her love for me because I am obsessed with them.

After we were no longer ‘just friends’, but before we officially began dating, I surprised her one morning by baking her a Dutch pancake. This baked treat has only four basic ingredients, the most important of which is eggs. Serving it, I was so proud of my creation, like a culinary puppy panting for approval. She ate a thick slice of that spongy pancake without one awkward wince for the eggy mess it was. She even complimented me.

I understand now that it was not the dish, but the intention behind it which pleased her. I didn’t do it particularly well, but this woman who would become my wife, loved that I cooked for her. Cooking is what she usually does for others. For her, cooking is a love letter; a poem of tastes, textures, and aromas which communicate her devotion to her craft and affection for those she cooks for.

Our kitchen is a place populated mostly by cheese, legumes, and various leafy green vegetables, and I am functionally a vegetarian within it. At restaurants or at work, at the homes of friends or at the homes of enemies, on the street, in the bathroom, really anywhere outside our own kitchen, meat has always been my first choice.


But the irony is that I actually am the ‘Let’s save the world through what we eat’ person or at least I’d like to be one. So, I have decided to eat as little of the meat I love as possible. I can no longer tell my children that my beloved meaty cravings are more important than their future world. Becoming a vegetarian is my love letter to my kids. It is a poem of action and hope devoted to them and the world they will inhabit.

And now that we can share dishes when we are out to eat together, my wife is oh-so-happy to inhabit that world, too.

With a Perspective, I’m David Metzger.

David Metzger is a father, pediatric nurse and author.

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