In 1991, when I was 10 years old, I had a profound and clarifying moment in the Krogers on Kenwood Road in Cincinnati, while accompanying my mom on a trip to the store. I got separated from her and spent several minutes gazing into the live lobster tank, saddened by their inevitable demise, wishing I would some day win the lottery and be able to buy all the lobsters and bring them home with me to live in my bathtub.
That day I became a vegetarian. I spent the next several years of middle school heckling the kids eating their baloney sandwiches, muttering" poor little piggy" under my breath, just loud enough for them to hear, and people like my grandpa would pick fights with me and tell me that plants scream when you cook them.
My dad was just getting his store going and marketing his hummus and stuffed grape leaves to the local vegetarian potluck group. I became something of a celebrity in the local vegetarian scene, the cute kid at the Earthsave potlucks and Audubon society lectures. My dad even quoted me a local fundraising cookbook saying "daddy, I don't want to eat anything with a face".
My philosophy on vegetarianism has evolved over time. What started out as a very simple equation [animals = cute, meat = animals, food ≠ animals] grew into a genuine and politicized concern about animal rights and welfare [I think I joined PETA in the 8th grade], into a growing concern for the environment and social justice, one in which I found a community of support in college. Throughout the years, as I've done more organizing work, I've come to believe that my dietary decisions mean very little in the grand scheme of things.
It is only in the last 8 months that I started occasionally eating fish. It wasn't any ceremonial decision; it happened slowly. someone offered me a tuna fish sandwich at an airport and I was like, it sure beats $8 panini, why the hell not. Despite the fact that it is mostly illogical, seeing as how fish have faces and all, pescetarianism was starting to feel like a good fit to me.
I rarely cook with fish, but cans of tuna have saved my lunch on several occasions. I'm still pretty squeamish when it comes to eating anything too fleshy. In fact, the last time I made fish, Ann had to cut it for me, while I stood cringing behind her crying "ew barf eww eww gross". But the cans of tuna require little in the way of "dealing", are cheap, healthy and non-perishable, and can be used creatively in so many different things.
This tuna salad is mayo free, and as such will stand up to the 100 degree temperatures so typical of....June [?!?]. Lime+Cilantro+Chili+Corn+Tomato. I don't know what else to call it except "southwest" which makes it sound like some dumb thing at T.G.I. Fridays, but whatever. It tasted good!
Southwest Tuna Salad
3 cans chunch light tuna, drained and pressed with a paper towel
1 can corn
1 tomato, chopped
1 bunch chopped scallions
1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, smashed
hot pepper of your choice [I used Birdseye chilies]
juice of 1 lime
touch of olive oil
lotsa sea salt
There isn't much too this...just mix all the ingredients and enjoy on a wrap, bun or with crackers.
p.s. hope you like my new look!