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The Eyes Have It

May 16, 2013
Charles Laquidara - Contributing Writer ( , Maui Weekly

I love meat. I can close my eyes right now and imagine a big, juicy, medium-rare hunk of prime cut porterhouse steak with garlic cloves inserted in the seared marble linings sitting on a plate in front of me.

I love New Zealand lamb chops--nice thick, charbroiled to perfection, covered with ground black pepper and dripping with rosemary and mint-flavored natural juices.

I love monchong, opakapaka and sashimi-grade ahi lightly coated with a dash of low-sodium, organic soy sauce.

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It’s broccolini, eggplant, hamakua ali‘i mushrooms and lots of yummy potatoes for me.

If I were going to the electric chair for a crime I did not commit, a crispy, golden brown leg of southern fried chicken for my last meal might make me feel a little better about my situation.

All that being said, I gave up eating anything with eyes (except potatoes) two years ago this week--and it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. I am not sure exactly why I did this. Maybe it was because I read in one of those spiritual yoga books that if you kill an animal to eat for pleasure, the animal will eventually come back to kill you. Maybe it was because I saw a movie once called "Food, Inc." documenting how corporate farms treat animals in ways that most of us can't imagine (and would rather not know about). We don't even want to guess what's happening inside that foul fowl you just put in the oven!

We have all read information from medical journals about how meat consumption has been linked to heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

I always had a problem with the hypocrisy of people being protective and nurturing of their cats and dogs, while at the same time wolfing down a huge pork loin from an animal which is probably ten times smarter than Pooch and Kitty, reasoning that one is a "pet" and the other is "meant to be killed and eaten."

Growing up in a small blue-collar town, I was raised on meat, pasta and potatoes. So if my doctor tells me I've got only a month to live, maybe then I'll go out and strangle a cow and fry up a filet with garlic and onions. But until that day comes, just as an alcoholic who's been two years sober ignores a margarita, I have that same "no option" when the waiter starts reading off the meat and fish specials of the day. It's broccolini, eggplant, hamakua ali'i mushrooms and lots of yummy potatoes for me.

And when those ocean trawlers and their sweeping, indiscriminate nets deplete all the fish in our oceans, my sympathetic, carnivore-raised tummy will certainly be empathetic enough to come up with a polite burp of solidarity to all the millions of mourning poke, sushi and mahi mahi lovers as I put together a salad from my little garden.

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