In this story from the Pacific News Service, a 23-year-old Iranian-American discusses the difficulty of being vegetarian after growing up as part of a very meat-centric culture. Her story is probably familiar to us in one way or another when we’ve had to explain why we’re vegetarian or what being vegetarian means to those close to us that just don’t understand.
I was raised on jeegar (cow tongue), kabob (beef or chicken cooked on a skewer) and mahi (fish). I can’t name a single dish I ate as a child that didn’t contain meat. Almost no vegetarian Iranian dishes exist. Even lubia polo, which is Spanish-style rice and string beans, contains little pieces of ground beef. That’s why, to my 75-year-old grandmother, not eating meat just doesn’t make sense.