Welcome to Grist’s Nostalgia Week 2020. It’s been a helluva year — so rather than just reflecting on all that went down, we went back a bit further and sought some comfort via nostalgia. But while revisiting “simpler times” may feel like temporary escapes from current disasters like climate change, a pandemic, and attempted coups, they also remind us of how we got here.
The start of my 12-year stint as a vegetarian was not a particularly auspicious one. I was standing over my parents’ kitchen sink, eyes full of tears as I choked down one mouthful after another of cold, cotton-dry chicken breast. At the same time, I engaged in a fiery staring contest with my dad, who had taken it upon himself to enforce his long-promised threat of “You are going to sit here until you finally clean your dinner plate, young lady.”
My stand against meat lasted from age 10 to my early 20s. During that time, my family continued to eat meat, though they never again forced me to join them. Instead, my parents let me forage in the pantry and fumble on the stovetop for my own dinner. My elementary cooking skills meant that I relied on a lot of frozen veg st... Read more