"To me, meat seems like a foreign language. If you say London Broil to me, I don't know what that means. Do you have to broil it? Do you have to be in London? It doesn't make any sense," says freelance writer Tara Austen Weaver, who was raised vegetarian. "In Northern California, 1970s, alternative world of bean sprouts and tofu."
Her new book, "The Butcher and the Vegetarian," is about her attempt as a complete outsider to try to navigate through the world of meat.
"And deal with all of the questions that that brings up of, you know, the environmental impact of meat and health impacts and how much meat should we be eating anyway and how on earth do you cook it, because I really didn't know how to cook."
She was actually prescribed meat a couple of years ago when she sought help for hypothyroidism, which she was diagnosed with when she was 13 years old.
"All of the doctors from the mainstream medical doctors to the Chinese acupuncturist I wen to all told me I needed to eat meat," she said.
Her journey starts in San Francisco and ends in Seattle, which she now calls home.
"There's sort of a series of butchers and salumi makers and cowboys and ranchers and barbecue masters; there's sort of a string of men throughout the book, because it's a very masculine world which was sort of fascinating for me because that's not the world I grew up in."
She says writing the book made her realize just how complicated the food issue really is.
"I learned a lot about how meat is raised in this country and some of the dietary recommendations and how they came to pass. And the politics of it was very surprising, if not shocking. But I was also really gratified because there are people working very hard to provide better solutions."
Did Tara return to the familiar arms of vegetarianism? You'll have to read her book to find out.
"The ending wasn't a huge surprise to me. I had a different ending planned and the story had a mind of its own. I think it may surprise the readers as much as it surprised me, but it wasn't intended at all."
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