If you’re not a vegetarian, you’ve probably never noticed that there are two major restaurant food experiences whose meat options consist entirely of pork – breakfast and pizza.
Consider the brunch menu at an upscale diner. You will encounter something called “Applewood Smoked Bacon,” very trendy right now, even though it’s doubtful that anyone in this country even knows what Applewood is. Does it come from a tree, or are they soaking a plank of plywood in apple cider? At any rate, it’s pork. And so is regular bacon, Canadian bacon (the foundation of the traditional Eggs Benedict) and most breakfast sausage.
Because I live in Los Angeles, there is occasionally ‘veggie sausage’ on the menu, or even ‘veggie bacon’, and often you can get Eggs Benedict with salmon instead of Canadian bacon. You’re still eating a dead animal, but not a pig with an attitude and a self-concept. It’s much less guilt-inducing. I know the two places on the East Side that serve such concoctions, and I will be frequenting them. Of course I still have twelve days of beef to enjoy before cows come off my table, so the other day I ordered corned beef hash with my eggs. Pretty arbitrary, I know. And frankly, kind of gross.
But on to lamenting the banishment of pork. The day after my birthday, the first day after declaring my body a pork-free zone, Richard heated up a slice of Bottega Louie pizza for me and I ate it without thinking. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was thinking. I was thinking, Holy Mother of God this is the best, most crispy, salty pepperoni I’ve ever tasted in my life! And then I remembered my pledge, conveniently after I’d chewed the last mouthful.
There is a place in my heart for pepperoni where it becomes completely separated from the cute, pink animal it came from and just becomes a miracle of its own – an immaculately conceived entity that somehow isn’t derived from cruelty and is in fact, a Divine creation put atop a crispy mozzarella wheel just for me. I’m markedly less excited about sausage and bacon, mostly because of the white fat and gristle, but regardless of my preference, it remains a true fact that pizza toppings are all pork. Sure, you can get chicken on your pizza or meatballs, but we all know that’s just wrong.
I’m starting to realize how much meat there is on restaurant menus, and how much I’ll miss it. Maybe the trick will be to avoid brunch outings and embrace the classic Margarita slice.