Lifelong vegetarian gone bad
March 15, 2010 12:25 AM   Subscribe

Tips for a vegetarian eating meat for the first time. I am a lifelong vegetarian, and I am interested in trying meat for the (mostly) first time.

I have had some salami lately, which I liked. I ate some fast food hamburgers as an experiment in college (which was ten years ago). What would you suggest as good first meat dishes to try? I am looking for things that won't make me sick. I have heard that eating beef for the first time is harder than chicken or pork. Can you suggest some good dishes to try as a lifelong veggie trying meat?
posted by twiggy32 to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I started with fish.

If you can eat salami, you can probably eat anything. (But avoid hot dogs for a while, just to be on the safe side.)
posted by blue grama at 12:38 AM on March 15, 2010

Fresh Salmon fillet, grilled or oven baked with lemon juice and pepper. Doesn't have as much of a fishy smell as some other fillets. Steaming it works too, all you need is a pot with a cover and a pie pan with some holes punched into it.

Chicken breast, cut into strips. Stir fry with your veggies, or alone with rice or a side dish.

Pork is easy. Frypan, some A1 sauce or something. Side dish again.

Avoid red meats until your system and tastes develop.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:39 AM on March 15, 2010

posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:43 AM on March 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

Surely it's a myth, this idea that it takes any adaptation at all to eat meat (apart from preference)? Our innards know we don't eat meat and stop doing what exactly?
posted by A189Nut at 12:43 AM on March 15, 2010

This question has been asked before.
posted by halogen at 12:57 AM on March 15, 2010

More than once.
posted by halogen at 12:59 AM on March 15, 2010

I was vegan for several years, and got back into it when I was at a fancy schmance breakfast buffet that had really amazing prime rib, and was prix fixe. I figured I had paid for it, so it was as good a time as any.

I didn't take it slowly, and while I didn't get sick, I felt almost high, and crazed with power and energy when I was done.
posted by CharlesV42 at 4:49 AM on March 15, 2010

Treat yourself right - this is a meal you're going to remember. If you live near a good French bistro, go in for some coq au vin. That was how I ended my vegetarianism, and I felt like I had begun to see a new colour.
posted by voronoi at 5:51 AM on March 15, 2010

Start easy, with a little bit of meat, not a big roasted chicken or a hamburger.

Seconding bacon!
posted by kestrel251 at 5:53 AM on March 15, 2010

I left two years of vegetarianism behind with a flaming pineapple full of sweet & sour chicken. It was delicious and I never looked back!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:16 AM on March 15, 2010

I was a lifelong vegetarian until about two years ago. I started with chicken breasts and turkey sandwiches. A little later I graduated to turkey bacon or sausage, scallops, and lobster. I just had salami for the first time a week ago, but red meat is still completely out of the question for me, as well as meat that's still on the bone, like wings. Honestly, I'll probably never eat it.

I've never gotten sick from eating meat since I've been consciously trying to introduce it into my diet. When I was a kid, I did have a few nasty surprises, but I think maybe kids' stomachs are more sensitive anyway.

The one recommendation I would have is to make sure and eat good stuff--cook it yourself or get it from a decent, not fast food, restaurant.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:33 AM on March 15, 2010

There are lots of directions you can go, but I would only add that if you want to have a positive experience (both sensually and physically), make sure whatever meat you have is the best quality available. In other words, don't go to the corner McDonalds for your first hamburger. That stuff is an affront to meat.
posted by Gilbert at 6:57 AM on March 15, 2010

Pork can be difficult, I'd go with a nice chicken dish at a decent restaurant.
posted by Billegible at 7:53 AM on March 15, 2010

as a vegetarian, I think part of starting to eat meat is the consistency - so about 2 years ago I started eating white fish like halibut or cod. Once you can get past the idea of eating meat moving on to other white meat will be easier (or so I can imagine, I'm just sticking with fish).
posted by Unred at 8:07 AM on March 15, 2010

Crunchy bacon. That's the only thing I really seriously miss as a vegetarian. It has a meat (and salt) taste, but not the texture.
posted by anaelith at 9:04 AM on March 15, 2010

Try adding diced meat to something your body is familiar with. We usually eat vegetarian chili but last night we made it with chicken just for a change. Beef would be fine too, but if you're going to use stew meat trim it well, because gristle really spoils the consistency, particularly if you're not used to it.

To veer slightly off topic, remember also that meat handling handling practices are a disgrace, so cook it well. If you have something like a Whole Foods in your area, find out if they carry anything with higher voluntary standards for raising and handling meats, and ask about whether they've been mechanically tenderized or if the producer uses ammonia injection; you want to stay far, far away from anything that uses these practices.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:16 AM on March 15, 2010

I would go with a more tender cut of beef, such as a filet mignon. It's usually a smaller cut, and will not have much in the way of surprising textures or stronger flavors. If you're a little nervous about how it should be done, I would go to a nice restaurant and order one (on the rarer side of) medium rare. This will still be nice and pink, but not so rare as to be off-putting to someone not as used to steak. You'll also keep a lot of the tenderness and flavor, without it drying out and becoming tough.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on March 15, 2010

I didn't eat meat for five years and did not get sick when I started eating meat again. Go some place with really good bacon cheeseburgers.
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 10:45 AM on March 15, 2010

Oh man, coq au vin would be perfect. It'd be as tender as anything possible, but chikenier than you could imagine. I wish I was a vegetarian so I could have some...

But yeah, don't go eating a rare porterhouse. You won't shit for a week, and when you do it'll be in the form of a small ruminate reconstituted.

A189nut I don't know the science, but as someone who eats red meat very rarely, it makes a big difference. At best you get bad indigestions, and at worst it's sort of like the flu. Same thing happens with milk. You can become lactose intolerant through acclimation and have to wean yourself back on.
posted by cmoj at 10:46 AM on March 15, 2010

My wife went from a sushi-eating "bad" vegetarian to beef bourguignon , it went well for her. If you're in the greater Seattle area, please MeMail me and I'll do my best to put you in touch with sources of delicious, healthy, and humanely raised meat.

If you know someone who buys farm-raised and pastured chickens, a plain roast chicken prepared with salt, pepper, and butter is a revelatory experience. A tapas-style restaurant that serves many small portions instead of a single lump of meat is likely a good choice, especially for pork and charcuterie.In Seattle, I recommend Txori. I'd also consider a dish made with oxtail or beef shortribs. These are tough cuts of meat that are generally prepared by stewing or braising for hours. They are also extremely flavorful and, you know, beefy. Also, they release a lot of marrow when cooked which adds flavor and gelatin to the dish. It's awesome. Some people find marrow difficult to digest though, start small.

And please read the River Cottage Meat Manifesto. Eating animals is transcendent and worth doing both well and respectfully.
posted by stet at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2010

I left 25 years of vegetarianism behind and started with bacon, then pork chops. I try to eat only good-quality meats that I buy from the farmers' market. Pork is my new favorite food, but I like turkey quite a bit too. Eat good meat and you'll be fine. Enjoy!
posted by smich at 2:54 PM on March 15, 2010

I was a vegetarian for 4 years. Bacon broke me down, followed by turkey sandwiches and Char-Grill hamburgers. As a carnivore now, I don't think that any particular meat seems to require a lot of digestive effort. You'll probably do fine with most anything. I would eat dishes that correspond to your favorite vegetarian foods, e.g. if you like Thai food just order the curry with chicken instead of tofu.
posted by scose at 3:39 PM on March 16, 2010

Response by poster: Grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with sage. It was yummy.
posted by twiggy32 at 6:11 PM on April 14, 2010

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