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Friday, January 25, 2008

The Picky Pescetarian

When I meet new people in some sort of dining context, they invariably discover my dietary choice. Conversations usually run along these lines.

Person: Hey, have some steak; it's really good.
Me: No thanks, I don't eat beef.
Person: Oh! You're vegetarian.
Me: Not really, I eat seafood.
Person: So, you eat chicken.
Me: (thinking I haven't encountered any under the sea) No, just seafood.
Person: So... you're vegetarian!
Me: No, the term I usually use is pesco-vegetarian, to mean I eat fish along with
vegetables.
Person: Hey! We've got a vegetarian in the table!
Me: Argh.

I've used the term pesco-vegetarian to describe myself for the past twelve years or so, which is when I quit eating chicken (I'd quit eating pork and beef years earlier). So I named this blog "The Picky Pesco-Vegetarian" when I started it. Recently though, it has come to my attention that the term "pesco-vegetarian" is causing some controversy, because it implies that it is a form of vegetarianism.

Well, this was certainly not my intent. I used the word because it was the only term I was aware of that was close enough to describing my chosen diet. As mentioned earlier, it was a convenient term to use in describing the foods that I choose to eat, which are, basically fish and vegetables, as opposed to the usual beef, pork, and chicken. (That sentence is rather misleading or downright wrong though; more often than not I just choose to eat chips and chocolate.)

I came across the term "pescetarian" rather belatedly. After rolling the word around my tongue for a bit, I figured that this word is less controversial, and actually sounds more accurate. It says, well... that I eat fish. Now, I know that there are all these discussions as to why people choose to eat fish and not land animals, but I do not really engage in them.

People who find out about my choice of food sometimes challenge me. "Why do you eat fish only? Aren't they animals too?" These are some of the more common questions they ask. My pescetarianism is not some sort of activism. It's just a choice I made. I can't even pinpoint my own motivations. Maybe it's partly for health reasons, partly a result of some traumatic childhood experience involving pig slaughter; I'm not entirely sure. All I know is that I eat seafood, and for now, it seems that the word "pescetarianism" is what captures that definition most accurately. (Which is why I changed the name of this blog.)

Anyway, I'm a live-and-let-live kind of girl, so whatever you choose to eat is fine by me. Anyone is welcome to read and comment on this blog, even if you're neither picky, nor a pescetarian.