Luv Doc Recommends: 2010 Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off

Old Settlers Park, Sunday, November 7, 2010

Luv Doc Recommends: 2010 Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off

The world is teeming with all kinds of animals you can kill and cook and eat. A good number of them taste like chicken – at least that's what the man at the fried-rat stand in Taipei is going to tell you. Of course, pretty near anything is going to taste like chicken if it's battered and fried – even Homo sapiens. It's doubtful that you would take a bite of deep-fried human flesh in a blind taste test and declare, "Hmmmmm … that tastes suspiciously like Homo." You might, however, say it tastes like chicken, only gamier. Over the centuries, humans have whittled down the number of edible fauna to just a handful of species – generally the fat, slow, quiescent ones. These days – at least on this side of the pond – we've broiled it down to three basic meat groups, any or all of which might end up in a hot dog: chicken, pork, and beef. Someday, through a miracle of genetic engineering, we might even be able to graft them all into one animal: a chiporcow. Ideally the chiporcow would weigh a few thousand pounds; give milk; lay eggs; eat anything, including ground-up parts of other chiporcows; and spend its entire life confined in a cage designed to completely restrict its movement and maximize the tenderness of its flesh. Really, why even eat meat unless you can cut it with a cheap plastic spork? Even still, don't throw away your steak knife in a fit of ecstatic optimism just yet. It might take another 20 or 30 years of genetic engineering to grow a chiporcow that is completely devoid of bones, tendons, and cartilage. Until then, all that stuff can still be pureed into a steroid infused, protein-rich paste that is sure to find its way to a nugget or patty at a fast food restaurant near you. Yum … well, with the right amount of sodium, sugar, and artificial flavoring. It's hard to believe that there are still people out there who insist on killing, butchering, and eating their own meat – not just the crazy ones who are responsible for cats disappearing in your neighborhood, but normal people who wake up in the wee hours, strap on some camo and a fluorescent orange vest, and heroically try to control the mushrooming deer population. Hey, somebody has to do the dirty work – especially when joggers are out there Swiss-cheesing natural predators with laser-sight pistols. Hopefully Gov. Goodhair had the decency to mount his kill (pause for a moment to consider the nastiness of that unfinished sentence) on a cedar fencepost as a warning to all the other coyotes to back off the shih tzus, kittens, and Pomeranians and go back to killing sick cows and lost sheep. Deer? Killing those are a lot of work, unless you're golfing at Lakeway or driving down U.S. 290 in the middle of the night, and coyotes, like just about any other intelligent animal including Homo sapiens, are likely to choose the easy way every time. It's no wonder so many people are vegetarians these days. Meat is a lot of goddamned work – not just with your pastor or psychotherapist exploring the moral implications of offing other living things just to crap them out a few days later, but in a real physical sense, like cold, chewy street fajitas. Getting off the meat tit is getting more popular because it keeps getting easier. People are making plants into just about everything. Why not food? Some people have even figured out how to make great tasting fake-meat dishes. Don't believe it? Head over to Old Settlers Park this Sunday for the 22nd Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off and see for yourself. Taste veggie chilis made by 20 different teams from all around Texas, and decide if you're lazy enough to stop eating meat for good. Love it or hate it, one thing's for sure: It won't taste like chicken.

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