Ms. Kelso (right), a 34-year-old executive producer for an interactive ad agency in San Francisco, became a vegetarian while living with a vegan boyfriend. "He was adamant that his cookware not come in contact with any meat products." Because she cares about animals, their welfare, and their ethical treatment, she said, she found it relatively easy to give up meat. But, she says, "I love the taste, so I was one of those vegetarians who would always try all the fake meats."
It was after reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, however, that Ms Kelso was prompted to rethink her reasons for becoming a vegetariannamely her interest in remaining true to personal ethics regarding the impact of food on the environment and society. The book, which came out earlier this year, follows four very different meals from source to table while assessing their ethical, economical, and social impact along the way.
"After reading it, I realized that I was in violation of those ethics even while being a vegetarian," Ms. Kelso said. "Unless I drop out of society, live in the forest, and become a hunter-gatherer, I have an impact based on what I buy, no matter what it is."
In October, she broke her fast from meat with a breakfast of bacon and French toast with her current boyfriend, who, conveniently, is not a vegetarian. But, Ms. Kelso said, if she was going to embrace meat again she wanted to make an occasion of it, and so she came up with the 30 Days of Pork project, which she likened to the 12 Days of Christmas or to the season of Advent.
While she says that she may go back to being a vegetarian (or maybe not), Ms. Kelso is looking forward to the holidays at home, where, she says, her father is awaiting her visit. "He's obsessed with cooking and is very excited about the next time I go out and visit him. He's already planning all his special meat dishes."
All photographs courtesy of Amanda Kelso. View her 30 Days of Pork series in its entirety here.
Originally published on December 22, 2006
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