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Corned corn

Fri, Mar 14th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

So it’s St. Patrick’s Day: wear some green, eat a green cupcake, and possibly drink green beer. After spending almost a decade down in the Chicagoland area, where Irish heritage is a big, big deal, it’s quite a change of gears to be back in the area where I grew up where the population is mostly Germanic or Scandinavian. There is a rather vocal minority of Irish in La Crosse, and even an Irish festival, but those really can’t hold a candle to the juggernaut that is Oktoberfest or the plethora of Lutefisk suppers that dot southeastern Minnesota.

So, what’s a fellow to do come St. Paddy’s Day, when everyone’s supposed to be a little bit Irish? Well, normally for me it would be settling in with some fantastic music and dining on the well-known corned beef and cabbage, but this year we’re going to have to go for something different.

You see, I made a bet. Not really a bet, but more of a challenge to myself. Frankly, I got sick of looking more and more like the long-lost twin of my beanbag chair, so I decided to take some drastic actions to lose some weight. For the son of a son of a farmer who grew up eating meat and potatoes almost every night, the thought of suddenly going meatless five days a week is scary, let me tell you... but so is a life cut short by bad health decisions. Seeing as how I could have served as an unofficial sponsor for a well-known fast food chain during my college days, I think it was as good a time as any to lay off the meat a bit.

I could go on and on about how it’s better for the environment, or how it’s humane in some way, but in all honesty the motive is purely selfish. I want to lose weight, plain and simple, and cutting out meat looks like a way to do it. I’m about a week into my decision to only be a carnivore on the weekends, and although I haven’t dreamed of any cheeseburgers a la Jimmy Buffett, I do find that by the time Thursday or Friday rolls around, I look forward for the chance to sink my teeth into a Sunday roast or a Saturday sausage pizza. Still, I have to admit that cutting out meat seems to be keeping me a little more healthy...if only slightly more miserable. That’s a small price to pay to hopefully see 100 years old someday, right? I sure hope so, or I’m going to be very disappointed... and hungry.

So today, this St. Patrick’s Day, unlike all the others I won’t be dining on beef, chicken, or even something exotic like lamb in an authentic Irish stew. It’ll be meatless all the way, for my health and for my waistline...but just to show solidarity, I’ll be sure to color something green.

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