At home, Ian and I are moderate vegans. I understand that this is an oxymoron—Veganism is nothing if not a serious lifestyle choice, with, frankly, little room for moderation. True vegans not only don’t eat meat; they don’t eat anything that comes from an animal without killing it (cheese, or rather milk products, eggs, even honey), and naturally, they don’t wear leather. Certainly, they don’t abandon their beliefs in the interests of “cultural experiences”, particularly when the “culture” being experienced is merely a subset of Americana. For us, though, food choices have been more related to health than to moral values (well, me a little more than Ian, who was a vegetarian when we met and is only a little less so now). Therefore, at home in Seattle, where every supermarket has a sizeable organic food section and several are almost entirely organic, and even the freezer sections offer countless vegan TV dinners, our daily diet includes no meat except fish, no dairy except parmesan cheese (and the occasional slab of Haloumi: The Cheese that Grills), and eggs only in baked goods.
In Santa Fe, it was actually pretty easy to avoid meat (although I didn’t always; the crispy, aromatic hotel-buffet bacon, the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, the Cuban-spiced pork sandwich . . . hmmm. I’m sensing a salty pork-product theme . . .); most enchiladas, burritos, even tamales were usually offered with a choice of cheese filling along with choices of beef and chicken and pork. Occasionally we lucked out with calabacitas (little squashes) offered instead . . . but by the end of the trip, I had so jumped on the dairy-product bandwagon that I insisted on an entire hot queso dip appetizer (and boy was it good). But you can have too much of a thick, creamy, salty-tangy-spicy good thing. I haven’t had a drop of dairy today, and I have a headache. But, I’m home again, and hair-of-the-chili-cheese-dog-that-bit-me isn’t on the menu.