Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Stuck on I-5

I'm not a vegetarian, but spending an hour in stalled traffic next to Harris Ranch on the I-5 was enough to make me think about it. Ever been there? Harris Ranch is a cattle ranch/hotel/restaurant in the middle of the wasteland of the San Joaquin Valley (also called the Central Valley) between Los Angeles and Sacramento/San Francisco.

The restaurant is known for its tasty, tender, 100 percent American beef (no mad cows here, no sir!) and an ambiance of pulverized cow manure and other unpleasant fertilizer smells. Whether driving through during daytime hours or night, you can always tell you're driving by Harris Ranch because the smell will permeate the inside of your vehicle the minute you're in range. Stinky.

I have eaten in the restaurant and the food is very tasty, albeit overpriced. But you don't mind the price for decent food on four hour stretch of asphalt where the only relief from signs proclaiming that Jesus is Lord, almond trees, and silos are truck stops, combination gas station/fast food joints, and the occasional Denny's. Still, there's something innately disturbing about eating at a restaurant that's a few hundred yards from thousands of lowing cattle in pens that look kind of small to be holding that many animals. Mad cows indeed. I'd be pissed off too. I mean, they have room to ramble around, but still... But you go inside the air-conditioned environment and forget about it.

Do I sound callous? I'm not, as stated above, a vegetarian. At the feline breeding facility where I work, I see the food chain in action. I don't eat a lot of red meat, but I occasionally crave it and think there's something to the 'eat right for your type' theory, based on your blood type and where in the evolutionary timeline it falls. Us 'O' types? Hunter gatherers. Meat, nuts and berries. I don't do so well on grains. Instant fatty tummy. And I have canine teeth as well as teeth more suited to an herbivore. Yup, I'm an omnivore. I do, however, make an effort to look for meats and dairy that are free-range and organic (After I'd flipped out over spending nearly six bucks on a gallon of the stuff, Dave talked me into organic milk by telling me that American milk is banned in Europe), and I definitely do not believe in animal testing under any circumstances.

But sitting directly in front of the cattle pens for an hour was definitely one of those experiences that slightly dimmed my enthusiasm for a juicy steak. Slightly.

I dunno where I'm going with this, other to say that I really wish that one of the scientific developments that they'd figure out is the transporter. And I'm also just REALLY glad that I didn't have to pee at this juncture of our drive home.


  • At 2:36 AM, Blogger Mr. Fabulous said…

    Oh, I dunno. Give me a nice medium rare half pound burger dripping with juicy goodness and slathered with ketchup and mustard and mayo...and I'm pretty sure I could eat it right in front of a cow while giving him the finger and questioning the legitimacy of his birth.

  • At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, if I had to get stuck for ages on a stalled freeway by the world's biggest concentration camp for cows, at least it was with you...

  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger zhadi said…

    *snort*. Mr. Fab, you are SUCH the carnivore...and to be honest, I had a grilled sirloin salad for lunch yesterday.

    D, (and where's your sexy picture, baby?), I couldn't agree more!


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