Monday, October 24, 2011
Probably the best thing that came of this weekend with my dad was the revelation that he's now in it ("it" being veganism) for the animal welfare. This from the guy who told me I was "betraying my heritage" when I went vegan years ago, from the guy who has worked in the restaurant business his entire life, from the guy who, for most of my life, was a proud and vocal foodie. The dad I had then could probably give Anthony Bourdain a run for his money for disparaging comments made about vegetarians and vegans.
It started out as a health thing–his cholesterol was way too high. He'd been on Lipitor for years, was trying to eat well, and exercised constantly, but it never really dropped down to a healthy level, just a less-deadly one. At the time he was working for Zoe's Kitchen, a Greek fast casual chain in the South. Simultaneously he was working with Veggie Grill, a small vegan fast casual comfort food chain in Southern California. They hammered out a contract and my dad moved to Veggie Grill, conveniently located in the same area he's already living. And I got to be stoked that my dad was no longer commuting to Birmingham, Alabama to go to work.
On top of health, it became a I-don't-want-to-be-a-hypocrite thing. Doesn't look too good if the CEO of a vegan chain is eating meat.
Now, I love my dad, but he's not exactly the most compassionate guy. So when he started to give a fuck not just about his health and his image but the plight of factory-farmed animals, I was shocked. Frankly, I'd always thought it seemed more likely he'd become a born-again Christian than give two shits about animal rights. So when he told me, over a plate of enchiladas at Gracias Madre, that he "didn't think it was right, the way we exploit animals," I nearly fell out of my chair. I couldn't believe it. I still can't really believe it. But I'm really happy about it.