Don’t Be Afraid Of the Face on Your Food

Emily Kingsley
6 min readDec 17, 2019

It’s the faceless meats that should scare you.

Photo by Joshua Kantarges on Unsplash

I made hamburgers for dinner last night. Slapped some cheese on them, served them on potato rolls. No big deal. Except it is kind of a big deal, because I stopped eating meat in 2006 and it was my first time preparing and eating burgers since then.

My decision to stop eating meat was a knee jerk reaction, but I grew into reasons for it over several years.

At the time, I had a job on a boat that went out sailing Monday through Friday and spent the weekend at the dock. Friday when we pulled into port, there was a tall stack of white cardboard boxes waiting for us.

Inside the boxes was all of the food we would eat over the next seven days. Giant bags of iceberg lettuce, boxed bananas and frozen blocks of meat. We loaded them onto the boat and lived a constant cycle of fresh foods at the beginning of the week that dwindled to canned applesauce and peanut butter by the end of the week.

One afternoon, the cook asked me to help him make dinner. He instructed me to take an icy 25 pound log of ground beef into the engine room and cut it into smaller pieces so it would defrost more quickly.

I set up the chop saw and watched the spinning blade bite into the mottled pieces of muscle and fat. Flecks of tissue flung across the wall and into my hair and jacket. I grew up on a dairy farm eating meat, so I wasn’t grossed out about the idea of meat, per se. But a feeling of revulsion washed over me as I realized the meat log in my hand was of almost untraceable origin and certainly contained pieces of dozens of different animals.

My childhood was dotted with trips to our local slaughterhouse where my mom and I would wrap packages of meat in white butcher paper and seal them with packing tape. I used my best kindergarten printing skills to write ‘HB’ for hamburger and ‘TB’ for t-bone steaks. The meat of my childhood had been born and raised on the pastures where I played tag and manhunt with my cousins.

Back on the boat, as I carried the flat frozen meat frisbees to the galley, I made the quick but firm decision that I wouldn’t be eating any hamburgers that night.

Emily Kingsley

Always polishing the flip side of the coin. Live updates from the middle class. She/her.