Casual Chain: I grew up in a traditional Mexican household- my family held a bbq involving a live pig- my mother was a very strong Mexican woman who s cooking meant eating- I haven t eaten red meat since.
I was born in Ventura, California into two strong Mexican families. Families who were mostly born and raised in Mexico. Strong traditions and households were kept up for many years. I, however, was moved with my immediate family when my dad received a job working in Sisters, Oregon. We moved when I was one. I was born in California, but raised in Oregon. Because of my father s job transitions, we have moved several times in and out of Oregon and Washington. We have stayed in Central Oregon the longest period of time so far. We have been here for almost 9 years. My sister and I were fortunate enough to uphold our Mexican traditions and values. We are also fortunate in the fact that we have parents who have traveled many miles to California over many years to keep our family close to us. That is also anther Mexican value, family is the most important.
In a VERY traditional Mexican household the woman s responsibilities are that of the home and family. These responsibilities are taken extremely seriously and are considered the job of that woman. Taking care of the children, food, husband, and house are a few of those jobs. Now, everything I have just mentioned would be considered the duties of a household that is normally seen in Mexico. Because my family is fortunate, my mother works full time as a teacher and my father also works. These duties taken by a traditional Mexican woman were not strictly for my mother in our home, they were taken care of by both parents. Over generations there are still certain acts, responsibilities, or attitudes carried down from these traditions. One of those in my home was the food. Some Mexican women who cook, take it very personally when you don t eat what they have made. This is a sign of disrespect. My mother doesn t take it as personally as some Mexican women I have seen before, but she always emphasized we eat all that is on our plate. She emphasized it so much, that one night she made meat loaf and I wouldn t eat it. She made me sit there for 2 hours before she let me go to bed, I guess she saw how stubborn I was getting about it. This was the beginning of the end for me.
On year when I was about 10, we took one of our regular summer trips to southern California to visit our family. Luckily, both sides of my family live in the same area. It is our tradition that we have family bbq s at my grandfather s house. All the grand kids come and aunts and uncles, there must have been over 30 people at this one in particular. It was great at first, all the kids were playing and the aunts and uncles talking. My grandfather was the most traditional of all from my mothers side, so I should have guessed something like what I was about to see was bound to happen. As everyone was socializing I look over and see my grandfather and an uncle carry in a live pig. We had a yard about the size of a house in the back. They told all of the kids to sit up on the fence as they let the pig go. It ran around as they chased it and caught it. They tied it s legs and arms together as the butchered it right in front of everyone. I couldn t watch, but I could still hear the pig as it was being killed. That was everyone s dinner for the bbq. I couldn t believe what had just happened. I ran over to my mom and asked why they did what they did. They said that it was a tradition in Mexico and that it was a normal thing to do. I couldn t even eat that whole day. That day, as well as the day my mother made me sit at the table to eat meatloaf, were the two days that made me a vegetarian.
To this day, when people ask me why I am a vegetarian I think about those two days. They play back in my mind like a movie. Most people s response would be because I don t eat animals , or it s cruel to eat animals , or even it doesn t taste good . My answer is I was traumatized. Now, that might be a little funny now that it s been almost 11 years since that incident happened, but I just can t forget that day, nor will I ever forget that day.