I first came across the concept of No Meat May (NMM) in a NewstalkZB interview with Andrew Dickens. Naturally, I rolled my eyes and dismissed the concept as 'ridiculous.' From memory, my exact phrase was: "If people want to try it, good luck to them. But I find the concept ridiculous."
So why am I now one day in to NMM? I fail Junk Free June on day one consistently. I've never attempted Dry July, because it falls during footy season. And calving. To date, I've never made it through a calving without my old mate Gin and I don't intend to start now.
'Think of the content opportunities,' I pitched to my boss. 'It's a social experiment,' I told my co-workers. 'My chance to walk in someone else's shoes and attempt to understand their ideals and values,' I explained to our urban listening audience. 'Don't worry – I'll fail,' I reassured farmers.
That third reason's probably closest to the truth. A great portion of New Zealand's economy hinges upon meat consumption. So, for me it came down to an inability to fathom why anyone would create a gimmicky 'flavour of the month' fad that's so unpatriotic. I wanted to see if cutting meat from my diet could, or would, lead to a higher perspective…or just anemia.
Now, I love May. Not only is it my middle name (albeit spelt slightly differently – Mae), but it's synonymous with two of my favourite things in the whole world. New Zealand music and duck shooting. When I uprooted my life and moved to Dunedin in January, the first thing I did was book flights home for duck shooting.
Our maimai has a name 'The Hilton,' a working fireplace (not to be used on cloudless days), and the boys constructed it from scratch from an old bus shelter. We sleep in it every year, and despite the regular stench of decaying mice that snuck across the boardwalk over the summer months, it's one of my top five places in the world to be.
So, understandably, I'm a little nervous to rock up this weekend, clutching my shotgun, tofu and some vegetarian sausages. A lot of maimais don't allow female shooters, let alone temporarily vegetarian ones.
But that's not going to be the only challenge this month. The following weekend, I'm back home again. This time to MC the Southern North Island Wood Council Awards and I'll let you in on a little secret.
The best part of being an MC is the incredible food you are served up at functions. Succulent lamb, tender beef, mouth-watering chicken. Every time. Asking for the vegetarian option is going to hurt. Food envy could be the undoing of me.
Another factor that could come into play this month, is my utter lack of vegetarian cooking skills. I've long maintained I could never survive as a vegetarian for this very reason. This will be interesting. I don't think Pita Pit with falafel every meal's gonna cut it.
Above all else, the biggest fear I have is the embarrassment of failing by simply forgetting. So often we pop food in our mouths without any conscious decision regarding it. I'm dreading the office morning tea, now that Boss 1 (The old Pipesy) initiated a revolt and succeeded in getting sausage rolls and cheerios put back on the menu. I can already picture walking past on my way to the studio and oh so casually, popping a savoury in my mouth.
I'll be taking bets on how long I'll last at this folly. I'm not gonna lie, the odds for me going the distance are not flash - this may be a safe 'TAB Sports Bet of the Week' for my junior offsider Lashes on Friday.
P.S. I've just given this to Boss 2 (The old Macca) for proofreading. Not only did he laugh me out of his office, but gleefully pointed out May also boasts National Lamb Day. The odds for me failing by Thursday May 24th just shortened dramatically.
P.P.S. Wairarapa farmers Lynley and Matt Wyeth are spearheading the 'invite a townie to dinner on National Lamb Day' initiative. What a great concept! That's something I could really get behind. Surely being inclusive as opposed to restrictive is better for the soul. Is it too late to back out now?