Monday, May 12, 2008

Bacon, Etc.

The first Muslims I met were not really upholding some ideals and standards of Islam. In the group, one had no problems drinking at all. Another felt bad working at a company where the job was packaging meat--some, pork. Another had this idea that pork was forbidden (haraam) in his home country but here in the USA it was allowed (halaal) so there wasn't really anything wrong with eating it... he went from totally refusing the pork fried rice at a Chinese place, to experimenting with a sausage patty at McDonald's.

I guess America will do that to some people--tempt them and trap them away from their religion.

But what is so tempting about pork?

Giving it up wasn't the hardest part of converting to Islam--for the most part it was really easy. Except for two things--I had always really loved waking up to the smell of bacon frying. And my mom made some really good BBQ (which here in NC is a pulled pork dish.) Giving up the bacon was the easier part, actually, and the BBQ harder because it hurt my mom's feelings that I wouldn't eat it.

But now, my roommate likes to cook beef bacon every now and again, and even though I used to love the smell growing up (which meant hot, fresh, breakfast for the whole family), now it just drives me nuts. She doesn't fry it in a pan, but she bakes it in the oven. I guess that lets the grease drip into the pan so it's a little lessy fatty? (As if it wasn't mostly a slice of fat to begin with...) Anyway, it still smells--and it's a smell that seems to take hours to clear out.

And even though it's just beef bacon--and therefore I guess it's halal, with no pork?--the smell just reminds me of something I've given up in Islam, and I don't want to feel any temptation to head back down that road.

6 comments:

jana z. said...

i had to laugh at this one amy!! oh the power of bacon. it was one of my downfalls. i loved bacon. but i havent touched a piece in a long long time. i think i remember writing in my blog about being in line in the cafeteria at work and finding myself tempted to buy some. i was like what the heck? where did that temptation come from....after a couple of years. i actually know a lady who says that she would be a muslim but she cant give up bacon. now i thought that was a really lame excuse.
ive tried turkey bacon but its not very good but we do eat beef sausage links.
i actually worked with another nurse who was "dating" a muslim guy. she took him to subway and ON PURPOSE did not tell him that there was bacon in it til later. she thought it was hilarious. he did not.

Faris al-Farik said...

Sister Amy:

ASA!

My story with meat in general, and not just pork and its by-products, is different than most that you may have heard.

I came from a South Asian country where I grew up eating no meat at all; I grew up vegetarian. Therefore, I had no emotional attachments to certain smells, odors of meat associated with a loving childhood, etc.

Upon emigration to America, I embraced the whole spectrum of eating meats and not caring where and how they were slaughtered, processed and packaged.

Reversion to Islam meant giving up pork and its by-products! No problems there at all! I didn't care for bacon, pork chops and did have a natural aversion to PORK after all!

I was still studying about "halaal" meat and did enjoy a burger now and then. Then came the BEEF recall (by the US FDA), and the pictures of the sickly cows being slaughtered, and the shameful way they are being put to death to satisfy our craving for meat.

I am not completely vegetarian yet, as I do eat turkey and some beef now and then. Being a Muslim has increased my awareness and knowledge of what goes into my stomach.

Faris

Jamilah said...

Bacon was not so hard, but I did miss pepperoni pizza... oh the bliss when we found the halal pizza place in Hartford! Halal beef pepperoni galore!

Amy said...

Salaam Jana--

I can't believe your coworker would do that deliberately... but then again, I know once I was with some Muslims (before I became Muslim) and one had ordered a sausage patty at McDonalds... and I didn't say anything. I assumed that he had just decided to start eating pork and didn't want to confront him about it, but it could have been a mistake on his part. I'll never know, but to deliberately trick someone? Ouch.

Amy said...

Faris--

Salaam, maashaaAllah I'm glad that Islam encouraged you to learn where the meat came from. It has for me, too, but unfortunately I still haven't done such a great job of moving towards Islamically slaughtered meat. Yet, inshaaAllah.

It's cool you had a natural aversion to pork, though. In the part of the country where I live, hog farming is a huge industry and pork is very easy to come by. I've recently had to find out that even some chicken and fries are cooked in lard, causing me to give up on some restaurants for good--it's not pork exactly but something to keep a watch out for.

Amy said...

Jamilah--

Salaam, at first I raelly missed pepperoni on pizza and adjusting to cheese only seemed like a huge loss, but here it's easy to find turkey pepperoni which I buy sometimes. When I eat pizza I buy a Red Baron 4 Cheese pizza which is really really good, and I even like it better without the pepperoni I've sometimes added.

But when I order a pizza, usually I'll get different veggies on it which also beats the flavor of pepperoni. Giving it up exposed me to all kinds of pizza topping varieties I'd never have tried, before. :-)