Book Club: Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?

mind if i orderWhen I first heard about Sherry Colb’s book “Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?” on Our Hen House’s podcast, I knew I had to read it. After listening to Sherry speak so eloquently in her interview with Jasmin and Mariann, I was convinced that if someone was going to put together a guide for vegans to field questions that non-vegans tend to ask, she would be that person.

Not to mention, everything was aligned in the stars for me to read this book. The same podcast episode that Sherry was featured in, was so sweetly dedicated to me by Jasmin from Our Hen House. I was flattered when I heard my name mentioned in this episode, and I’m so honored to be part of such an amazing organization. As you can see, this podcast episode is extra special to me. After hearing the episode, I talked about reading “Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?” with my vegan book club organizer. She had also listened to the podcast and agreed that she really wanted to read it, too. So, it became the next month’s book to read with the group. But wait, there’s more. I entered a contest through Our Hen House that was only for flock members where you could win a copy of Sherry’s book. I never win anything. Ever. And I won this book! I couldn’t believe it. So, I guess you could say it was fate and this book and I were meant to be together.

While I was reading “Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?” I was wondering, “How can I get Sherry Colb to fit in my pocket to answer these questions for me?” She did a fantastic job outlining both sides of the issue, and gave great advice on how to discuss the topic at hand. By giving me the non-vegans’ potential viewpoint, she has opened my eyes to seeing the other side of the story, and has helped me be more understanding when people ask questions. Quite honestly, reading her book is probably going to help me avoid some heated arguments. Instead, I am now equipped to be poised and controlled in my responses.

There were times when I was reading the book where I felt like Sherry Colb was in my head writing down my thoughts and experiences. Many of our stories are parallel to one another, starting with her fish story. She described a time when she was traveling abroad and she had ordered the fish entree. The server in the restaurant had wanted to show her just how fresh the fish was by bringing it out to her still alive. She was petrified and has a vivid memory of this fish. My story takes place in a restaurant in Orlando, Florida, where my dad’s side of the family was visiting on vacation. I had ordered the seafood pasta, something that was quite common for me to eat at the time. My dish came out with heads of the fish still intact, with eyes and all staring at me. I ran to the bathroom crying. I’ll never forget that moment. It should have been a red flag for me that I am not meant to eat meat, but it wasn’t. I share the same sentiment as Sherry that sadly enough I didn’t stop eating meat after this experience.

“I feel sad to think that for three years, as an ovo-lacto vegetarian, I consumed the products of female-targeted reproductive exploitation, cruelty, and slaughter, and that I did so in the name of compassion and concern for animals.” – Sherry Colb

The quote above describes exactly how I felt when I went vegan after being vegetarian for three years. Sherry not only depicted so many feelings that I’ve had since I’ve been vegan, but she also provided a ton of information with lots of sources. Her book has 30 pages of referenced materials, and there were some chapters where every other sentence had a number next to it, notating where she got the information. Seeing as there was so much information packed into her book, I’m looking at it as more of a reference guide that I’ll keep going back to because there is no way I’m going to remember all of that amazing information!

It’s crazy how things can come full circle sometimes. A part of Sherry’s book that stood out to me was when she described hearing Victoria Moran from Main Street Vegan talk about her experience at the slaughterhouse. Fast-forward a few months from reading this book, and I’m at the Atlanta Veg Fest listening to Victoria talk about this exact thing! And, I got to meet Victoria and tell her about reading it and hearing it in person, and how both times, it just took my breath away. I hope one day I can also meet Sherry in person and tell her how her book resonated so much with me.

So, read the book, listen to Our Hen House’s podcast, or read the transcript of OHH’s interview with Sherry. This book has reminded me of who I once was and who I can be in the future.

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