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BBQ odor for Vegetarians

Got an odd thought that I would love Hounds to chime in on please.

First, the question.................

If you are a lifelong Vegetarian, does the smell of barbequed meat in the air such as a neighbor's yard or a restaurant cooking it's wares become a a pleasurable smell to you? Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!

I have been a Vegetarian for two years, after being a big meat eater/heart surgery patient . Though I do not miss meat, and always wanted to be a Vegetarian, I have no overwhelming desire to eat it. That said, I catch that smell on the passing wind as I leave my gym after working out. It eminates from a restaurant, or a supermarket deli counter's exhaust hood roasting chickens in the strip mall, or someone's yard. And that always get me to thinking. If you grew up without that food odor connection, is that a good smell to you? Obviously I can't be objective. So I put it out there for you to express an opinion. I look foward to the discussion. Thanks all for participating.

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  1. Hi there :) I went veg 10+ years ago but still grew up on the family summer BBQ. I wasn't much of a fan of meat (especially steak) as a kid because as I always complained to my mom, "It takes too long to chew." Once I eliminated meat from my diet for personal/ethical reasons, I never thought back. I do notice that I appreciate certain smells (probably due to their association with my childhood memories. I have heard, however, of some vegetarians getting physically ill from the smell of meat.

    1. I haven't eaten meat or poultry in 25 years. Bacon still smells pretty good to me, as does grilled steak and roast chicken. But the smell of burgers, hot dogs or lamb chops makes me queasy. Common denominator? None that I can determine.

      3 Replies
      1. re: small h

        I have several friends who are hardline vegans. It confuses me that they eat things that are meat flavored. They eat vegan "chicken" strips, corn dogs, sausage, etc. etc.

        1. re: Paul Weller

          Presumably their reasons for choosing a vegan diet are not that they don't like the flavor of meat, so they enjoy foods that seek to mimic those flavors and textures.

          In answer to the OP, I haven't eaten red meat in 20 years, so I can't answer your "lifelong" question, but I will say that I love the smell of barbecue (that is, slow-smoked barbecue from a 'cue joint, not meat grilling in the back yard).

          1. re: Paul Weller

            I eat fake meat, myself, and the reason won't confuse anyone. I like the taste & texture of (some) fake meat, and I don't like the taste & texture of (any) real meat. Which is why I don't eat tofu hot dogs - I find them too hot-dog-like.

        2. My ex SO's dad has been (non-vegan) vegetarian since birth. Grilling meat, which smelled delicious to me even after 8 years of not eating meat, did not smell good to him at all. It didn't make him feel ill (he's lived in the US among carnivorous heathens for many years); it just didn't elicit the "mmmm" reaction.

          1. I believe Aroma rather than Odor might be a better description, at least for this seared flesh lover. A soap plant or oil refinery
            emits an odor. Just sayin' :)

            2 Replies
              1. re: bbqboy

                Thinking along those same lines, and thought I'd scroll through to see if anyone picked up on it. Perhaps BBQ or grilled steak is a "fragrance'?? but aroma probably captures it better. I can smell it now!!!!

              2. That's a question I can't answer, but I do have a neurological perspective. (I apologize in advance for the simplistic answer...)

                Smell is, evolutionarily speaking, a very, very, old sense. Most senses are processed through a part of the brain called the thalamus, but smell goes directly to the limbic system, which also involves emotions. It's why smells so strongly bring back the emotions attached to the smell. Smell has a "very" strong connection to the foods to avoid or consume, so it makes sense for it to be a primitive one.

                So even if a vegetarian doesn't eat a food, a smell associated either with nutrition -- or even more strongly, good childhood memories -- can evoke a positive response. I don't know if the smell of meat is "hard-wired" to be attractive, but even if it is it would be something that can be overcome -- hence how the smell of meat can evoke a negative reaction as well. The stonger the emotional rejection of meat could lead to a stronger negative response to the smell of it.

                Just some thoughts.