I existed in a dark and baconless world. For eight long years, my unrelenting and all-consuming love for animals hindered me from eating them. One night, feeling weak and hungry, I realized what was missing from my life: protein.

In that moment I made the resolution to slowly start eating more meat again, and my mom wept with joy.

Incorporating meat into my diet has given me more energy than I can remember having in years. I have lifted the dining restrictions I once imposed upon my friends, family, and boyfriend. It is nice to not have to base your plans on whether or not there is actually anything you can eat at dinner.

Eight years of vegetarianism made me forget everything I had once known about meat. I had to re-learn everything, and after spending the last three months trying all the meat I possibly could, I’m sharing my insights with you. The most important thing I learned? Bacon is bae.



Photo by Daniel Schuleman

I lost my meatginity to the tiniest piece of roasted chicken. Unlike the other meats I tried, chicken was pretty predictable in terms of taste and texture. I think my exact thoughts were something along the lines of, “yeah, this just tastes like chicken.”

While I was initially underwhelmed, I realized  that chicken is the tofu of the meat world and is actually fantastic when served with the correct glaze, spice, or sauce.

Best Chicken Picks: Chipotle, Chicken Bulgogi at Ajumma (definitely add egg to spark a philosophical conversation) and Chicken Empanada’s at Alkimia in the Gilman Atrium.

Taylor Ham


Photo by Emily Burnham

As a native New Yorker, I was trained to avoid all associations with New Jersey. When a friend from Philly recommended I try Jersey-based Taylor Ham, I decided I should broaden my palate in terms of culture and content.

The only complaint I have is that Taylor Ham replaces bacon on my bagels. Otherwise, Taylor Ham is thick and flavorful. It melts in your mouth in such a way that I imagine it’s like the brisket of pork, though I have not actually tried brisket.

Taylor Ham is also the champagne of meats. If you call sparkling wine champagne, Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne is going to be on your ass. So if you can’t find the brand Taylor Ham, pork roll is a slightly lesser but still delicious alternative.

Best Taylor Ham Picks: The Jersey at Tompkins Square Bagels in New York City and Pork Roll at Roland Park Bagels in Roland Park, MD.



Photo courtesy of thewanderingeater.com

I’m convinced quail is just flying squirrel, as they are strikingly similar. I found quail to be difficult to eat. Like, where was all the meat? Why did I need to eat so many of these to be full? Quail is the crab of meats; I found myself just trying to find more of the good stuff.

Best Quail Picks: Salt in Baltimore, MD.



Photo courtesy of Jimmie Lanley

Though I only had buffalo in a ragu dish, I decided to talk about it because I think it’s stupid. It reminded me of the mystery lunchmeats you see only in television cafeteria scenes. The taste was just slightly off, even the lunch lady doesn’t really know what she just gave you.

While I know this is what my fellow omnivores refer to as being gamey, I cannot testify to this specific Buffalo’s athleticism. In my opinion, let the buffalos run free and next time upgrade for some beef.

Best Buffalo Picks: Absolutely not.



Photo by Daniel Schuleman

Steak was definitely the meat I was most excited to add back into my diet. I imagined myself with a glass of red wine, using a cleaver to slice this thick and chewy meat like any classy American at a steak house.

Steak ended up being my greatest disappointment though. While it definitely hits those fantastic chewy, salty, and savory notes, it lacked the depths of flavor I was able to find in the other meats I had tried. All I could think was, “I wish I was eating bacon right now.”

Best Steak Picks: Parts and Labor and The Prime Rib in Baltimore, MD.



Photo by Emily Ashwell

Holy f**cking sh*t. I apologize for my profanities but there is nothing kosher or appropriate about my feelings for bacon. Bacon is the best meat out there. It’s crunchy, soft, and the fat just melts in your mouth. Bacon is definitely the butter of the meat world.

I know eating too much of it is probably going to kill me, but I’m addicted so everyone can shut up about it. The smell of bacon ignites this internal (and maybe slightly sexual) frenzy that can only be compared to what I imagine of Idris Elba’s intoxicating musk.

Best Bacon Picks: Pete’s Grille on Greenmount, and Baz Bagel in New York City – this is some high quality swine y’all.