My maids say they are willing to eat vegetarian food, but . . .

Dear Shankar,

It is really difficult to ask a carnivorous maid to turn herbivorous. When a maid needs a job, everything is possible. Even life without meat on the table at least once a week can be countenanced. These maids probably think that they can go out and have a fried chicken or a hamburger, if they do go out once a week. And of course, if she is only allowed one day off a month, then she can satisfy her craving for meat only once a month.

Your Filipino maid will probably be able better to adjust to a vegetarian diet most of the week (or month?), if you can explain to her that meat is not the only source of protein. You might end up giving her an education on the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

And if you are like one lady I know, you might explain to your maid why you do not like her to cook meat at home. This lady I speak of, used to a carnivore. However, after a three-month experiment she found to her surprise that she did not miss a meat diet. And as time wore on, she increasingly found the smell of cooked meat unpleasant. Explain that that is how you came to know she has been cooking meat in your absence, because the smell lingers on and is perceptible when you get home several hours later.

To persuade a carnivore (a omnivore really) to give up meat is not easy. A maid who needs a job will tell you she can do without meat because she has not tried to do without. And of course, if she only has the opportunity to indulge only once or twice a month, she may want work for you for two whole years.

This is not to say that you will never find a Filipino maid who can accept a meatless diet six days out of seven. We have actually placed a Filipino maid with a vegetarian family. The last time we checked, she was still happy after one whole year. Perhaps she has successfully switched to a vegetarian diet.

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