V is for vegetarian

I eat so little meat these days that I am considering finally going fully vegetarian.

I did have roast beef at a local restaurant a few weeks ago and it was ‘ok’ although a bit under-done for my liking. Not so much ‘bloody’ but I did not like the texture very much (I still ate it).

I also went to a friend’s at the weekend who cooked… chicken. I haven’t eaten poultry in 6+ or so years (possibly more). I ate it, and again, it was quite nice (Nigel Slater recipe with lots of garlic) but I stopped eating chicken on animal welfare grounds (from the bad old days, i.e. 5+ years ago when the provenance of things like chicken was particularly suspect). I could have chosen not to eat it but I had said, as a throwaway comment when last we’d caught up, that I would eat chicken if I knew the provenance and it was high quality (this was from a high quality local butcher).

We live in a country in which ‘cheap food’ (like ‘cheap clothes’) is an expectation for many of us. People want stuff as cheap as humanly possible and what the ‘back story’ may be for where these ‘cheap’ things come from is of little particular interest (be they sweat shops in Vietnam or enormous battery chicken farms somewhere in Eastern Europe). Out of sight, out of mind, is our motto.

The current horsemeat scandal doesn’t really surprise me. Reading some of the news about the ‘trade’ in meat between the middle men of Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Ireland, UK – shocking stuff. But we want it cheap – right? Like with so many things in life – you do ultimately get what you pay for.

So I’ve got a whole load of vegetarian cookbooks out of  Westminster Library (I do so love the library!) and am in a meditative space in which I’m thinking about giving up meat once and for all.

I have one problem though: fish. I don’t particularly want to give up fish. In my mind – naive and overly simplistic as it may sound – I don’t see fish in quite the same way, say, as livestock. They’re more like a ‘crop’. I know, that may not quite be the right attitude. But I think people might see where I’m coming from. I just struggle to see mussels, prawns, mackerel the way I see pigs, chicken, lambs, cows, etc.

So what do I become – a pesticeran perhaps (a vegetarian who eats fish)? I suppose that would be rather like bisexualism – keeping one’s options open without firmly putting  a line in the sand. That is probably the direction in which I’m heading (to become a pesticeran, not a bisexual – I hasten to add!)

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