So what don’t you eat?

Having got into rather a heated debate about vegetarianism over the weekend (ie people who just don’t eat red meat then say they are veggie ….), I’ve been thinking recently about why people don’t eat certain foods.
 
True vegetarians are easy to understand as they avoid meat, fish and animal by-products such as rennet either because they don’t like the taste, or more commonly because of animal welfare issues. Vegans are even easier as they refuse all animal products entirely, including butter and honey. But for carnivores and dairy eaters, our preconceptions about the foods we eat are much harder to justify.
  
Some people are violently against British veal. Why? It’s a product of the dairy industry as much as the milk we pour on our cereal. If we don’t eat British veal, the calves will either be slaughtered at birth or exported where standards are not as high as ours. Some people won’t eat lobster because they can’t bear the thought of them being boiled alive. But they’re more than happy to roast an intensively farmed chicken that never saw day light, and was grown so quickly its legs couldn’t support its weight. What is it that makes one thing less cruel than the other? Or is it that it’s just easier to avoid veal and lobster than it is milk and chicken?

I think the most that any of us can do is to buy the best quality food we can afford. And if this means swapping a premium cut of intensively farmed meat for a cheaper cut of free-range, then so be it. Better for all of us to eat vegetarian more often and save our money for high-welfare meat and poultry. We’re always moaning we cook the same things over and over anyway. Try something new!
 
 
Some food for thought … what do you think?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “So what don’t you eat?

  1. Jo

    I went to a…….wait for it……….vegetarian, yes VEGETARIAN, boarding school! Even the headmaster’s dog was one of them. It is one of I think only two veggie schools in the UK so you would’ve thought it would have a superstar veggie chef….but no. Even the smell of the food repulsed me. The only meal I looked forward to (aged 8) was the ‘ploughman’s lunch’ which was cubes of mild cheddar, brown bread and soup. It was also a hippy school so not just vegetarian but also brown rice/pasta/bread loving, so, rather than being repulsed by veal, tripe and the like, I now find brown rice entirely offensive and even the smell of it makes me gag.

    I think our local town was the only place in the country that it was common to hear people ordering a cheeseburger with no meat in McDonalds! (Thats is what it sounds like – a burger bun with a slice of orange cheese and a gherkin).

    I absolutely love foie gras but it does leave me feeling guilty – I believe there are ‘ethical’ alternatives but has anyone tried them and are they any good? I’d be interested to try it.

  2. Maggie Smith

    Here, here Truefoodie. It’s time we all started thinking about how our food is produced. Food is too cheap and people buy too much. If we all spent a little more thoughtfully and considered the welfare of the animals who provide our food, we’d all be a little happier and healthier and so would the animals!

  3. Frankie Watkins

    I won’t eat a number of things because I simply don’t like them tripe being the major offender though I love most offal. I also usually turn down fois gras – I just don’t enjoy it, ditto lobster and truffles. I have no problem with rose veal but I won’t buy meat from crated animals. I usually buy my meat from a local farm shop which sells its own free range meat. I do refuse poultry if I can’t be sure of its provenance so may eat vegetarian in restaurants as a result I also struggle with lots species of fish which are being fished to extinction so try to buy from sustainable sources where possible.
    Bottom line I guess is I buy what my husband likes to call ‘happy meat’ and will eat all the bits – apart from tripe!

  4. I agree with you about veal/dairy. Even the most pastoral dairy farm could just as validly be called a veal and hamburger farm.

  5. Rob Speir

    In my view there is a woeful lack of understanding about agricultural practices among the general public, especially regarding animal welfare. There’s undoubtedly a fair amount of denial, too.

    I don’t eat Tapioca. Though not due to any philosophical precept. I was bullied into eating it by a fearfully aggressive school mistress.

    I do agree with the buy-the-best-you-can-afford scenario. Quality, fresh ingredients really do make all the difference.

    Rob

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