Sunday, 13 June 2010

In which Nursey Considers Food and Feeding

And apparently the Old Man came home with instructions to be fed a "high protein diet" for a while.
Huh. So the dry biscuit and vegetable water I usually restrict him too, won't do.

And this is where the Grey Doll admits to being one of those most currently unfashionable of beings - a Vegetarian. Not only that. In my shady past I was, for some time, that most extreme of faddists - a Vegan. (Well I wasn't up to the Yin-Yang calculations of Macrobiotics. And didn't think it was necessary to go to the extremes of Fruitarianism.)

Time was when being vegetarian was fashionable, and taken up by some faddists until it proved inconvenient or no longer cool. These days, however, I feel a cultural schizoid thing going on.

(By the way - just as I am cheerfully informed by some how they hate the term "Blog"; may I now take time out to say how much I hate the term "Veggie" - with all it's accompanying images of jolly walks, knitted hats, and earnestness . Veggies who eat their veggies - Oo-er, Yuk. But I digress.)

OK. I was with the Cultural Schizoid stuff ....

On the one hand, during the comparatively recent wallowing waves of a New Labour government, I began to think that vegans may get their phones tapped - and be sailing close to the extremist- sniffing wind.

"Kind of related to climate-change protest and animal rights stuff, innit? And isn't that.... you know....Extreme?"

On the other hand - any well informed Sunday Supplement reader will know that the grooviest eating "du jour" is meat, meat, meat ... and a little "quaint" fish like herring. Or if you can't be bothered with that then some thinly sliced, raw, blue-fin tuna. And when it comes to meat, it's not just any meat, you understand? But the most obscure bits of offal that you can possibly dream up.

Do not get me wrong. If you eat meat, I think you should indeed eat every little bit you can. Tongues, cheeks, ears, tails, intestines, lights, livers, kidneys, and various sumptuous glands.

No. I remember my 50s-60s childhood. And my Mum cooking oxtail, tripe (for Dad only - eeeeeugh!), tongue, pigs' trotters even. Yes and I have been known to cook heart! And liver and kidney was just everyday food.

But my point is - that these perfectly nutritious foods appear now to be the provenance of high-end restaurants only. I bet you can't go in a supermarket and buy ox tail these days. I'm not sure if you can get it from most high street butchers. So the irony is that these cheap foods of previous generations - can now only be accessed by those affluent enough to dine out. You eat meat and don't have much money? Get back to the mass-produced burgers and sausages you so richly deserve. Everything else, after all, has to go to the pet food industry presumably - together with the odd horse and pony.

The final spur to my turning vegetarian was my extreme dislike of the mass industrialisation of the meat industry - both rearing and production. I didn't want to be part of a consumer chain that degraded the animals, their bodies, and our food in the name of "efficiency". And all so's an overweight kid could toss their "between meal snack" of a burger and bun in the gutter when the effort of stuffing just half of it into their faces got too much.

Whoops. Got a bit hot under the collar there.

But good bread, lentils, rice and local vegetables don't cost that much.

Ask any peasant in a third world country.... though come to think of it.... because all the land has to be used for soya and maize to feed the cattle.... or glass-house flowers and mange-tout for Western Supermarkets. Or palm oil for just about everything....

Oh well. Let them eat air. They're a long way away and it's probably their own fault.

"Pass us the sweetbreads, Roddy."

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