Over Christmas the residents of Chateau L spent a lot of time together. When we are together we chat - the topics are wide and varied, and sometimes I even get to talk about plants and birds. One of the things we talked about was the environment - this is a house where we are all fairly conscious of about the state of the planet, because we follow current affairs and we are interested in nature. As we talked about the dire state of affairs, we realised that the five of us could do a lot better. Not that we were bad particularly, but there is always something that can be improved.
We are starting with meat. Now our intention is not to become vegan as appears to be all the rage, nor even vegetarian, however having done some basic research on the impacts of certain foods versus others it is clear that red meat is the single most environmentally unfriendly foodstuff around - beef leads the way closely followed by lamb. Unfortunately it’s also really convenient – when you get home from work at 7pm whipping up a chilli con carne or similar is an easy option. We probably did this twice a week, though other types of red meat were very rare. No longer. We’ve invested in a couple of vegetarian cookbooks and as a family gone through them to see what we might like that seems easy and tasty – in short there are loads. What we are not going to do is go with any substitutes – quorn, tofu and their ilk are all out. Pointless to try and pretend, instead we’re going to base dishes on actual vegetables.
Last week we had a carrot biryani, a mushroom risotto using orzo, and a dish based on lentils, which means we haven’t bought or eaten something approaching 1.5kg of beef – that will soon add up. The biryani was excellent and got the thumbs up from all five of us. The risotto however,…… well we’re probably not going to have that as often. However this morning when we were planning the shopping for the week ahead I realised that Mrs L is really getting into this - four out of five meals next week seem to be vegetarian. This is was not what I thought I was getting myself into! I expect I will survive, but just to let prospective veggies out there that it appears to be a slippery slope.
Reducing meat consumption was actually just one of the things we decided we would do, but I'm already feeling overly sanctimonious for one day, and the last thing I would want people to think is that I am a saint. Nonetheless watch this space - when I've run out of birdy things to write about I might turn to the other seven or so changes. Oh, wait.....
Several years back I took the stance that I absolutely would not support or contribute to the continuing destruction of our countryside by sheep and cattle farmers, the pillaging of our waters by fishermen, or to the often disgusting state that chickens are kept in. I became an 'activist veggie' overnight. Then, a little over two years ago, I moved up to Skye. I'm surrounded by sheep on all sides, I've met and befriended various crofters, I've even pulled a sheep out of a mud pit and another from a fenceline. Several of the men here in the village are fishermen, going out to sea in all weathers and hauling up ever diminishing numbers of shrimp. I've shared drinks with these fella's, they have a blunt but funny sense of humour, they are hardy men doing a tough job.ReplyDelete
So, what I'm (badly) saying is that I feel as though we're living life with one foot in the past, one in the future. It's all a state of flux at the moment. The old ways will, I believe, come to pass. Sheep, cattle, fish, chickens - their popularity will dwindle, jobs and local economies will be lost. There are real people who's lives will be destroyed when this happens, but the future demands change. We have to change to even have a future, it's just that simple. Good luck to you all in Chateau L, it'll be interesting to see where you go with this.
Well we have lots of ideas, but they are all pretty small. The biggest problem is my love of long range travel, not sure what I'm going to do about that.Delete
Jonathan. I totally agree with your approach. We have adopted a flexitarian approach to food which has increased the amount of vegetarian meals and and where we eat meat or fish we are more careful about the sourcing of them. I have to avoid red meat entirely as I am allergic to all mammalian meat (after having been bitten by a tick in Texas in 2005) but there are plenty of choices available and they are as tasty as well as being better for the planet and healthier.ReplyDelete
Macaroni peas last night, absolutely deliciousDelete
Lentils & baked beans - my favourite pasta dish - fry onion, add peppers, maybe mushrooms, tin of chopped toms, 2 or 3 handfuls of lentils, some water as lentils soak it up, tin of baked beans towards end, serve with pasta & grated cheese.ReplyDelete
Top kwality guaranteed!
I'll offer to cook as a surprise this weekend and let you know the reaction!Delete
The older I've somehow managed to become the less meat I've eaten. Vegi frequently but a nice bit of protein occasionally. It could be happening to you! Agree on the environmemt of course.ReplyDelete
The other thing is that I simply eat less (of everything) that I used to. I do consume more gin though.Delete