I’m not going to be arguing for a plant-based diet. Instead, I'll talk about what I’ve learned about the centre-piece of most meals (though having never eaten it), how I think we should be thinking about meat and which types of meat I’m most tempted and terrified by.
I’ve become much more interested in food and the way it affects relationships and is built into culture; I understand the reasons for the difference in diet within our society, how income affects what we chose to eat and how it is an unignorable privilege to be able to maintain a vegetarian diet. I’ve become fascinated with meat in a way I’d never thought I would be; I love reading recipes containing meat, I want to know what my friend’s meals taste like, I want to learn about where to buy meat from, which are the best cuts and how much the price changes taste. Though I'm still not sure I can see myself introducing it into my diet anytime soon, I'm curious.
I’ve always been vegetarian, so have never faced the problem of being tempted by the smell of bacon or the taste of real gravy; these are unfamiliar things. I was squeamish about the look of meat, I’d avoid the meat aisle and pay no attention to friend’s meals at Nandos. As more time has passed and more conversations about vegetarianism happen within my friendship groups, my thoughts about meat have shifted.
In the last decade, the world has become more focussed on our planet and how we should be using earth’s not-so-endless resources. Many vegetarians are conscious of the damaging effect of animal farming; there is a lot of morality involved in the decision to cut out meat. Despite always being quite sure about my diet, I realised I didn’t know enough about what I continue to build this decision upon; was it fear of eating something I’ve avoided for so long? How could I talk about the greatness of food so often, with no experience of the inimitable flavours of meat? How can I travel without being able to taste many local foods? I’ve spent the last few years reading and considering what the world would be like if we all cut down on our meat consumption and what meat means to us.
More on this subject coming soon...