I’ve noticed I’ve been eating less meat than I used to. Clearly then not a planned limitation, not a conscious effort, not motivated by the urge to decrease cow’s farts or the belief that red meat equals cancer. I just have, probably simply because there are so many good things to eat apart from meat.
It makes me feel concerned about the fate of good butchers’; I’ve always supported my local which has ethically sourced, free range produce and damn good pies. It’s visibly less busy these days; and it bothers me actually a bit more than the global effect of cattle burps emissions – it’s immediate, it’s small business and it affects people I know. The sad thing is that if we all decrease our meat consumption in the name of health or climate change, it’s not your supermarket selling mostly cheap meat that is going to suffer but the sustainably-oriented small-scale farms and butchers’ shops.
What to do? If you buy meat less often, buy better. Go for more expensive cuts, free range or organic. Take care when cooking it and make a treat out of it. If you fancy beef, do a perfect fillet steak; share a cote de boeuf or cook a sirloin roast at low temperature.
Cook a sweet and sour duck fillet. Go for free range or organic chicken fillets; it makes all the difference to the taste. If you cook them with homemade teriyaki sauce, or make Chinese chicken kung pao, a couple of fillets will go a long way and you’ll have had a simple but exquisite weekday supper, with seasonal sides: beetroot salad, fondant carrots or stir fried cabbage.
If you don’t eat meat at all, you have no concerns like mine: cook a celeriac steak with sweet potato chips one night and pasta shells with walnuts and ricotta on another. And macaroni cheese will certainly satisfy everyone, as will a good cake. I’m making banana chocolate chip one this weekend.
Next week we’ll all be making hot cross buns and Easter cookies – and maybe even your own creme eggs? Watch this space and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.