For two committed carnivores I never imagined The Man and I would end up eating mostly vegetarian food, yet that’s exactly what has happened. Once or twice a week we’ll have a meat meal, once or twice a fish meal, the rest of the time pure, straight-up veggie – we don’t even eat meat substitutes. It’s not because we don’t enjoy meat, trust me, we do. The Sunday roast or a bacon sandwich is still a treat we look forward to with great relish, but we just couldn’t justify the quantity of meat we were eating – not and feel like we were eating ethically.
Ethical eating sounds like a drag, I know. We *do* it and it still makes me think of home-knitted yoghurt and alfalfa sprouts or something equally ‘virtuous’ and, let’s admit it – tasteless. For us, though, it’s striking a balance between our carnivore appetites and our own conscience and only buying ‘happy’ meat, that is: outdoor reared, happy life, humane death and, where possible, local (although British will do if no Oxfordshire to be found).
Whilst this does indeed satisfy our bellies *and* our conscience, it would prove rather tough on our wallets, were we to indulge at the same frequency we did before. Since living in Oxfordshire provides quite enough of a bashing to said wallets we had to make some cuts somewhere so, voila, fewer meat meals.
Surprisingly it’s not been as big a culture shock as I was expecting and, as I build up a good inventory of easy veggie meals, I’m finding it easier and easier. I do miss mince (of all things) because it made so many of the meals I knew off by heart, but with an easy veggie chilli from the Frugal Feeder (where you can’t even tell the difference from a meat version), some popular veggie burgers from this great book and a decent veggie lasagne I have a good stock of basic meals so we’re not just living off macaroni cheese every day! Pasta does still feature rather heavily (I’ve developed a scrummy veggie carbonara using our homegrown leeks), as does cheese, but overall our costs have fallen, our diet has improved and our karmic debt has hopefully been a little reduced.
And the best bit? Outdoor reared ‘happy’ meat *tastes* so much better and the money goes to support local and/or British farmers do what they do so well. How about you? Do you try to eat local? What do you like best about it? Got any recommendations of recipes, brands or suppliers? I’d really love to hear so comment below or tag me (@liveoxfordshire) in a twitter post hashtagged #eatlocal