Monday, 5 April 2010

Meat comes from Tesco...

I do not wish to write a pro or anti vegetarianism post. As a teenager I was a vegetarian for two years because as a child I did not like meat at all. It was very difficult for my Mummy, because early years of my childhood had fallen into a time of communism in Poland, when lack of everything in the shops was very common. People were queuing for hours outside the shops from very early morning hours and they were lucky if they managed to buy some pork meat. I was quite fussy child when it came to eating a meat, even it took a hell lot of effort to get it.

Therefore it was very easy to make a decision about becoming a vegetarian. Although I have come back to eating meat and for the last ten years I have been a meat eater, I have to admit that my three favourite dishes are certainly vegetarian. I am very glad that I was a vegetarian because it helped me to learn some new kitchen skills, I was introduced to a lot food products that I never thought about when eating a meat.

On the other hand when I moved to Yorkshire I found local beef and lamb extremely tasty and I really enjoy eating them. Although I eat meat rarely, I could not even think about coming back to the vegetarianism. Even after last weekend when local farmer Tom Fall of Danby Grange kindly allowed me to spend some time with new born lambs.

When I think about my childhood I clearly remember that my parents did not allow me to waste any food. Perhaps due to the lack of many food products in the shops during the communism, and the way they nearly had to “hunt” for food, maybe because this was the way they were brought up by their parents. They always taught me to respect food.

It is very sad that Brits waste 60% of edible products (excluding peels, teabags and bones), therefore in average wasting 15 pence of every pound spent on food shopping. Some of these products that ended up in British bins not exceeded use by, or best before date. This could be an effect of the food being widely available in the shops and therefore the attitudes had changed since the war years when it was a crime to waste food.

Also British children are unaware of where the meat comes from. A recent study in the UK shows that 11% of children age 8-15 do not know where the pork chops come from. The study also showed that children that were brought up in cities are twice as likely as countryside children to be not able to identify that beef burgers come from cow. In my opinion children should get to know where the food on their plates come from, as this could teach them respect to food, and to meat especially. It is so worrying that if kids are asked where meat comes from, they say Tesco...

Some time ago Gordon Ramsay showed scenes of lambs being slaughtered to millions of viewers on his TV show. He also involved his children in helping him to look after lambs and had been throughout the whole time they were at their home. PETA said that a number of people, put off by the slaughter had called the charity since TV broadcast to request vegetarian starter packs. Vegetarians should certainly be grateful to Ramsay.

It is not my aim to judge whether he did it to increase the number of his show viewers, for publicity and to get a bit of controversy, but in my opinion he did a good thing - he showed where meat comes from. If you are not comfortable about what happens before meat ends up on your plate become vegetarian. It is entirely your choice as long as you are informed. If it does not worry you then carry on eating meat.

Perhaps the knowledge about where the meat comes from, will make some people more respectful to it. I do not wish to discuss if eating the meat is or is not moral, but in my opinion having this kind of knowledge and at the same time wasting meat is certainly unethical.

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