At family roasts I tend to go all-in. There was only a single time last Autumn when I stubbornly stuck to broccoli.
However, I do struggle sometimes with eating meat. I have days when thinking about meat makes me nauseous. Being a fairly sentimental person, I do get caught up in the guilt of eating another being and it does sometimes make eating meat less pleasurable than I would like.
Over the last year I have had a fling with vegetarianism, and even veganism, but I realised that they weren’t for me.
I had to accept it – I couldn’t part with meat, not forever.
It’s been a pretty up-and-down love affair.
So why did I buy a book about meat from London butcher/Yorkshire farmer The Ginger Pig?
I decided that I needed to learn more about meat to understand where it comes from, the best cuts and how to cook them.
Although I’ve had an iffy relationship with meat over the past year, I surprised myself in how much I enjoy the book. For me, as it turns out, the more I know about the animal I’m eating the more I enjoy eating it. The book doesn’t hold back in describing the breeds of animals on the farm and their happy, long lives. Their slaughter is also described, and it seems as stress-free as possible. All of this contributes to superior flavour in the meat.
The book often compares the method of farming and butchery at The Ginger Pig to the industrial scale farming pushed by supermarkets. At every point of comparison, it seems that most animals live short, unhappy lives and are purposefully fattened up prematurely for maximum meat at an early death.
It seems clearer, then, that I actually object to industrialised meat farming. If I can know where the animal comes from and the kind of life it’s had, then I feel more comfortable and less guilty eating it.
This does raise some issues for my fairly empty bank account, but I’m determined to (when possible) only eat meat when I can be guaranteed that it’s come from a nice friendly farm. And I’m even more determined to only serve meat to customers where I can guarantee that I’m paying for a farm to treat the animals well.
The Ginger Pig Meat Book is also great for explaining all of the different cuts of meat from each animal and which dishes each cut is best for. Tim Wilson, proprietor of The Ginger Pig, explains the animals and meat in the first half of the book. In the second half respected cook Fran Warde takes the reader through which meat dishes to cook by month.
Two lessons: learn where the meat I’m buying comes from and cook it in the season it is best for. The love affair continues!
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