When one goes out for dinner, there is always That One Dish. The Most Expensive Dish. And that dish, in the restaurants I frequent, is meat based. Steak, specifically. The plate arrives, a steaming hunk of animal surrounded by superfluous vegetables that don’t really matter because it is the browned, juice-running delight from whichever animal that the diner is wanting to sink their teeth into.
Me, I love meat. Well, I loved meat. I still enjoy it; when cooked properly, I savour the richness and juiciness that a well seasoned burger or a slice from a roast delivers. It is easy to see how people develop a dependence on meat, swearing that they have to have meat every day or they like, die.
However, there are a few drawbacks to meat, although before I continue I want to clarify this is not going to turn into an anti-horse meat rant – I have little complaint about the mislabeling of meat products save I think people should know what they are eating. I would LOVE to try horsemeat (I might have bought a Tesco Everyday Value spag bol in the hope that I would be sampling some of the horsemeat that snuck into UK supermarkets). However, I will wait to go to France so I know that the horse story is not a cover and we haven’t all been eating, I don’t know, cat. When I eat horse (knowingly), I will be sure to post. So, disadvantages: of course it does contain fat, there’s the risk of food poisoning if you don’t cook it correctly, but I think as well there’s a danger of meat becoming the staple to a meal, the fire being the meat and the veg being the smoke. It is the go-to ingredient when people want to make a creation, to impress. But vegetables have their moments too.
My brother has always vehemently avoided vegetables, enacting the role of the individual who chooses the mixed grill and mocking the vegetarian options. However, having a vegetarian girlfriend has changed that: he now eats meals which do not have meat in! This has caused ripples of shock across our family. I don’t eat a lot of meat during term time, so I am used to no meat, but when I was invited to my brother’s house for dinner with the gee eff, I was excited to have a proper vegetarian meal where the vegetables would speak for themselves, instead of making way for the sausages, or the chicken breast, or the T-bone steak.
We had a tart, with a mustard and creme fraiche sauce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. This was accompanied by a leaf salad and sweet potato wedges. Root vegetables and I have never really seen eye to eye, parsnips being a definite no-no. However, although some weren’t quite cooked enough which made them hard and less flavoursome, the properly cooked ones were sumptuous. The outside skin split open in my mouth and soft, sweet goodness took over my senses in a way that made me see hot orange stars. The saltiness of the mustard and the juiciness of the vegetables sang along to the thick texture of the wedges and the combining flavours left me wanting in nothing. No meat, nothing.
This is not about whether you are vegetarian or not. I am just advocating vegetables’ rights, giving them a voice where they have none! Presenting them as a tastebud sensation in themselves. But this post doesn’t mean a lot unless you try out a vegetarian recipe yourselves. Greens, not words!