Monday 18 – Sunday 24 March is Meat Free Week. The purpose of Meat Free Week is to raise awareness about factory farming and excessive meat consumption. I am very excited about it. Many years ago, I tried to be a vegetarian. I think I lasted about 12 months. I missed steak and bacon too much. But as I rejoined the carnivores of the world, I made a decision about how I would source my meat. Initially, I’d only eat meat that would have otherwise been wasted, or was killed on a friend’s farm. That question about knowing the source and lifestyle of an animal I’d consume has remained vitally important in my food choices. Of course I only buy free range chicken and eggs. But I came to realise that the factory farming in the pork industry is also pretty terrible. Pigs are wonderful, intelligent creatures. They too, deserve to roam free, with space to root around and wallow in the summer heat. So it’s also very important to buy free range pork too.
This week, I’ll only be blogging meat free recipes. I hope to bring you a fig and blue cheese tart, pumpkin pasties, and beetroot gnocchi. I’m also very excited to say that I’ll be doing a meat free cooking demonstration at the Capital Region Farmers Market on Saturday 23 March. I’ll be working through a few of my favourite meat free dishes to show that you can have perfectly delicious and nutritious meals minus the meat. But I also want to show the quality of produce you can get when you don’t buy factory farmed meat. Sure, you need to make the commitment to pay a little more, but when you think about it, that’s not entirely unreasonable when you consider the ethics involved. Besides, since finding some of these wonderful producers, I’ve found I actually don’t feel the need to eat as much meat per portion, because the flavour is far superior. With a mixture of meat free meals, and better meat when you have it, and choosing ethically produced meat, we can all do our bit to make the world a better place for all the lovely creatures that reside in it.