My vegetarian resolution is probably the one going the best — and I thought I should explain why I’ve gone this route.
It’s not, particularly, because I am against animals getting their heads chopped off. I am against the cruel treatment in most industrial farms/slaughterhouses/feedlots. Organic meat, however, is fine from an ethical point of view. We are omnivores; we are part of a natural food chain.
Nope, my choice to go vegetarian is prompted more by a desire to experiment. I like new stuff. I’m addicted to travel, to exploring, to new ideas, to books, and to new food. Being vegetarian forces me to eat stuff I wouldn’t otherwise, and there’s a whole world out there beyond lentil soup.
For example, yesterday at lunchtime, we had the materials for a meat-based sandwich, which is what P. had, and what I would have had. Instead, I broke out one of the sweet potatoes I had, and ‘baked’ it in the microwave. Never really eaten sweet potatoes before, except candied style. Result? A brand new lunch food that takes less than 10 minutes, is completely yummy, cheap and reasonably healthy.
Without vegetarianism, I would never have discovered nut roast, parsnips, or paneer tikka. I would never have learned about the wonders of a warm mushroom salad with Stilton and walnuts, or the joy that is asparagus. The fact is, changing my diet forces me to learn new ways of cooking, and thinking about food, and makes my life richer in the long run.
I wouldn’t say that I’ll never eat a burger again. Sometime I’ll go back to a steak with pepper sauce once in a blue moon, or I’ll enjoy a plate of my Mum’s chicken in almond sauce. But by putting restrictions on my eating, I open up a whole new world of culinary delight. Human beings are lazy. Without forbidding myself ham, I’d eat a ham sandwich every day. Before going veggie, I just bought myself a sausage roll off the van for lunch at work. It was boring, but dependable. Now I’ve eaten thai-slaw wraps, potato soup, prawn salads, and all kinds of other more diverse foodstuffs for my lunch instead.