Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Fine Kettle Of Fish

The times they are a-changin. As I began to type, this sentence just popped into my head out of nowhere. I momentarily pause to remember who said this? Creases appearing on my forehead, but it doesn't help bring forth the answer. Yes, I'll probably Google it later, but for now it seems fitting when I'm poised to discuss the vegetarian movement. The definitions of being a veggie are changing, which for me is proving rather unsettling.

The future of food is modifying our landscape, but I hesitate to claim it's for the better. The same is true too of the vegetarian movement. Yes, we need to re-think our food, but I'm not sure I agree with the meat-free and fish-less strategy. Meat-shaped flavoured patties, chicken-style chunks, mock mince, and ready-made meals have taken over the veggie cook-chill cabinet. Be a veggie and still enjoy the taste/texture of meat. You won't even notice the difference. It tastes just like the real thing! These are some of the statements you might hear said. Has being veggie ultimately come down to consuming packaged, meat-free foods? These products have their place. Yes, they help to reduce animal suffering and global environmental issues, but I hate to think these now define vegetarianism. I'm not going to lie. I do consume meat-free products if I'm aware I haven't met my protein quota, but it's rare. A block of tofu usually my saviour. I confess I had an inward whoop of delight when I saw Quorn's fish-less fingers and cakes. I read the ad, fish without the fish-in! and followed this with a groan. Aren't Quorn just cashing in on the lately concerned pescetarian market? New veggies often take a gradual route from reducing meat, to eating fish, then turning to meat-free alternatives. I like to keep-up-to-date to offer advice, so may test out the range for research purposes.

Overall, I'm concerned a modern vegetarian's reliance on this meat-free and fish-less life of convenience could be unhealthy. As a collective group, I want us to actively promote a veg-full diet, and not switch to endorse emulated meat. The term “veggie” to me implies just that - plenty of veg, as well as beans and lentils. A plate of meat-free and two veg doesn't quite live up to this label. We're in a fine kettle of fish as they say. Another classification coming our way. Let's have the debate with the right to reply. All those in favour say aye.