Managing without meat, continued.

I should be back now for the foreseeable future. I had a lazy Sopranos-stuffed week after finishing the environmental essay, and since I wasn’t reading much news or philosophy there was little worth posting here. But now I’ll be beginning my vacation essays (more later), and plan on seeing what’s happened in the world, I should have plenty to say.

Anyway, the environment essay is here. It’s not a masterpiece, but it says succinctly in clear terms what I’ve come to believe about this issue. In short, your individual emissions make a difference, you should certainly reduce them to prevent harm, and you should be very open and loud about the fact that you are doing this. You make your act civic by sharing it this way, and you increase the likelihood that others will follow suit and greater political action will begin. Yes, I think the ethicist’s contribution to this topic is rather simple and minimal.

Over two weeks in, my vegetarianism is going extremely well. I had a ridiculous relapse nightmare involving KFC, but it’s worth emphasising that it was a nightmare. And the main theme was my rationalising to myself with stupid reasons why eating the chicken was perfectly acceptable, and the source of dread was the prospect of being spotted. Which goes to show that declaring this publicly has evidently helped my will power.

But I really feel like I’ve already completely adapted and have no cravings. The notion that I’m being deprived of a great pleasure in life is ludicrous. I’ve realised that I really enjoyed meat most when it was used as a vehicle for other flavours – herbs and spices – through the use of marinades. News flash: tofu can serve that function too, and there’s a whole world of vibrant mouth-bursting meat-free recipes out there which are both filling and exciting. I miss the texture of meats somewhat, and there’s no real replacement for that. But it’s hardly central to happy eating. I’m experimenting a lot more. Eating is actually better now, not least because of the moral weight that has been lifted off my plate.

BTW – Anyone interested in vibrant vegetarian cooking absolutely must purchase Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. It was inevitable that I’d develop a soft spot for a philosopher vegetarian chef with a Guardian column and hip restaurants in London, but the guy’s creativity really is an inspiration. He’ll often name-drop obscure, outrageous ingredients like dried fennel pollen, but most of the time with a little searching I’ve been able to hunt everything down. And it’s hard to explain just how rewarding it is when you effectively execute something extravagant that both tastes and looks sublime. Last night I tried his sweet potato wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche, the balance between the two working a treat:

A few days back I did baked aubergine with lemon thyme, Greek yoghurt and pomegranate:

And tonight, asparagus mimosa:

Then for breakfast, I’ve been frying spinach and chopped cherry tomatoes briefly in olive oil. It’s surprising how much something so simple adds to your conventional poached eggs on toast.

Seriously, who needs bacon?

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