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Meat-free January 25, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I don’t know if I agree with the following, from the Guardian about ‘meat-free’ foods.

But it also highlights a strange paradox underpinning the centuries-long pursuit of the perfect meat proxy: by trying to seamlessly remove meat from our diets, we are actually reinforcing its importance. “There’s this kind of association of meat and the good life – a bit of luxury, a nutritious diet – that means people want to replicate it in vegetarian terms,” says Rödl. “Because meat is so entangled with how we understand diets historically, it’s really hard to imagine ways outside of it.”

He points to a vegetarian sausage producer he interviewed for his PhD thesis on meat alternatives. She had no desire to replicate the texture or flavour of meat in her vegetable-only products – but nonetheless spoke with pride of the traditional “springiness” of the casing. In other words, she was congratulating herself on enveloping her meat-free product with something modelled on animal intestine.

When we successfully replace meat with a meat-free substitute, we overlook the possibility of a diet that is free of it altogether. “It just kind of keeps this idea of meat-eating as the centrepiece,” says Rödl – of food culture, if not our diet. Counterintuitively, the strange and storied history of the hunt for the perfect proxy really proves the point: “We don’t have an exit strategy from meat.”

Isn’t that contradictory? If we’ve replaced meat with meat free then we’ve replaced meat. Now, the form of the meat-free is up for discussion, but I’ve no particular gripe with those who either eschew meat-like products or those who embrace them. Surely the key thing is to minimise, or cut out, meat? And I do think that in some ways, and I’ve been exposed to vegetarian diets more than most, that

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1. oliverbohs - January 25, 2020

Just more ür-Guardian sanctimonious shite, where the battle to be more virtuous than you is everlasting. Of course, to appreciate the levels and variance of snobbery in the UK, food is the medium to study it through

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WorldbyStorm - January 25, 2020

There’s definitely something in that. It’s not enough to be vegetarian, or vegan, you have the be the right kind of vegetarian or vegan.

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2. yourcousin - January 25, 2020

Surely the thing to remember is that biodiversity and healthy landscapes are paramount. You could hypothetically have a totally vegan world that world that was devoid of wildlife. Not at all a healthy thing.

It is worth noting that along with pollinators, song birds are suffering from an extreme population decline while game birds (birds that are hunted) are generally increasing (ducks, turkeys, pheasants etc). This is largely due to the fact that folks (mainly, though not only hunters) are placing value upon them and working on their habitat, which is the key driver for so many species.

Cutting out meat can be a good thing, but is not a cure all for healthy landscapes or healthy communities.

Post script. I should note, although obviously most folks already know, I’m a hunter and I’ll eat red meat ‘til the day I die.

But I have spent many a day afield observing tattered autumn skies with my dogs in happy solitude and rejoicing over the farmer who left his crop a foot off the ground during harvest or who planted some corn/sunflowers/Milo in a draw that they never intended to harvest. This is country that most folks view as “flat” and “barren”. You begin to see a patchwork emerge as raptors fly overhead competing for dinner although they, much like the game birds I pursue they are playing for higher stakes. Protecting waterways and leaving corners overgrown (I will happily go into a dissertation about irrigation in the west should someone ask) is something that overjoys me even if I curse the meadowlark who flushes when I expect a northern bobwhite quail.

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