After this topic came up twice this week and people were majorly surprised by this, let me make this more public – I am a part time Vegetarian 🙂 And I enjoy it
So, let me put some more meat on the bone:
Well, there are basically two simple reasons for it – one of which is mostly health.
I grew up eating meat every single day (mostly pigs my grandfather raised. Nowadays you would call them pretty much organic meat). It was something totally normal that meat would be part of any meal (and I really mean ANY meal). My father would have demanded meat if it would not be served. When I started to separate from my parents, my diet looked pretty much the same. meat every day. But I bought that in supermarkets.
Here another thing that is not widely known: When I was younger and looked for a job during my school vacations I ended up working in an abattoir for 3 yrs. (and yes, I still eat meat). So for me basically thing came together at some point. I do very well know how meat is produced ( and that it takes an animal to loose it’s life). For me the harder part and the question I started to ask myself during the process was the question if anyone can produce a kg of Schnitzel seriously for 5€. Well, yes, you can, but you make the animals suffer for that.
So to close the loop again to where I started – I decided to more consciously consume meat initially. The trigger was one evening where my wife jumped into a shop, getting organic Schnitzel for dinner. That was the taste of my youth! Schnitze that tasted like pork and that I felt the pigs had a good life until they were butchered. That started to make me think.
Now over to the health aspect. If you do mass breading of animals (and it needs to be cheap), you have to use medication for a lot of cases. That is part of where I think it is affecting my own health. I don’t want to eat antibiotics if I don’t have to.
How did this start?
As I said before, the trigger was my wife buying those Schnitzel and remembering the slaughterhouse days. So we agreed at some point to have one veggie day a week. That became the norm for a while. And after a few month we both thought that one day is just not enough for all the vegetarian dishes we started to like. So we extended it to the point where now we trying to eat vegetarian Mo – Thu and have meat Fri – Sun. We are at all not religious about it. If we have leftovers from Sunday – we’ll eat them Monday. If we want to do something vegetarian on the weekend, we just do it.
So – what do you eat then?
As I indicate before, we have way more veggie things to eat than we thought when we started. We do a lot of Mediterranean food (Pasta, pan fried veggies), Indian (very good for vegetarian food) or vegetarian Tapas. Sometimes there are German inspired dishes we do. although I find it hard to find good German vegetarian food (except for anything potatoes related, of course). There is really a lot of great tasty food around. But what we are not doing at all is to try to substitute meat in dishes, meaning no veggie sausages or veggie schnitzel. We don’t want and like that. We try to get back to basic, no processed food and combine it like we enjoy it
Do you still enjoy your Steak?
Oh, yes, I absolutely do and enjoy it. Check Instagram. But we try to use high quality products and not the mass and cheap products. We are in a lucky position to be able to make those choices, also for our veggies.
Food does have a certain cost associated to it. And we as consumers should be willing to pay the real cost (not paying all in between that sometimes make things outrageously expensive by adding charges). As I said before, why should any animal, even if it is at some point being butchered not have a good life? Don’t they deserve it?
Why should I as a consumer feel good about the fact a pig has never seen daylight and never turned older than a few month? Why do I want to eat something that contains a lot of water to gain more weight and is pumped in certain cases with medication to get it to the date of butchering?
Why not choose – if I want to eat meat – to eat it from an animal that had a descent life, was treated well? You’ll notice the difference right when you have the first bite. It is more expensive but provides also a much better taste!
If people can notice this at all – I feel like a lot of people have lost the connection to good quality products. And it also took time for me to get there. How can you taste the nuances if you always eat cheap meat and then have a high priced steak in a steakhouse? You will only notice that it is better and accept that you can’t make this at home – but that is totally wrong! Once people start an interest for the topic of cooking and ingredients used, you’ll get there. Any product has various ways to be cooked, good ones and bad ones. But especially ones you like or don’t like. Try things. Get out of your comfort zone. Nobody expects huge steps, do minor ones. Get some higher quality food and just try things. Maybe it is just me having a pretty good feeling for food and cooking but I think most people are able to get there. With passion, patience and taste. It’s like with everything: You can get to a certain level by trying.
And by using tools. Sous Vide is a great way to get consistent results, meat thermometers help. That all helps you to not waste the money you are spending on food but get good results.
If some of you feel to get a better connection again to how meat is getting on your plate, here are a few videos you might want to take a look at:
I can also recommend this movie, in case you have AmazonPrime. This a great documentary of a french chef searching the best steak in the world:
For most people, it likely has a very surprising end!
One other thing I found surprising and that I want to share two thoughts from Jürgen David, one of the best butchers in Germany.
The first one is that he said, meat is to sold cheap and that there is no real way to produce good quality for the currently average price paid for it.
The second thing is that I heard him say in an interview that he took his daughter out of school lunch – because they were serving meat every day. He said in his family they don’t eat meat every day and that the follow a similar idea to what I am trying to explain as my own Point of view here.
I just want to close this post with saying clearly, I only want to share my thoughts and point of view. I don’t want to tell anyone that one should eat more or less meat. But maybe it triggers a few thoughts for some people reading it and a more conscious consumption of something really amazing – a great piece of meat!