Frequently Vegetarian: Making a Case for Eating More Vegetables

A cookbook author and self-proclaimed meat enthusiast makes the case for eating more vegetables.


| September/October 2013


Call me power-crazed, but I’m trying to change your life here. My goal is unambiguously to persuade you to eat more vegetables. Many more vegetables. Perhaps even to make vegetables the mainstay of your daily cooking. And therefore, by implication, to eat less meat, maybe a lot less meat, and maybe a bit less fish, too.

River Cottage Veg Recipes

Leek-Stuffed Squash
Fish-Free Niçoise Recipe
Onion and Kale Pizza Recipe
• Simple Pizza Dough Recipe
Roasted Eggplant Recipe with Seasoned Potatoes
Summer Soup Recipe

Why? Because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good and our planet the least harm. Is there anyone who doubts it to be true? Just ask yourself if you, or anyone you know, might be in danger of eating too many vegetables. Or if you think the world might be a better, cleaner, greener place with a few more factory chicken or pig farms or intensive cattle feedlots scattered about the countryside. Surely it’s close to being a no-brainer.

We eat far too much factory-farmed meat in the West—too much for our own health, and far too much for the welfare of the many millions of animals we raise for food. I believe that factory farming is plain wrong—environmentally and ethically. I’m similarly forthright about fish. I believe it’s a wonderful food, which I like to catch and love to eat. But we are in ever-increasing danger of eradicating this amazing source of food altogether.

Good reasons, you might think, for becoming an out-and-out vegetarian. But that isn’t my plan. I still believe in being a selective omnivore, casting a positive vote in favor of ethically produced meat and sustainably caught fish.

But why, I hear some of you remonstrating, given that I still eat meat and fish, would I want many recipes to exclude them entirely? Perhaps, like me, you’ve already become adept at making a little meat go a long way. So why not allow such sound and thrifty strategies, where a modest amount of meat is used as a perk or spice in a dish, to season and punctuate vegetable recipes? Because it would be a cop-out, that’s why! That approach, useful though it is, is ultimately the wrong mindset for serious change. It suggests we’re clinging on to meat; that we feel any meal is incomplete without it. And that’s the feeling I think we all need to let go of.





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