I'm not a carnivore that must have some kind of meat every day, I can happily eat vegetarian meals packed full of tofu and beans for days in a row. But there comes a time when I must have a tasty lamb cutlet, a succulent pork chop or a juicy steak.
This realisation of my passion for meat came to me over the weekend as I was pouring over the guide for the Sydney Food Festival. I saw the listing for a dinner with Fergus Henderson from St John in London. Set close to London's famous meat markets, this restaurant focuses on meat, but not just the prime cuts, Fergus makes every part of the animal a gastronomical treat. This idea is obviously not a new one and thinking about the having the opportunity to eat a whole pig from snout to trotter brought out a medieval drool in me. It's a little exy so I'm not sure I'll get to go (plus it's probably already sold out), but it did get me thinking about meat and my consumption of it.
I'm a believer of the idea that you either eat meat or you don't. Which means if you eat meat, you eat all meats, none of this 'I eat beef, but I don't eat veal' or 'I eat chicken, but I don't eat rabbit' business. It also means you should be willing to eat all parts of the animal (this part of the philosophy I'm still getting used to). On the other side of the argument if you're vegetarian please, please, please don't eat faux meat. We used to live near a vegetarian restaurant that had "duck", "beef", "chicken" on it's menu - tofu molded into meat shape and made to taste like meat is just plain ridiculous. If you're vegetarian, don't eat fish or chicken - they're animals too. I admit that I'm willing to try any type of meat (yes, any type except human) if it's served to me in an appetizing manner, Skip does think I'm a little weird for this.
Skip and I have always talked about how we want our kids to know where their food comes from, so they know that steak they're eating comes from a cow not a plastic-wrapped package from Coles. Lil-lil beat us to the punch when she was 18 months old and we were looking at goldfish in a pet store and she excitedly said: "Fish! Yum!".
We also tried having chickens to help the kids with this education, but the buggers never laid eggs and we spent all our time chasing them out of the house. Lil-lil did love chasing them round the yard though. And Skip's latest method is to point to the ducks swimming on the pond at the Botanical Garden and say "Girls, look at those delicious ducks! They'd make great confit or Peking-style." Hmmm..... I think that might be taking it a little too far.
We like to buy our meat from free-range, organic producers as much as possible too. I have to admit this is mainly because the taste is infinitely better, but also if any animal activists question my carnivorous activities I can tell them the animals I eat lived a good life.
So my challenge for the rest of the year is to eat all sorts of new meat, served up in all manner of ways - but most importantly that it's the best quality and has been farmed in a humane (and tasty) way! Bon apetit!