Picture it, Colchester 2004.
My then-boyfriend Graeme and I were visiting a pet store with friends who wanted to buy an aquarium, possibly even a clown fish after just having seen Finding Nemo.
There were tanks of tropical fish. That is to say, there were little creatures of dark crimson and royal blue who flickered and swam and propelled themselves with voluntary movements of their muscles and fins. They filtered water through their gills as they swam, extracting oxygen from the water. Miracles of creation no bigger than a 50p coin, a colourful reflection of the miracle of nature.
As I watched them slightly mesmerised, a voice piped up with “I wonder how that tastes?” about a particular dark blue fish. I was horrified. “Whoa there!” horrible carniverous voice. Here I am reflecting on the miracle of creation and you pipe up with your petty, low-life stomach urges? How could I pretend to admire and love the other beings on earth when my basest desire was to gobble them up with sliced and fried fish and a bit of lemon?
That wasn’t the moment I decided to be vegetarian but it was one of the many moments scattered around my life that made me decide to stop eating other animals.
My following and practise of Buddhism has also convinced me to have my actions in harmony with my thoughts and feelings. So here it goes.
2014 is my year of not eating other creatures. Reviews and explorations of food on this blog will not contain meat products.
So far it has been a bit of a challenge and instead of it being a problem, it reminded me that I like puzzles and thinking about things and analysing.
There will be more to follow but I wanted to publish this while I had the chance.
I was eating chicken wings the other day at work and not only did they remind me of the time I worked at a fast food restaurant on university campus but they also made me feel utterly wretched for the poor creatures who died so I could have this meal in a disposable container.
I had just been reading statistics about foot and mouth disease in animals and how an immense number of them are killed just to control the spread of it. It brought to mind the documentary I saw once about foot and mouth disease and how one of the men who had to kill lots of sheep developed PTSD. Wouldn’t you? Destroying so many souls. He said that he had killed a mother sheep and the little one was backing away and trying to escape from him. I was heartbroken eating these chicken wings at my desk at work.
I know that we don’t need meat to survive. We can find all the essential nutrients from other sources. I was raised as a meat eater but it’s hard to keep making a conscious choice to eat another creature. I can do it just fine when I don’t think about it. It’s easy and automatic.
I was thinking about all that when I came across a piece on vegfest by Fritha. She outlines how eating meat is not just a choice to bring about another creature’s death but it’s also a way of perpetuating suffering in these poor animals. I don’t want to part of that.
I am going to put a lot of effort into bringing so much amazing food into mine and Mersina’s lives so that meat just doesn’t have a place in it. I also read Ohdeardrea‘s blog and her pictures and descriptions of her vegetarian / vegan meals for her and her little girl are incredibly inspiring and just so beautiful.
Choosing this type of lifestyle feels good not only spiritually but also physically. My body doesn’t do too well with a lot of fats and meat products. I’m just going to see how it all goes for a while and enjoy the delicious and colourful foods out there.
Tonight we are having vegetables in a tomato sauce with pasta for little M and with chickpeas in a tortilla wrap for me.
1 red onion,
1 green pepper
a few mushrooms for the sauce
a few raw mushrooms to add later
1 tin of chick peas
1 clove of garlic
1 carton of passata
Chop onion roughly, slice courgette and green pepper, chop up half the mushrooms and slice the garlic thinly. Add all these to a frying pan and saute with olive oil until softened and slightly browned. Add garlic towards the end of the frying process as it burns easily then add the tomato passata, some water and a dash of salt. Cover and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Once the sauce is thickened it is ready.
I’m going to keep looking for inspiration in places like pinterest and other websites with vegetarian recipes. Please send me any recipes you think I might like. I asked about soy bechamel the other day on Twitter and some lovely people sent me links with great recipes including silken tofu so I am going to pop by the Chinese supermarket tomorrow and get some.
Mark Taylor reviews Indian restaurant Dil Se in today’s Metro and in Crackerjack on July 21. This vegetarian restaurant on Gloucester Rd is a venture by by Tosh Lakhani and his son Rumit who also run Myristica on the Welsh Back.
They describe Dil Se as Bristol’s first Vegetarian Indian Delicatessen. Using fresh local ingredients, Dil Se serves the finest Indian delights. Using knowledge and techniques handed down through generations and provides a truly authentic taste!
No alcohol is served and so far only dinner sittings are available but the prices are cheap. The review was a glowing one and Myristica is one of my favourite restaurants in Bristol so I’m adding Dil Se to my list of places to visit.
http://www.dil-se.co.uk/ 386 Gloucester Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 8TR