Perhaps not a natural pairing of topics, but there is a link. However, if you just want to look at the recipe, please feel free to skip the waffle and scroll straight to the bottom of the page.
I made pork stew last night. I’d bought the ingredients for it the day before, inspired by the return of wintry weather (boo). But watching a very good mockumentary on iPlayer called ‘Carnage‘ the previous night made the experience of making and eating it a more contemplative one than I’d envisaged.
Written by Simon Amstell, Carnage is a comedy set in a futuristic vegan utopia, when using animals for food has been outlawed. All the insanely happy, peaceful and compassionate people look back in horror at how complacently we exploited animals for food.
It pokes gentle fun in equal measure at both vegans and ‘carnists’ (those who still believe it’s okay to use animals for food), and did a rather good job of raising the valid and interesting points of veganism, without seeming preachy or using only shock tactics. (I fully appreciate many things about how animals are treated are shocking, but also believe people are more open to dialogue and change if you don’t make them feel ashamed or judged.)
While it was uncomfortable viewing at times, it was certainly a simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking piece, and has made me ponder my current attitude towards the topic of animals as food-providers.
My own history with meat is that I’ve had two stints at vegetarianism. The first was as a teenager; I loved the taste of meat but loved animals more, so decided not to eat them. I can’t recall how that ended, aside from that although I had a lot of badges and t-shirts with passionate messages about not eating animals, I was indeed eating them again within a couple of years.
The second stint was as an adult, and was a total change of heart. I’d spent a lovely sunny day on a boat with family and had observed the sport of fishing. That was closely followed by eating a fish and chip supper and it simply flicked a switch inside me. Unlike the first time, the idea of eating meat was now unpleasant.
That period of happy meat-avoidance lasted for years, and my husband stopped eating meat too (basically because he’s too lazy to cook and so generally eats what I eat). I even tried to be vegan at one point, but then I tried Scheese (soya cheese) and felt that it could never work. I consoled myself that by not eating much dairy (it doesn’t really agree with me) and eating free range eggs, I was at least on damage control.
Ten years later I became pregnant, and the only ‘craving’ I had was for chicken. Odd, as even when I’d last been eating meat, I was practically phobic about chicken after a severe dose of salmonella as a student. I tried upping my protein, but eventually gave in and and ate meat. I felt better for it. (Funnily enough, the child I was growing at that point has chosen not eat meat out of compassion for animals.) We didn’t become massive meat eaters by any means, but despite the lack of any cravings for meat, I didn’t resume the avoidance of it either.
Over the last few years, I’ve been consciously moving towards eating less meat; we all love vegetarian food so it’s not been a sacrifice. But when I started on the low FODMAP diet last year, pulses and some other vegetarian sources of protein were either off the menu or limited, and as I got to grips with the complexities of what I could eat, my meat consumption increased for the sake of convenience. I knew vegetarian and vegan low-FODMAP could be done, but was already spending so much extra time analysing my meals for FODMAPs that I often chose the easy option for protein.
While I’ve delighted in the effect the diet has on my health, I’m now feeling slightly less comfortable about the wider impact my food choices have had, and I’ve resolved to do better.
So while I was eating my pork stew last night (which was really tasty), I was pondering my attitudes towards meat eating and compassion, and feeling some changes are afoot (albeit most likely subtle ones at first).
Here’s the recipe for the pork stew (as usual, it varies depending on what I have in) . It’s a good hearty meal – sometimes I serve greens with it, but tonight it came with a buttery jacket potato and hit the spot perfectly.
Give Carnage a watch if you get the chance – regardless of your views on animals as food, it’s a good watch!
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 peppers (different colours if possible)
- 3 slices of smokey bacon, chopped
- 500g diced pork
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- low FODMAP stock
- 1 heaped tbsp GF flour
- garlic infused oil
- seasoning & herbs (I use sage with pork)
- Fry the veg in the garlic oil and herbs, until the veg start to soften
- Add the bacon and pork and stir for a few minutes
- Add the flour and stir in well
- Put in the tomatoes, stock and season to taste
- Cook on a low heat (I went with 160c/ Gas Mark 3) for 2 1/2 hours
- Remove the lid for the last half an hour to reduce the sauce
- Stir in a little more garlic oil at the end if you wish – I do