You Don’t Have to Eat Meat to Enjoy Fantastic Food, Despite What Celebrity Chefs Might Tell You
Even with all the vegan restaurants cropping up all over the world, and even though many people have tried vegan cuisine and were very pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is, there is still the persistent view that someone who loves food should feel free to eat anything and everything without any concern about animal cruelty, and that to be restrained is somehow wrong.
We humans do have a frightening ability to put our desires, habits, traditions and taste buds first, unfortunately.
We’ve all been guilty at one time or another, and I’m no exception. Before I went vegetarian and then vegan, I couldn’t quite imagine giving up the foods I loved and enjoyed.
But the awesome thing about giving them up is that I don’t miss them at all.
The human taste bud is easily conditioned to like new foods and forget the old tastes and textures, replacing favorites from childhood with new versions or even completely new dishes that don’t resemble anything from the past.
But Matthew Scully, author of the book “Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals and the Call to Mercy,” really nails it when he talks about how our famous chefs dismiss appalling cruelty and slaughter because it’s necessary for “pleasure” (because we all know that vegans can’t possibly enjoy a delicious meal):
“My favorite examples where animal welfare is concerned are the celebrity chefs, always good for comic relief when they pronounce on weighty matters, typically with meditations on the Larger Meaning of Meat: joie de vivre, tradition, family bonds, holidays, conviviality, and all those other good and wholesome things that, we are supposed to believe, all suddenly vanish forever without flesh on the table.
As Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, put it a few years ago in a CNN debate with Jonathan Safran Foer about the ethics of eating meat: “What about pleasure? I mean, for God’s sake, man — pleasure! . . . Sitting together at a table and enjoying meat — isn’t deliciousness important? Isn’t it really important?”
Newsflash for Anthony Bourdain: Pleasure and sitting together to enjoy a meal without causing unnecessary harm to other creatures is actually possible. Having concern for animals and avoiding doing them harm and rejecting the common impulse to selfishly indulge ourselves in foods that cause suffering and death is actually not incompatible with enjoying a great meal with friends and family!
Imagine that. 😀
And it’s being done on a regular basis and becoming more and more common.
Perhaps he should give it a try.