For the last few weeks I've been cooking only meatless meals at home. Notice I say cooking not eating because when we order take-out we still choose our old favorites and a plan to make clear vegetable soup flew right out of the kitchen door when we opened a bottle of Heartland Stickleback and found it needed a really juicy steak to do it justice. That entailed a quick sortie to the local steakhouse, purchase of delicious rib-eye with garlic butter to go so we could enjoy the now fully breathed wine. Our local haunts can rest assured we will still be ordering heavy on the fish and meat when we eat out but when we make a meal at home it no longer contains any protein with a face.
This decision comes not from any ethical standpoint but rather from a lack of interest in the meat offered at the supermarket. We stood together one Saturday morning gazing at the cuts of meat on offer and I knew I just couldn't face simmering another ragu, stewing another shank or grilling another chop. Call it laziness if you will but it felt like an epiphany: I will only cook vegetables, beans and lentils this week. That week became two, then a month and more until, somehow, we are one of those households that doesn't eat meat.
This is actually nothing new. For the first few years we were together we were vegetarian, driven by one part conviction and one part poverty. We lived on hearty stews made from carrots, onions and split peas, ate a huge amount of homemade Indian and Chinese dishes and learned new recipes from the "Cranks" cookbooks. It was only when we moved to a village with a master butcher who specialised in game that we introduced meat into our diet. Perhaps if we were able to procure more interesting meat here our vegetarian spree wouldn't have lasted this long. I do know that my stomach thanks me for making the switch-no more bloating and feeling queasy after meals; my only disappointment is that I haven't lost an ounce since I gave up meat.
I don't know if the coming cold weather will entice me to make 5-Spice Shortribs again or if I'll make Aduki Bean Casserole instead. I have a feeling we are in this for the long haul.