This is a post about my relationship with sheep and how they have changed my life.
I have recently adopted a vegetarian lifestyle but it is not because I don’t want to eat sheep. They are delicious and I could chew on this baby until the cows came home, it is not that.
(I couldn’t actually eat this one. This is a ewe being raised for breeding. The farmer buys them for £50 lets them mow the grass for a year and then sells them for £100. That is what happens on this farm and then they are used to breed lambs for the next five or six years)
I would have no problem eating this sheep because over the last year I have observed the quality of life that these animals experience and it is good.
Their lives are not long but the time that they have is a good time and if we are going to eat meat at all then this is the way to do it.
Lambs are born and they have a close bond with their mother. They grow up and spend their lives with their mother. They form bonds with the other lambs and play together in the meadows. They have a close social bond with all of the other sheep in their flock. If you put two flocks in the same field they each stay with their own, so they must recognise each other and have some relationship. They have acres of space and they are cared for.
It is watching this that has brought home to me that all animals should at least have this much and they don’t.
My vegetarian stance is a stand against intensive farming. I have not become a faddy eater, If I come round to your house I will eat whatever is put in front of me (hopefully that will be roast lamb) but I don’t want to buy it or have animals mistreated on my behalf when I can manage quite well without it.
It just became too difficult to sort out where my meat had actually come from so I decided that the simplest thing was to give it up completely.
So what does it mean…. “going vegetarian?”
On the face of it, it looks pretty grim.
I am a good cook. For many years I did all of the family cooking. Preparing food for others is a way of showing love and I take to it readily. These days I live alone and most of the time I can’t be bothered to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when it is just for me.
I tend to make myself a pot of stew or casserole and that will do me for two days with a nice roast chicken that quickly becomes a pasta or rice dish. It doesn’t take much time.
One of my favourite dishes until recently was pork belly, beans, peppers and chilli (hot chilli) and I would serve it with a big dollop of cottage cheese straight from the fridge. The contrast of the cold cheese and the burning chilli was delicious but I don’t do that any more.
I have had some good success making sausage casseroles with vegetarian sausages. They are proving delicious and spicy. I really couldn’t tell that there wasn’t meat in them.
Last night, for my supper I had baked sweet potatoes with goats cheese and salad. That was a strange combination of flavours a bit like salty chocolate that didn’t quite hit the spot for me.
I haven’t tried these next two yet.
In case you are new to vegetarianism I will tell you what I have found out.
There is probably a lot more to vegetarian cooking than this but I have to start with what I know.
Anyway I am doing it for them. Every animal that ends up on our plates should have something of a life first.
If I should go all wan and pale it might be because winter is coming and I may lose my tan.