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Age Concerns: All too often in the early years I was at best vegetarian-ish

The last meat to pass my lips was a skanky ham sandwich eaten 40,000ft above Saskatoon (1) in the late 1990s.

That was the last time I strayed from the path of vegetarianism, caused by ravening hunger and Air Canada running out of veggie options.

There had been more than a few lapses before, if I'm honest. I recall hitting a McDonald's in Newcastle in the mid-1990s and at the end of the 1980s I lapsed altogether for two years.

I'm not proud of any of this. For all too often in the early years of my vegetarianism I was, at best, vegetarian-ish. But this century I've been a proper veggie. That's not in itself, I realise, a reason for moral smugness. I'm a vegetarian not a vegan, which is clearly the true destination of anyone who chooses what they eat and drink on animal welfare lines. But I do like milk with my tea.

I'm aware of my accommodations (my shoes are leather) and can more or less live with them. If anything my veggieness is now habitual. Still, scrape away the tofu and Quorn and I eat what I eat because it's the right thing to do.

Yes, I know by nature we're omnivores but we also make decisions based on human culture rather than human nature. People remind me that some animals eat humans sometimes but as far as I know they haven't industrialised the process. And the fact is, over and above the ethics of eating animals, vegetarianism is a more resource-efficient way of feeding the world.

I do feel I'm through the looking glass these days. I can't get excited about the horse meat revelations. The surprise is that anyone is surprised. What also seems strange is that people are worried about eating Red Rum and his mates when they wouldn't give a second thought about eating Daisy the cow or Peppa Pig (2).

Of course on a day-to-day level these things don't work themselves out in a big politics way. They come into play at the dinner table.

At ours, my veggieness is set against the rest of the family diet. J was vegetarian but isn't any more. However, she is dairy free. Daughter No.1 is very fussy but likes butternut squash, while daughter No.2 likes nearly everything except butternut squash. This means there can be four different meals being made at the same time on any night of the week.

In these past few weeks daughter No.2 has become rather obsessed with the idea of eating horse meat. It's not that she is totally horrified by the idea, rather that she's sure it doesn't taste as good as beef.

From time to time, though, she tells me she's going to be a vegetarian too. At such moments I feel my understated veggie advocacy is bearing fruit. Then she tells me she wants chicken curry for tea.

Twitter: @teddyjamieson

FOOTNOTES

[1] Well, somewhere over Canada. I use Saskatoon for alliterative purposes.

[2] Pigs are as intelligent as three-year-old children. Just so you know.

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