Both of my children are vegetarians. Teenage Daughter sat at the dinner table five or so years ago with roast chicken on her fork, looked at it, said, "This used to be alive" and promptly burst into tears. She hasn't eaten meat since. Teenage Son followed about three years ago. I have to admit I didn't expect him to continue; I thought he was just jumping on his sister's bandwagon. He's hit that stage in his growth where he'll eat anything that's not tied down; anything except meat. Credit where credit is due.
I became a vegetarian when I was nineteen. In the nearly - but not quite - thirty years since, I've been a vegetarian, eaten only fish and eaten fish and chicken. These days I do the latter so I'm definitely not a vegetarian. Husband eats everything. He called from interstate the other night to proudly tell me he was going to cook his first ever steak. Ick. Better there than here.
These days Teenage Daughter is well educated on vegetarianism. She told me the other day that more carbon emissions could be prevented by someone eating a vegetarian diet for a year than giving up driving a car for the same period. Food for thought - pun intended.
The other day I blogged about the Slow Movement and about what we eat. I didn't really touch on the politics of it, however. We definitely eat out and get take-away. Teenage Daughter works in a family owned and run Chinese restaurant. Most of our dining and take-away is at or from there. The food is fresh and tasty and there is something for all of us on the menu. Eating in there is an exercise in Slow Living! I like that now that I'm used to it. Occasionally Husband and I buy chicken and chips from a local business.
These days we've almost entirely ditched chain and franchise dining. Speaking for myself that has been a conscious choice. Sometimes I meet friends for coffee or lunch and try where possible to choose, not only independent places but ones that use locally grown products. One I particularly like is The Organic Market and Cafe. I got caught out and about the other day; I had expected to be home for lunch but was still in the thick of running errands. I happened to be in a local bakery so I ate there. It wasn't the healthiest of lunches (a vegetarian pasty) but it wasn't the golden arches.
The large fast food chains concern me. I don't know who runs them, what's in their 'meals' and where the ingredients come from. I don't know where their profits go and I don't know what corners they cut to ensure those profits. I don't know what impact all that food growth and production is having on the environment. I don't know what the long term consequences of regular 'dining' there will have on our health as a community but I know it won't be good. The fact that they promote themselves as family friendly is particularly scary. I have similar issues with pre-prepared supermarket meals for the same reasons. I get that people are busy and that I'm lucky to be at home during the day. I also get that convenience and fast food manufacturers are playing on the fact that people are busy.
I'm off now to make some lunch!