My family are meat eaters.
I used to be a vegetarian through highschool, purely because I connected with animals well being (the health benefits of being a vego didn't even occur to me back then), to me it seemed cruel to raise an animal for human consumption. I also have family members and friends who what the same morals towards animals, so I had contact with non-meat eaters throughout my life.
I have to admit, I crave meat. I love the taste. There is nothing more satisfying than an antipasto platter with a bit of prosciutto on the plate. Taste is undeniably the first reason I began eating meat again. Focusing away from sustainability, I feel as though meat has a purpose in our diet, meat from smaller frames such as poultry, seafood and game. I believe in a balanced diet from wholefoods, personally if it was my choice, we would be eating a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, pulses, fruit, grains, some fish and little meat. But, living in a family which considers other members, I feel I must provide what my family wants, within reason. What I don't believe is that meat is an everyday food, that it should be the focus of the meal.
Because I have high morals about animal cruelty and living sustainably, I buy either organic free range meat or at the very least free range. I don't buy my meat from the supermarket, only from local butchers who buy from local farmers.
My two favourite butchers at the moment are Feast Fine Foods, who provide a range of meats and cuts you would see at the supermarket or any other butcher BUT they deal with the most premium producers you can find in the state. You'll find restaurant quality, organic, free range, rare breeds and rare cuts of meat. They really try to respect meat and it shows by the support they have for local farmers and the butchery classes they hold at The Adelaide Central Markets. I buy cheaper cuts of meat from Feast, as their prices are quite high and I'm realising because I buy meat that is mostly on the bone or a whole bird, it allows me to connect with the animal. During food preparation, I find myself slowing down and really seeing what animal I'm working with, where it came from and I give it a little more respect and dignity. I don't think I could get the same feeling from a shrink wrapped, clean piece of fillet.
The second is Wild OZ. Wild OZ caters to my sustainable side. They hunt their produce, to a certain degree. I can be sure to find wild kangaroo (which is one of Australia's most sustainable meats), wild rabbit, open range pork and goat. They also try to focus their flavours on Australian bush foods, which also feeds my passion for native plants.
I'm finding if I have balance with my meat eating I can do so without overwhelming guilt. I am still working towards gradually cutting down my family on farmed red meat and I think kangaroo will be a great alternative. But boy, pushing for veggies in my family is hard work, although Mike has started eating more and he actually LOVES mushrooms now. Persistence!
Does your family eat meat? What are some of your family favourites when it comes to vegetarian meals?