And so, with that rant against the inoffensive butternut squash, the time has probably come to bring this little series of posts to an end. I did think about equating the paucity of choice so often granted to vegetarians to the treatment which is habitually meted out to minorities; to, for instance, the insistence by male dominated work environments on sticking to working practices which were designed in the nineteen fifties to serve the convenience of men with non-working wives, however poorly those practices now serve the needs of the working population. However, that would be spoilt and stupid and insulting to the genuine struggles of so many minorities. Nobody ever died from eating ratatouille. My career prospects have not been damaged by butternut squash. Goat’s cheese, however distasteful I find it, will never cost me financially. It will not steal my health, or my sanity, or my freedom.
I will, however, share with you one little thought I had when I was struggling to formulate how, as a society, we tend, quite naturally, towards putting most of our resources into fulfilling the requirements of whatever qualifies as “the norm”, and, proportionally, very much less into fulfilling the requirements of the “not norm”, whatever that might be. While thinking that, I wondered what it would be like if it were turned around and eating meat became the “not norm”. We might, for instance, have a food and restaurant culture where ninety percent of the dishes were non-meat; where we spoke about “the carnivorous option”; where every restaurant would serve one meat dish per course, but no more; where carnivores would almost weep with excitement to find a restaurant where the meat dish was steak rather than chicken; where my vegetarian friend would not complain about Gregg’s stopping their vegetable pasties and leaving her with a choice of cheese and onion or cheese and onion, but, rather, her carnivorous partner would complain about them stopping their mince and onion pasty and leaving him with a choice of chicken and mushroom or chicken and mushroom.
It would be better for us and better for the planet, and probably better for the animals too. I would love it to happen, but I somehow doubt it will. But maybe, as we build a more sustainable lifestyle, and meat becomes once again the luxury product it has been for most of human history, we will move a little way towards it. And that, in my humble vegetarian opinion, would be no bad thing.