video (obviously) from pulp fiction
i had to choose this clip because of the french subtitles…
according to “where’s the beet?” in time magazine, more and more people globally are participating in meatless mondays and/or calling themselves flexitarians (or part-time vegetarians). for you bacon lovers of the world, i understand. it’s hard to give up…sometimes the smell even makes me salivate. but this growing movement of part-time vegetarians includes graham hill, founder of treehugger.com, who cannot imagine life without sushi. so he calls himself a “weekday vegetarian” – one who chooses to reduce his meat consumption, but not necessarily on a monday.
growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of meat. japanese cuisine in general focuses on veggies that are basically flavored with meat. my irish father would get his meatloaf or steak and potatoes, but that was pretty much once a month or for a special occasion. now, as joel stein writes in the time article, meat is everywhere: on your salad, on the side of your french toast … there are meatlovers pizzas and sandwiches that seem to hold the entire farmyard … according to the u.s. department of agriculture, the average american will consume 21,000 animals in their lifetime … excuse me, while i dry heave.
the availability of cheap meat (the price of chicken hasn’t doubled in the past 50 years, due to factory farming) explains why we eat 150 times as many chickens per year than we did 80 years ago. often, buying vegetables are more expensive than meat that is on sale – what’s wrong with this picture?
as i wrote in a previous post, “go veggie once a week and help yourself and the planet” (and the reason why i post meatless monday recipes every sunday), the environmental impact of everyone going meatless once a week is nothing to sneeze at. sir paul mc cartney has started a u.k. version, meat free mondays – and some of our best chefs are introducing veggie-centric menu items to help ease people into realizing that a square meal does not require a big hunk of animal protein at its center.
all 15 of mario batali’s restaurants serve additional veggie dishes on meatless mondays and he has plans to open a vegetarian restaurant in manhattan…he’s hoping a seasonal celebration of vegetables will encourage his guests to be more excited about non-meat options.
chef josé andrés believes that the pure flavor sensation of vegetables is far more interesting than meat – and that this fact will help american palates mature. even wolfgang puck, when he eats at his restaurant CUT, splits an 8 oz. steak with his wife. the veggie appetizers do well at his steakhouse. so it seems the trend is, even when eating meat, guests are less interested in a fred flinstone-sized slab of meat and going for more balanced, plates celebrating nature’s bounty.
as chef john fraser of dovetail in nyc says about eating meat (he’s changing his menus on mondays that lets diners choose between a 4 course prix fixe menu of vegetarian or vegetable focused to see if the response is great enough to open a completely vegetarian restaurant), “you can relate it to sex – if you have it every day and it’s crazy and beautiful, it isn’t meaningful. but if you have it every once in awhile, it becomes meaningful.”
a bit awkward, chef, but more and more people are getting your message. and that’s some meaty news.