It’s that time of year again! With National Vegetarian Week taking place from today until the end of the week, it’s an excellent time to look at our consumption of meat and fish and decide what needs altering. Most people need to make changes of some kind, whether this is for health reasons or ethical ones – so this week could see people deciding if they want to eat meat and fish less, if they just want to consume better-quality products (of which the expense can go hand in hand with the previous point), or even if they wish to continue eating these products.
Followers of this blog may already know that I’m an ex-vegetarian – but just because I now live in the land of chitterlings (which I don’t like) and coq au vin (which I do), this doesn’t mean I’m condemned to consuming meat at every meal. Even my French husband doesn’t see the need to eat fish or meat every day, and while he’s in control of the menu at the weekends, I manage our weekday food – hence why our weekday food this month looks like this:
Plenty of others are on board this National Vegetarian Week, too. Bradford-based Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad is offering a half price tasting platter this week only and Italian chain Bella Italia is offering free side dishes, while Cook Vegetarian magazine is running a series of giveaways on its website, including the chance to win a Kuhn Rikon knife set (for chopping all those veggies!) and a smoothie making kit (you’ll never guess what that one’s for…!). Twitter users can also enter Fragata’s competition to win a vegetarian hamper – winners are announced on May 27th, so get your skates on!
The National Vegetarian Week website itself is naturally a mine of information too: if you don’t know what to cook, it’s hosting all kinds of scrummy ideas on its recipe page, including Anne’s mushroom stroganoff, and there are plenty of good vegetarian cookbooks out there too: try offerings by Simon Rimmer, Madhur Jaffrey, and Celia Brooks Brown. The Vegetarian Society, which is hosting the week, is also running numerous events around the UK, including picnics, barbecues, special discounts and limited edition menus.
As you may have averred from the above, plenty of celebrity chefs have been known to extol the virtues of the humble vegetable family. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall did it with his River Cottage Veg Every Day. It’s even rumoured that Jamie Oliver has a vegetarian cookbook in the works. In the meantime, try recipe books from famous veggie-fanciers Dennis Cotter, Yotam Ottolenghi, Jane Grigson, and Rose Elliot.
And while you’re doing all that, you’ll find me eating my dinner. Tonight? Thai potato patties, followed by Rowley Leigh’s strawberry cake. Happy eating!