In praise of meatless steak

Sirloin, rump, tomahawk, fillet, rib-eye. However it comes, is there any food that gets salivated over more than steak? Restaurant reviewers compete to outdo one another with their florid descriptions of the sensual delights of tucking into a particularly prime example. But then steak comes loaded with far more than a dollop of garlic butter or hollandaise. More recently, tucking into a juicy slab of meat has also become a bold statement of ‘I will eat – and live – as I please’, a carpe diem rejection of vegan-botherers and eco-worriers. Veganism is on the rise, with the number of vegans in Britain quadrupling between 2014 and 2019. This month

What to eat in game season

Game is a perfect refutation to the sort of militant vegan campaigners who go around placing floral tributes on packaged meat. So long as shoots are responsibly conducted, game is as environmentally sustainable and ethical as meat-eating gets. But this year looks set to be a tough one for parts of the industry. Chiefly because of a severe outbreak of avian flu in France, gamekeepers in the UK have struggled to source enough birds to rear (90 per cent of partridge eggs and 40 per cent of pheasant eggs are imported from or through France). By some estimates up to 70 per cent of partridge shoots and nearly a third of planned pheasant

Peta, Lysistrata and the comedy of a sex strike

The German branch of the ‘green’ organisation Peta (‘People for the ethical treatment of animals’) is demanding that, until men stop eating meat – apparently they cause 41 per cent more pollution than female carnivores – women must deny them sex. The same sanction had its origin, of course, in Aristophanes’s comedy Lysistrata (411 bc), staged during the war between Athens and Sparta (431-404 bc), just after Athens had suffered a disastrous defeat in a failed attempt on Sicily. Naturally, an organisation like Peta might well think the play was in earnest. Was not Lysistrata proposing a noble, female-instigated sex-strike, by the women of both sides, to stop a war?

In praise of British lamb

In one of Roald Dahl’s lesser-known short stories, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, the guilty Mrs Maloney tempts police officers into enjoying a spot of supper while they’re at her house hunting for the weapon used to kill her husband. That’s the hell of a big club the guy must’ve used to hit poor Patrick, one of them was saying. The doc says his skull was smashed all to pieces just like from a sledgehammer.That’s why it ought to be easy to find.Exactly what I say.Whoever done it, they’re not going to be carrying a thing like that around with them longer than they need.One of them belched.Personally, I think it’s

Five tips for a sumptuous summer barbecue

The sun is set to shine again this weekend, and those lucky enough to have access to a garden are turning their minds to al-fresco dining. So we’ve gathered together our top five tips to help you pull off your weekend barbecue – everything from how to get the best out of your meat, to barbecue-friendly puddings. 1. Marinating Marinating meat (and veg!) is a no-brainer when it comes to injecting flavour quickly and easily: using punchy spices, herbs, sugars and salts and letting them get to know the raw meat is minimal work for maximum reward. Ideally, you marinate quite far in advance, 12-24 hours depending on the marinade

Has Covid turned us into a nation of cyclists?

On this day Would 19 July make a suitable ‘freedom day’ (assuming Covid restrictions are lifted even then)? There is an ominous warning from history. In 1919, 19 July was designated ‘Peace Day’, on which victory in the Great War would be celebrated with parades and banquets, three weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. In London 20,000 service men and women marched on a seven-mile route past the temporary Cenotaph. Many demobbed servicemen felt aggrieved, however, that so much money was being spent on celebrations when many of them were out of work and still without the housing they had been promised. Trouble erupted in several towns,

Are you man enough to eat raw offal?

The dominant wolf gets the liver, at least according to the American podcaster Joe Rogan. In one episode, a bodybuilder called ‘CarnivoreMD’ (real name Paul Saladino) tells him: ‘If you eat liver, you get to be an alpha male… or alpha female.’ Offal has taken a markedly macho turn in recent years. No longer resigned to memories of the postwar school canteen, organs have become the preferred food of a certain type of gym bro. The word offal implies wastage – from the Middle Dutch for offcuts – but it can also be a delicacy. Recently saved from a government ban on cruel foods, foie gras is only the most

Why I retrained as a butcher

Two years ago, I enrolled on a butchery course. I rather fancied seeing how the sausage was made, and also envisaged taking home handsome pork chops and having an ‘in’ when I needed to order my Christmas turkey. But the amateur course was no longer offered by my local college. So instead of a four-week, two-hour evening course, I signed up for a year-long Level 2 NVQ in craft butchery that involved a lot more anatomical theory and hairnets than I had anticipated. Butchery work is physically demanding — I wasn’t made for carrying beef forequarters over my shoulder — and comes with the usual risks of a job involving

Letters: In defence of the National Trust

Trust us Sir: I refute Charles Moore’s assertions (‘Broken Trust’, 5 June) that the National Trust frowns on local expertise, ignores its members and is prone to ideological zealotry. National Trust houses are historic treasures of national importance and we are very proud to care for them. Before the pandemic, the Trust was spending three times more on its houses than on coast and countryside. Covid has caused regrettable staff reductions, but we still have more curatorial posts than we did several years ago. This is hardly an organisation ‘attacking the very idea of country houses’. The report looking at links with slavery and colonialism was not driven by ideology,

The ‘clean meat’ revolution is coming

On 19 December last year, some chicken nuggets were sold in a restaurant called 1880, in Singapore. This doesn’t sound like a significant turning point in history, but it was. That small plate of chicken nuggets might well have been the start of a major industrial, social and cultural revolution — one the UK needs to prepare for. That Singaporean chicken nugget was the first time in history that meat that did not come from a slaughtered animal had been sold commercially. It was genuine chicken meat, not a substitute, but it had been cultured from cells in a vat called a bioreactor. The cultured chicken meat was approved a

Now we’re talking: mouth-watering meat boxes to order in

If you’re sick to death of Deliveroo, it’s time to take a look at the meat box. Forget vegan meats and plant-based pretenders. It’s dark and wet and we’re all stuck indoors — there’s no point making ourselves any more miserable. Steakhouses and brasseries have been moving their menus online and into cardboard boxes, with a bit of home prep involved to ensure it’s fresh on the plate. We’ve all got used to the idea that you can order anything over the internet — but there’s still something faintly thrilling in opening up an innocuous package and finding a Sunday roast staring back at you. And it seems bored Brits

Could this pandemic be the death of veganism?

‘Do you want some of the private stuff from out the back?’ said the butcher to the builder boyfriend, leaning forward over the counter and winking theatrically. The builder b winced a little for this was starting to feel like the terrifying scene in League Of Gentlemen when Mr Briss starts selling a mysterious and highly addictive ‘special’ meat to the residents of Royston Vasey. Thankfully, this butcher was only selling private lamb. He revealed his secret stash to the BB because he took a liking to him. The butcher grinned, revealing big teeth between rosy cheeks, before disappearing out the back and returning with an entire side, which he