Friday, January 18, 2008

The guilt factor

Well thank you Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mr Jamie Oliver. Thank you for heaping guilt upon guilt upon guilt about the very dinner on our tables.
Seriously, thank you because it’s not as if we don’t have enough to worry about anyway. And being good Irish God fearing people we are always looking for a new dose of worry or a new healthy helping of guilt.
Now, as I look at my Tesco Value chicken breasts I feel I am in some way condoning the wilful abuse of animals and am personally responsible for the suffering of thousands of baby chicks.
Two weeks ago, I thought I was doing good. Those chicken breasts were a good old price for someone on a budget and they featured strongly in my GI Diet friendly recipes. I’d have them stuffed with mozarella and cherry tomatoes, marinaded in lemon and olive oil with mixed herbs or grilled and served with assorted veg in a low fat fajita.
Now, I feel like a murderer.
So my weekly shop this week was a little more complicated. I’m not a big meat eater anyway and my husband (an uber carnivore) frequently beats his head off the wall in frustration at my fussiness.
Offer me some fish (except fish fingers or tinned tuna) and I’ll turn my nose up quick as look at you. Not for me are any of your scaley, icky creatures which swim about in our contaminated seas. I take no joy in seeing something served on a plate complete with 101 tiny bones and some slippery skin. Worse still is when the wee feckers have eyeballs.
Similarly, please, don’t try and serve me lamb. Yes, I know lambs aren’t technically the wee fluffy cloud like creatures that frolic through spring meadows, but in my mind, they are just that and I have no desire to eat them. Keep mint for important things, like Aeros or chocolate chip ice cream. We don’t need it slathered on some poor defenceless wee creature.
Duck is another of my no-nos. Perhaps I spent too much of mychildhood watching Keith Harris and Orville, or perhaps I just like the look of the creatures but the thought of eating one of them leaves me cold. Similarly, geese, pork in most of its forms (Bacon and ham excluded) and any form of liver, heart or (shudder) tongue make me want to gag.
My ultimate horror occured at Chirstmas when I read of a turkey (which I do like) stuffed with something like 25 other birds (which I don’t) and then carved up for dinner. No, no, and thrice no. It’s not right. All I could think of was bones and fat and greasy skin and other such culinary horrors. I almost had to have a wee lie down.
Which leaves chicken breasts and some cuts of beef as my only carnivore delights. About twice a week I’ll make a nice chicken breast, or griddle a wee steak and sit down assured that I’m giving my body the nutrition it needs to continue with my weight loss regime and feel better. And then those rich, do-gooder TV chefs come along and shatter my illusions.
Yes, I suppose I knew that to mass produce the vast quantities of chicken we now eat had to take some sort of extreme farming. When I was wee we were lucky to have chicken once a month. Usually Sunday dinner was pork fillet (which I now can’t eat... probably because of Miss Piggy or something equally irrational) or some Doherty’s Mince, cooked in gravy.
Now, the average family would, I imagine have some form of chicken once a week or maybe even more. So I suppose in my own head in the sand way I knew that perhaps wee chicken didn’t have the best of lives anyway. But, I consoled myself, sure didn’t the organic ones end up on the table anyway? I mean being reared for slaughter is being reared for slaughter- no matter now deluxe the pre-slaughter accommodation.
But with most things of a guilt-inducing nature, once you have heard something, you can’t unhear it. And now that everyone who is anyone is talking about how mean and nasty it is to buy cheaper chicken you can’t help but feel like a bad person even walking near the cheaper chicken section in the supermarket. And yet, an organic chicken (not just the breasts) costs several pounds more than the mass market version.
Of course, a couple of quid is no big shakes to Jamie Oliver and his ilk. But to many people trying to feed their families a healthy, fresh diet it all adds up. Sure isn’t it just cheaper to buy a couple of frozen ready meals than shop for your organic potatoes, veg and pure bred chicken? I
sn’t it more guilt free now to whack a thin crust pizza in the oven then serve a value chicken breast - no matter how healthy it may be? I’m not sure if I’ll cave and become an official evil bad chicken buying person again, but I do know that we could all do without being made to feel guilty for doing the best we can for our families. Unless, that is, Jamie wants to pop over to mine some night and prepare our dinner. (As long as there is no fish, lamb, duck, goose or pork).

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...