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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 11:30am on 14/06/2008 under , ,
I was teaching a girl on Wednesday whose parents keep sheep as a kind of hobby. At the end of the lesson her mum handed me a plastic bag dripping with blood, and said, "You're not still vegetarian, are you?" And thus I became the proud owner of some free meat -- shoulder of lamb, to be exact.

I panicked about it a bit. I may not be vegetarian any more but I'm still not totally comfortable with the rules of hygiene when it comes to meat. It was much easier being vegan. Anyway, long and boring story short, I stole mum's Jamie Oliver At Home cookbook, and some rosemary and mint out of her garden, and followed Jamie Oliver's instructions for slow roasting the lamb shoulder (four hours in the oven! I'm trying not to feel guilty about electricity consumption) on a bed of rosemary and garlic, with mashed potatoes and carrots, boiled cabbage, and a gravy made of the roasting juices, mint, stock and wine vinegar. Oh, it was tasty. With the extra thrill of being cheap (free meat, free (stolen) herbs, free (allotment) cabbage). And there's still plenty of meat left over for another couple of meals this weekend.

The cheeky postman has just delivered my new bra. He was not cheeky about this, although he could've been. Instead he tapped repeatedly on our living-room window, and made suggestions that the lettuce seedlings growing on the windowsill were actually cannabis. Cheeky bugger.

My new bra fits. It's the same size as the new bra I ordered last month, which didn't fit (too small), which was the same size as the bra I ordered months and months ago that did fit. I don't know what to make of this -- maybe I should just be pleased that I now have two bras that fit properly.

Gordon Brown makes me sad. I've seen and read fictional tragedies, and always thought that they could never happen in real life because no-one would be that stupid. And there he is, being that stupid. He thinks he's won the government, but he's actually lost the country. Idiot.

And yesterday I went to the allotment.

I didn't do much, because of laziness. The pumpkin seedlings under the upturned jam-jars looked a little cramped, so I let them out. The poor little things were all twisted and hunched and looked afraid of the light and the fresh air -- like the kids running out of the mines into the sunlight in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Remembering that last time I released a pumpkin plant from the jam-jar it mysteriously vanished overnight, I scattered slug pellets everywhere (organic principles be damned), then covered the bed with fleecy stuff to protect them from the cold night air. Hopefully they're still there right now. We'll have to go and check later. I really want the pumpkin patch to work this year: we've had a run of bad luck in the last three or four years, with plants dying or vanishing or simply not growing. I just want some pumpkins! *wails*

The greenhouse got a good watering, during which I noticed that some of the tomato plants have started fruiting.

Tomatoes! Wheeee!

I harvested the fattest cabbage (for eating with the lamb). It's the first home-grown cabbage we've ever eaten. I can confirm that it tasted exactly like cabbage. And I harvested the fattest lettuce, which we haven't eaten yet but previous experience suggests it will taste slightly better than shop-bought lettuce.

Last year's leeks have bolted. When vegetables bolt it means they give up growing more leaves or getting fatter etc and instead put all their energy into producing stems then flowers then seeds. They don't taste as good once they've bolted. Good varieties are often described as "slow to bolt". Lettuce is terrible for bolting if you let the soil dry out for too long. Anyway, the leeks have bolted, which means there's a hard stem shooting up through the centre of each one, and promising bulbous lumps have appeared at the top. Eventually these will burst open to reveal globes made of lots of tiny purple flowers. I deliberately left the leeks in the ground for too long so that they would bolt -- they'll add height and colour to the allotment, provide food for bees, and make me smile whenever I look at them.

The redcurrants and gooseberries are almost ready to harvest. I wish we had a freezer. There's only so much jam you can eat in a year.
There are 17 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
loz: (Life on Mars (Sam 3))
posted by [personal profile] loz at 11:17am on 14/06/2008
I kind of love the fact she handed you the bag before she asked if you were still vegetarian. That's tact, right there.
posted by [identity profile] at 11:22am on 14/06/2008
I thought that. :D
posted by [identity profile] at 12:02pm on 14/06/2008
I don't particularly like lamb, but that meal sounds so yummy.

What's Gordo done now? I haven't seen the news today. Or are you talking about the 42 day thing? Or just plain overall? :D
posted by [identity profile] at 01:19pm on 14/06/2008
It really was delicious. But I love the taste of lamb so I'm biased. :D

No, I was referring to the 42 days thing. But there's also the ID cards thing and the DNA database thing. David Davis is simply stating all the things that are making the public uncomfortable -- things that government keeps insisting everyone wants and needs. I also used to be a staunch Labour supporter, but if I still lived in the UK then I'd be voting Lib Dem now. If I was in DD's constituency then I'd be voting for him because of this one issue (also, it's nice to see someone ruining their career for the sake of their principles).
posted by [identity profile] at 12:55pm on 14/06/2008
See, as a jew, the quantity of blood that accompanies most meat really squicks me out (we drain our meat first - my mum's defrosting mince might have a very pale pink run-off, but that would be it)...

Every now and then, it will suddenly dawn upon Kit that there's yet another "wonderful, delicious" food I have never eaten and never will do, and he doesn't understand why I don't mind!
posted by [identity profile] at 01:16pm on 14/06/2008
I totally understand. When I was vegan, the thought of eating any kind of animal product disgusted me. I had to reintroduce things slowly: processed things like sausages first, because they don't even really look like meat, then bacon, because that's a simple thing to cook, then little lumps of chicken, then lamb chops, and now here I am roasting a shoulder. :D Odd thing is that I can't digest beef.
posted by [identity profile] at 01:23pm on 14/06/2008
Kit has objected to me calling his food "dead stuff" on the rare occasion he has meat - now I generally behave and call it by a more specific name ;-) But going back to eating meat does seem like a pretty huge psychological step to me, that I don't particularly want to overcome, or see a need to.
posted by [identity profile] at 02:32pm on 14/06/2008
I had three reasons at the time.

1. I found it difficult to cope socially when I was vegan. Being vegetarian seemed like a pointless compromise. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person. :D

2. If we ever had children then I'd want them to have an omnivorous diet, until they were old enough to decide for themselves what they wanted to eat. It doesn't seem fair to impose something like that on a child who has no choice in the matter.

3. Meat is tasty. I wanted to taste it again.
posted by [identity profile] at 02:52pm on 14/06/2008
I agree with you totally on 2. While I do know people whose parents were vegetarian and raised them vegetarian, who were healthy, etc., leaving it up to them to make the decision when they were old enough, given that kids are often finicky eaters, and with the whole growing daily, learning loads, etc., aspects, it seems sensible to encourage a wide, healthy diet rather than restricting their reasonably arbitrarily.

1. is one of the reasons I don't think I could be vegan. The general acceptance/awareness/understanding are pretty low in the UK, and there's very little convenience food aimed at vegans (I don't think that Tescos do a vegan sandwich, and while I think some of their couscous salads at the back of the shop are, it would make grabbing something for lunch when there's no time in the morning much harder!)...

3. Fair enough! I miss marshmallows more than meat, but used to really like some things (salt beef sandwiches, lamb chops, my mum's turkey schnitzel, fish fingers and chicken nuggets).

Part of my rationale for turning veggie was that I could easily and healthily stop eating meat, didn't eat that much of it anyway and didn't think I'd miss it, and that I felt guilty when I did, so stopping seemed almost the easiest solution. That still all applies for me, but I've never been militant about it (if nobody ate meat, there'd be a lot fewer cute, fluffy sheep for me to watch on motorway journeys!)...
posted by [identity profile] at 03:09pm on 14/06/2008
If you're vegan there's basically no such thing as a "convenience" food. You have to make everything from scratch. What did I eat that was processed? Um. Fry's chocolate cream bars -- not nice, but happily free from dairy. Linda McCartney's pasties. Swedish Glace "ice cream". Oven chips. Bread. I'm clutching at straws here.

(if nobody ate meat, there'd be a lot fewer cute, fluffy sheep for me to watch on motorway journeys!)

There certainly would, what with the very low price of wool at the moment.
loz: (Life on Mars (Gene 3))
posted by [personal profile] loz at 03:00pm on 14/06/2008


I love you.
posted by [identity profile] at 03:05pm on 14/06/2008
Today I love me too. :D I like days like this.
posted by [identity profile] at 02:33pm on 14/06/2008
Also, everything you eat is technically "dead stuff" -- unless you're nibbling a fruit while it hangs on the tree, or crunching on a carrot that's still in the ground.
posted by [identity profile] at 02:41pm on 14/06/2008
Yes, but "dead stuff with veins" isn't as neat a name ;-)
posted by [identity profile] at 03:06pm on 14/06/2008
...but it's a more accurate one. :p
posted by [identity profile] at 04:03am on 15/06/2008
I love your postman, and am always happy to hear from him! :D
posted by [identity profile] at 12:40pm on 15/06/2008
He certainly brightens up the day. :D


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