Saturday, 26 January 2013

Veally interesting

When I was 17 I turned vegetarian for a few years, along with half of my year group at school. I'm not entirely sure what caused this mass outbreak of meat  avoidance - for me it was an entirely personal decision based on concerns about animal welfare. While I was at university I spent a summer working in the favelas of Brazil, and had to return to a carnivorous diet in order not to starve! Since then I have eaten meat, but with a weather eye on the ethical credentials of each product. But I would never have imagined that I would eat veal, having been told about calves being kept their whole lives inside in cramped conditions.

Earlier this month I was pawing through the yellow-stickered items in the supermarket when I found some veal, which I haven't seen on the shelves for years. What's more, it had the  RSPCA's Freedom Food logo on it! I remembered that Jimmy Doherty had been extolling the virtues of British rose veal during "Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket" on Channel 4 last year. This uses meat from bull calves born to dairy cows which would otherwise be slaughtered. The welfare standards are much higher than other types of veal, and Jimmy was attempting to persuade the supermarket to stock it. Well, he obviously succeeded!

As this was cheaper than normal beef mince I took it home to have a go. I was intrigued by the Archers connection; who knew that Ruth and David produced veal?! 

I will probably shock any gastronomically sensitive readers by stating that I made burgers with it! I figured that this would be the best way to taste the actual meat. It has a more subtle flavour than beef from older cattle, and makes rather bland burgers, but I am sure it is delicious with the right ingredients, (and a different cook!).

PS Apologies for the dreadful pun in the title!

Edited to add:

I appear to have offended some of my readers by advocating eating "little baby calves". I have to say that this is not the case - these are calves which would otherwise have been slaughtered at birth, but are raised in high welfare conditions for 35 weeks. The RSPCA have stringent standards. I would never advocate eating any other veal.

1 comment:

  1. I found the pun rather

    I've always avoided veal because of the animal treatment. It is funny to me how I can eat meat but still feel that way, but I it just isn't something I serve.

    I don't know if they have anything like this in the US or not, but I'll research it.

    I wonder how it would have been made into a meat loaf where you add seasonings.


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