Posts Tagged ‘2010’
Mary McCartney has raised her own three children without fish or meat – but it’s a lot easier for her now than it was for her parents in the 1970s
Our house always revolved around the kitchen, because Mum cooked a lot and it was quite a social area. She never wanted to be stuck on her own if we were all in another room. So we’d go in there and have a snack, watch her cooking and generally hang out.
One day Mum and Dad said, “Look, we’ve decided to be vegetarian. We’re not going to have meat at home, but it’s your decision [whether you want to be vegetarian, too].” Mum was a good cook and I didn’t really notice the difference.
They’d been driving behind a lorry that had lots and lots of chickens crammed into it and obviously between the two of them they thought, “That’s not right.” I even think Mum took a picture of it – I have a vision of it because I’ve looked through her archive. They said, “Because of that we don’t want to eat chicken any more.” But they wouldn’t scaremonger and they’d discussed it between themselves. Dad was a traditional eater and didn’t want vegetarianism to mean missing out. So Mum made a real effort to fill that hole on the plate and make interesting food.
She traditionalised it, made it more like family food. It was the same cooking but without the meat. We’d have Sunday roast with all of the trimmings, but instead of the meat we’d have baked macaroni and cheese you could slice and put gravy on. It was the early days of vegetarianism so you couldn’t get a lot of the things you can now. That’s why she did the cookbooks because her and Dad’s aim was for people to come round for dinner expecting a really hippie veggie meal but leave being surprised at just how good veggie food could be. She drew people in that way, presented it as an attractive option.
I was six or seven at this point, still at primary school. Sometimes it felt a bit awkward – it was a bit embarrassing at school dinners. And social things, like going to McDonald’s for birthday parties. That’s when you’d feel a bit awkward because you’d just want to blend in with the other kids. It wasn’t like we weren’t allowed to go to McDonald’s – we’d go and just have fries and other things instead. We still laugh at my older sister Heather because she’d go into McDonald’s and ask for a burger without the meat, because we loved the pickles and condiments. She’d say, “Can I have the cheeseburger without meat?” and they thought she was a total nutcase.
There wasn’t any “I wish we could eat meat” with my brother and sisters. And I’m not a vegetarian who hates meat. I can sit with people eating a burger and think, “That actually looks tasty.” I’m not disgusted by it, I can understand why people would actually like it. I tried fish when I left home, and I liked the taste of it, and I’d sometimes have it for lunch but not that often. At that time it was more, “What decision am I going to make about this now that I’m feeding myself?”
Stella went through a similar thing, I think. But I’d connected to a different way of eating at such a young age. I’ve tried chicken and I know I like it and I understand why people eat it but I can’t justify it. I don’t want to eat it just because I like the taste. I don’t think I need it and I know how to eat healthily without it and I don’t want something to die for my plate.
The reason I’m vegetarian is because of the mass industry of it. I could see that if we lived in a little community and there was a local farmer and he had a pig… I don’t think that’s wrong, personally, although not everyone would agree with me. But I think that the industry is so out of control and I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want to add to it. So my way of doing that is not to eat meat or fish at all.
I am totally aware that it’s all about individual choice. The work we’re doing with Meat Free Monday is all about helping people who want to eat less meat and fish rather than just none at all. Meat reduction means helping people make healthy vegetarian choices by sharing some great recipes that we’ve created and found along the way. Eating less mass-produced meat and fish will help the environment enormously so I’m all for it.
My own children are 11, 7 and 2 – all boys and I took a similar approach [to my parents] and said, “We’re vegetarian, this is what we cook, but if you don’t agree with that you don’t have to eat it, but I’m not going to cook meat at home and I’d rather you didn’t have it. But if you want to eat meat, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to.”
I’ve never shown them pictures of animals in slaughterhouses, I don’t try to scare them – I don’t even give them the environmental facts at this point. I don’t think it’s fair. I imagine as they get older they’ll be more curious about it, that’s only natural. But if they’re forced to do it, they won’t be doing it for the right reasons.
They’ve never seemed to have a problem with it, but I try to check in with them and ask, “Look, do you find it a bit awkward or embarrassing? Do you have a hard time with other kids or at your friends’ parties? Are you OK with it, or do you want to be eating sausages?”
There are more options now, so I don’t think they have the same issues that I had. And often at a birthday party there’s a veggie choice. The other parents know by now and will often get veggie options. So they do eat well. They have friends who are vegetarian and I’m not the only veggie parent around. Most schools do a good vegetarian option, it’s just more of a given now. When I was at primary school I remember never looking forward to lunch, and at secondary school I felt like I lived on chips and beans.
I started out making the boys very simple food – mash and baked beans and veggie sausages, or omelettes. Now my eldest two boys are getting into cooking more too, they like to get involved in the kitchen, so they help me prepare things. One night I was a bit grumpy and tired after work, and my eldest said, “I’ll help cook.” We made a rice-noodle meal with lots of chopped vegetables and a nice flavoursome sauce. He chopped everything up – he cut the vegetables to the size he likes – and we really enjoyed cooking together.
I feel that if I give them a varied range of foods they will get a healthy well balanced diet, knowing that beans are good for protein, making sure they eat fruit and veg and blah blah blah. When I had my first child, some people were a bit, “How can you make a child vegetarian?” And I said, “Well you’re presuming that I think a meat diet is healthier than a vegetarian diet, which I personally don’t.” But the one thing I have done in the last few years is worked harder to get them omega oils, because they don’t eat fish. So I do things like make a smoothie and blend in omega oil. Otherwise I just cook normally and feel they’re getting everything they need.
Cooking Mum’s recipes is a great way of getting the kids to eat good stuff. Sometimes they’ll be like, “Aw, do I have to try that?” And I’ll be like, “Look, it’s grandma Linda’s recipe so just try it, but if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it all.” So at least then they’ll want to try it.
I cook in a similar style to her. All of us do – we all learnt to cook from watching her. When I got into my late teens, early 20s, I’d start asking her certain things like, “How do I make your quiche?” or get her tips on things, and now I’m really glad I did that.
Being vegetarian has made me think more about where my food comes from. It’s made us closer in that it gives us a connection as a family. Maybe it helped our communication, because we discussed it honestly and openly. There wasn’t anyone who seemed to feel, “I was made to do this”, so you’d get this sense of being a team. My husband, Simon, wasn’t vegetarian when we got together, and I didn’t say, “Look, you need to be vegetarian”. But he says that he knew it was important to me, and he likes my cooking anyway.
Yessssssssssssssssssss!!!!!, i am SO all over this like someone with flared nostrils into ‘Flatuerotisism’. More than any release in the past coup,e of years this is the one i’m most looking forward to. I think it’s pretty obvious from the content of this webpage my passion for all things John and Yoko in 1980, to get a reimagined (for want of a better phrase) version of my favorite John Lennon album is a dream come true, then we also have the PBS documentary in November of this year which focuses on John’s time in New York 71 – 80. I’m looking forward to all the happy things the second half of this year is going to bring us.
Thanks Kristin for these, a reader who was lucky enough to see Paul and get great photo’s, out of all Paul’s recent tours this is the one i most wish i could have seen, all those Wings songs, alas Paul does not come to Australia so i have to live vicariously through friends, the other good thing about this tour is Paul is allowing, and even encouraging fans to take great photo’s, unlike 2005 when i last saw him and H@#$%^#r was in the pit pointing out to security fans who were taking photo’s and getting them busted, fortunately she no longer blights ours and Paul’s life.