Category Archives: vegtables

Organic Vegetables are best

Green Beans and Summer Dreams


Catherine Ferguson

Review for Netgalley

A light and feel good book where all ends well and happily but there are many trials and tribulations to go through first.

Here we have someone whose life and romances do not go well and being unemployed but owning a large garden thinks she can set up a business selling hervegetable-heart.jpg vegetables, just as she did when a child outside by the road. But she does not set up a road-side stall or even go to a market to sell her goods, rather decides that a box scheme whereby she delivers the vegetables to a customer would be the way to go.

Certainly boxes of vegetables are regularly being delivered all round the UK and I, myself, have a box of (certified) organic vegetables delivered to me on a regular basis.

In the UK you need to be certified as organic to sell your goods as being organic and this our heroine did not realise until told. So, although she grows her vegetables in an organic manner she is not certified and thus cannot sell her vegetables as organic. This is a serious flaw in her scheme until she finds an alternative supplier and so her delivery scheme grows despite a number of set-backs all of which are detailed in an amusing fashion here. She is a far from cynical or world-wise young women let alone having any business savvy, and thus many disasters befall her on her way to success.

What surprised me was that a: she did not set up stall also in a Farmer’s Market; b: she did not use her glut of crops to make her soups and jams and even chutneys, despite being told how delicious they were; and c: she did link up with her neighbour to sell her cakes and biscuits as additional items for her customers. I know that soups, jams and chutneys sell well in Farmer’s Markets from my own experience of buying them, and I don’t fret if they are not organic so long as they are local.

So chick lit at its best with a happy ending – which I had predicted from ye very first meeting of the two characters…



13 things I might do

 Vegetarian Magazine’s 13 Things only Vegetarians do post

 came out today. 

I am actually a pescatarian but I do get the Vegetarian newsletter regularly as I mostly eat vegetarian – fish in restaurants where the only offer is mushroom goulash – or tomato pasta for vegetarians – or even – as a certain Michelin starred place offered me once, roasted vegetables!

I did think that this particular list was great fun and so I’m reproducing it for you with a few comments of my own added.

  1. Google a restaurant’s menu the moment someone suggests dining there.
    Because c**** veggie options still aren’t that unusual. See above comments.
  2. Dry retch when you walk past a butcher’s shop and the smell hits you.
    Do meat eaters seriously think that smells good..?! oh and what about when you have meat eaters for a meal and they won’t eat veggie? Do you too wear gloves and use long forks to touch the meat? And try not to smell at all? And ask someone else to cook the meat?
  3. Get annoyed when other people tuck into the special diet stuff at a buffet.
    Eat one more veggie samosa and I’ll eat you! If meat eaters think vegetarian offerings are so much better than their own – why aren’t they vegetarian?
  4. Buy hemp oil.
    This fish-free source of omegas is a secret ingredient only seasoned veggies seem to know about. Good stuff this – tastes OK too.
  5. Die a little inside when a mate uses Parmesan in your food.
    “But it’s not veggie!” you sob quietly…true but have you ever been offered an alternative? I always thought Pecorino was a vegetarian alternative and now I find it isn’t! It uses lamb rennet… oh well, back to the search for vegetarian parmesan type cheese which is OK but not as good…
  6. Instantly fall in love with other veggies you meet at parties.
    And you have a new temporary bestie until the recipe sharing conversation dries up.   And it can dry up quite quickly or not as the case may be – what about ‘besties’ on the internet? And blog?
  7. Have 100% more patience for dumb questions.
    “What about wafer-thin ham? Can you eat that?” or as I was once told – Yes chicken is really so good for you! – or when a catering company at a conference dinner offered a plate of fruit – or when offered a combination of broccoli and potatoes for the 3rd time!
  8. Have a special place in your heart for Marks & Spencer.
    Two words: Veggie Percy. Never tried it!
  9. Enjoy a difficult relationship with pans that have been used to cook meat.
    Do you leave it for the meat eater to clean, or do you scrub it yourself so you know it’s clear of all animal? Leave it for the meat eater I say!
  10. Find the smell of boiling cabbage oddly intoxicating.
    Never something to actually vocalise though. No!!! I don’t like cabbage.. only when it is red and cooked with apples and red wine vinegar and some sugar and raisins and slow cooked for hours….
  11. Have a fake surprised-yet-interested face.
    For when meat eaters tell you how much vegetarian food they eat. Ie all the vegetarian offerings at the buffet!
  12. Know more than a dozen ways to use a butternut squash.
    This humble veg is basically our best friend. I am sure I could equal that if I tried… anyone want to try and list them?
  13. Not eat fish.
    Not even a little bit.  And this is where I fail dramatically – but I do have lots of health reasons…

Feminism? Vegetarianism? Linked or not?

vegetable-heart.jpgI have set myself a challenge to see if there is any link between being a vegetarian and being a feminist.
This fulfils a number of the Zerotohero challenges as it comes out of comments I’ve left on sites and new sites I’ve been looking at. one site which is great fun – but is very inspiring if you think you are a feminist is – by the Opinionated man. Well he certainly has opinions – just look at what he has to say about fashion… but then he does live in Colorado – says the Londoner and proud of it!
As part of my challenges I looked into a number of new topic areas but came back to a discussion about being a vegetarian by someone who was also a feminist and blogged about both, so I thought ‘I wonder if there is any link? Are more feminists vegetarian than other women? Is there any link between the two whether historically or in current politics? I am pretty sure – but will confirm this by doing some research on the topic, that there are more women who are vegetarian than men, but does this vary by country? I think I have to discard India in any of these statistics as there is a cultural influence there, so I need to consider just those countries where there is no cultural imperative – and yes, you might say that Buddhists would be vegetarians but in Thailand they certainly aren’t so…
So this blog will be researched and will have some history and some current politics and we shall see if there is any link we can make…

So starting with some definitions:
The Vegetarian Society (UK) defines a vegetarian as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

*Shellfish are typically ‘a sea animal covered with a shell’. We take shellfish to mean;

Crustaceans (hard external shell) large – e.g. lobsters, crayfish, crabs, small – e.g. prawns, shrimps

Molluscs (most are protected by a shell) e.g. mussels, oysters, winkles, limpets, clams, etc. Also includes cephalopods such as cuttlefish, squid, octopus.
There are different types of vegetarian:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs.

Vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals.
Eggs: Many lacto-ovo vegetarians will only eat free-range eggs. This is because of welfare objections to the intensive farming of hens. Through its Vegetarian Society Approved trade mark, the Vegetarian Society only endorses products containing free-range eggs.

Some people may be vegetarian for religious reasons. Jains, for example, are either lacto-vegetarian or vegan, while some Hindus and Buddhists may choose to practice a vegetarian diet.

Again using their website, the history of vegetarianism in the UK is as follows:
The Vegetarian Society has its roots in the reforming spirit of the early 19th century. The backdrop of health reform, the temperance movement, and the rise of philanthropy set the scene for the convergence of groups that eventually formed the vegetarian movement. The Industrial Revolution unleashed any number of social problems, and the ‘vegetable diet’ was seen by some as a solution (the word ‘vegetable’ at that time meant all types of plant foods, including fruits, grains, beans etc.). The idea that eating meat was a brutalising force was strong and, in an age where social reform was gathering pace, the question of whether abstention from meat might bring order attracted attention.

The first long-term modern organisation to abandon meat eating was the Bible Christian Church, led by Rev William CowherdBack in 1809 in Salford, near Manchester, where he advanced the principle of abstinence from the consumption of flesh to his congregation.

Now according to wikipedia:
Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, along with the concept of animal rights. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic.
The word vegetarian is derived from the Latin word vegetus, meaning lively or vigorous.

The earliest records of (lacto) vegetarianism come from ancient India and ancient Greece in the 5th century BCE. In the Asian instance the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence towards animals (called ahimsa in India) and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers.[19] Among the Hellenes, Egyptians and others, it had medical or Ritual purification purposes.
Indian emperor Ashoka asserted protection to fauna:
“Twenty-six years after my coronation various animals were declared to be protected – parrots, mainas, aruna, ruddy geese, wild ducks, nandimukhas, gelatas, bats, queen ants, terrapins, boneless fish, vedareyaka, gangapuputaka, sankiya fish, tortoises, porcupines, squirrels, deer, bulls, okapinda, wild asses, wild pigeons, domestic pigeons and all four-footed creatures that are neither useful nor edible. Those nanny goats, ewes and sows which are with young or giving milk to their young are protected, and so are young ones less than six months old. Cocks are not to be caponized, husks hiding living beings are not to be burnt and forests are not to be burnt either without reason or to kill creatures. One animal is not to be fed to another.” —Edicts of Ashoka, Fifth Pillar (304–232 BCE)

SO that’s the History.
Now let’s look at Feminism.

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.

As an academic of course I look for any articles on the topic and yes, there is one!
A Defense of the Feminist-Vegetarian Connection by SHERI LUCAS. []
Sheri says that although feminism has a goal of ending oppression most feminists do not recognise animals or non-humans within that goal. She says that Carol J. Adams published the first article on the feminist-vegetarian connection in 1975. Though there were few publications on this topic in the following decade, it became an issue of concern for many feminists. An Ecofeminist Task Force eventually formed and in 1990, urged the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) to recognize this connection by adopting a strict vegetarian menu for its future conferences.
It seems, she would argue, that the majority of feminists remain silent about possible reinforcements between the oppression of women and that of nonhuman animals. According to this silence, they would disagree that nonhuman animals are oppressed, and are not convinced that the oppression of nonhuman animals is inconsistent with feminism and antithetical to its goals.

One of the issues that was raised by the feminists who do not advocate vegetarianism is the fact that, except for (men) in privileged countries/areas, a vegetarian diet may not provide the necessary dietary requirements for good health. this argument clearly rings true in areas where there is no crop growing but only animal raising as in parts of Africa and where as a result animal products provide the bulk of the nutrition. the argument then is whether it also rings true in other parts of the world.
Many feminists it is argued in this paper say we must not go against local custom and culture and must make their own moral judgements as to the ethical diet for them – they must not be judged by first-world values. Or cultural Imperialism.
The paper then goes on to argue against these points in a complex and philosophical manner.

Finally judging that we are not morally permitted to add to the pain, suffering, and death of nonhuman animals when there is no need to do so.

So there we are. According to some Feminists, it is imperative to be a Vegetarian; and according to others it doesn’t matter.

Personally I claim both – but confess to eating fish for health reasons but really really prefer not to see the ‘face’.. and whilst I will cook meat for the family, I put gloves as I can’t bear to touch it.

So other Feminists – what do you think? Which argument do you support and why?