Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kate Bush and the continuity of British vegetarian fare


Singer Kate Bush has been well-known as a vegetarian and animal activist since the early 1980s when British cooking show host Delia Smith interviewed her for the BBC.  In the clip, Kate shares some of her favourite vegetarian dishes.

kate-bushI enjoyed these very same dishes some four decades later, in some form or another, while spending time at Cambridge University Library (CUL) in England in 2010 and 2012. At the cafeteria there, they will have a vegetarian option available every single day that sits somewhere between traditional British fare and worldly fusions, as Kate shows here.  Quorn, pastas, souffles, steamed vegetables, rice, and garlic bread remain popular offerings at the CUL cafeteria. While not nearly as flavourful as Kristofir’s creations, I was pleased to have, for example, a lentil patty lathered in tomato sauce with some fresh vegetables, a fruit juice, and one of those delicious (and no doubt calorie-filled) desserts that the cafeteria has available.
The writer John Russell who wrote about Kate Bush has a webpage in which he highlights things she said about vegetarianism. Among the most striking is the disconnect that we have been what we buy in the supermarket and its origins. Kate told John,
People probably eat so much pre-packaged food because it’s always so easy to get in shops, and they don’t connect it with live animals. If they actually had to kill the animal themselves, they would probably have great difficulty in doing it. People who live and work with animals can be aware of what they are doing when they kill an animal. They realise that they’re going to be eating it, rather than it being sent off to be sold in supermarkets. On some levels this seems to be all right, because it’s on a one-to-one basis: you feed and look after the animal for a certain length of time and then it repays you by becoming your food. But it’s the mass-production of living creatures just to be eaten, and the fact that people aren’t really aware of what they’re eating, that I don’t like.
Still holds true today, decades later. What would happen if everyone had to kill the animal, gut it, and cut it before preparing it as food? Would most people in the West have the stomach or conscience to do so?

Written by Christopher Laursen 

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