June 1, 2004

Eat your neighbour.

The village we live in at weekends has a curious layout. Sited on a sharply rising hill, the streets are arranged in a broadly circular fashion, with spokes running off at various angles. Posher houses towards the top, more affordable houses towards the bottom. And right in the middle of the village, dividing our lane on one side from the main village thoroughfare on the other, are a small cluster of tree-lined fields and paddocks.
One of these paddocks lies directly opposite the front of our cottage; it can be viewed, through a gateway, from our sitting room. During the winter months, it lies empty; during the summer months, it is home to a small number of pedigree Gloucester bulls.
Gloucesters are an ancient, rare breed; there only around 700 left in existence. They are also exceptionally handsome, with a gloriously dark, sleek, chocolately colouring. The farming family who rent the field take great pride in them – even going so far as to lend us a whole book about the breed, after K expressed a passing interest.
A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the bulls had been returned to the paddock, K ran into the farmer in the village pub. During their conversation, he mentioned how pleased he was to see them back again.
“So would you like a bit, then?”
“I’m sorry?”
“Shall I put your name down for a piece, for later in the year?”

We shall spend all Summer admiring these creatures. And then, come the Autumn, we shall eat them. This is a novel proposition, to say the least.
Whenever we explain this to one of our city friends, the information is almost always greeted with a shudder, and a somewhat stricken look. How could you?
Whenever we explain this to one of our friends in the village, the reaction is invariably an envious one. Oh, lucky you. They’ll be absolutely delicious.
As for us, we have absolutely no qualms. If you can’t deal with the fact that the meat you eat comes from a living, breathing creature, then maybe you need to re-consider your position as a carnivore (and I speak as someone who was a vegetarian for about eight years). And bearing this in mind, what would you rather eat: a choice piece of free-range steak, or a processed sausage from a supermarket? (Now, there’s something to make you shudder and flinch.)
Besides, as the farmer herself pointed out, the only way to save rare breeds is to eat them.
We’re doing our bit.
No need to thank us. Virtue is its own reward.
With a peppered sauce, and a nice salad garnish.


12 thoughts on “Eat your neighbour.

  1. Wonderful! My other half reckons – probably correctly – that would again become a meat eater if I was guaranteed it was all free range organic. As, no doubt, your Gloucesters are!

  2. They are, indeed, as free range organic as they come. As is all the delicious meat which we buy most weekends from the fantastic butcher in the neighbouring village. In terms of quality, there’s just a world of difference.
    By the way, the links from Gert’s Uborkicon are Donalded. A sad case of Triple Forward Slash, I’m afraid. I’ve dropped a line to management about it…

  3. And strangely, I have a quality cattle story planned, ‘n all. Maybe we should just turn it into Quality Cattle week.

  4. Good for you for eating real food.
    It’s a sad fact these days that most people not only do not realise that meat comes from cows, pigs, deer, bunnies, etc., but that vegetables and fruits come from plants. Most people (not just inner-city kids) think it all comes from shrinkwrap.

  5. The Arabian Oryx, I’m told, has delicious tender meat, and soon there won’t be any left at all.
    Reminded me of this little Uborklassic. I especially appreciate the sentiment that eating rare breeds is the best way to save them, and look forward to a Yangtye River Dolphin Salad, or a Flame-grilled Vancouver Island Marmot.

  6. Well, that was the whole problem with dodos, you see. Tough as f**k… and they stank of urine, to boot. Ghastly little creatures. We’re much better off without them.

  7. Sounds delish. Any chance of a plug for the aforementioned butcher ?

    David on June 2, 2004
  8. What is that picture at the top of the page? It looks like maggots.

  9. and for freeeeeee range meat that’ll reach you fresher than UK meat and straight from the butcher, you can buy proper aussie meat from http://big-island.co.uk/
    All the vitamins of Game (venison etc) because most aussie cows spend a lot of their life essentially running wild. And if there’s anything remotely ambiguous about how you want your meat, you get a phonecall from an aussie guy with a knife in his other hand about half an hour after you place your weborder.

  10. I think they’re writhing gherkins. It was explained at the time, but I seem to remember something about somebody accidentally deleting all the archives… (grin)

  11. It is a bowl of gherkins, yes. We used to have a big cucumber at the top of the page, but the bowl of gherkins is to represent that there are lots of people writing Uborka now.
    So, I guess, you are those gherkins.
    And that has nothing to do with deleting all the archives.

    Pete on June 5, 2004

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