Tamworth black pig

How I Decided Whether to Eat Meat – Part 2: It’s an Eating Dog World

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Have you ever been asked what your ‘death row’ meal would be? If you were to be strapped into old sparky tomorrow, what would be your choice of dinner tonight? At this point I’d like to introduce the hero, or perhaps villain, of the story, and my death row meal — Steak tartare.

Raw meat and fish are manna from heaven, some of my favourite foods are eaten raw, such as oysters, sashimi and steak tartare. Consuming flesh raw puts heightened demands on the quality and freshness of the meat and increases the personal connection with the source of the food, it feels a more visceral, primal form of consumption when no heat has been involved.

Steak tartare is an opulent dish, eaten perhaps once a year, on the rare occasion that I find myself in a restaurant that serves it. It stands as my favourite dish in the world, because…

Tamworth black pig

How I Decided Whether to Eat Meat – Part 1: Spiking Vegetarians

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Meat has received a lot of criticism recently, yet, in itself, it’s done nothing wrong. What has served up a big heap of wrong is society’s relationship with meat and the food industry’s pursuit of it, on a global level.

This is the first of a six-part story of meat and how I decided whether to continue eating it.

Spiking Vegetarians

My childhood diet was firmly in the meat ’n’ two veg category. Cooking was the sole responsibility of my mother, who, despite adventurous tendencies, relied on the formulaic meat plus carbs and veg principle. Grilled chicken breasts, sausages, a piece of fish or pork chops, surrounded by vegetables and spuds, or a good smattering of spag bol made with beef mince and slippery pasta.
Birthdays gave the birthdee free-reign over dinner, choosing whatever delicious morsels their stomach craved and my favourite treat was a meat fondue. A…

A healthy chickpea salad dressed with sweet white balsamic and smoked paprika, diced avocado and aromatic coriander is a beautiful lunchtime treat that's bursting with mexican and middle eastern flavours. It's vegetarian and vegan to boot, a meatfree treat to have for lunch or dinner and tastes even better if you make it in advance!

Smoked Paprika Avocado Salad

Gavin Wren Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Most of the writing on my blog is not about food, but life in general and how I cope with it or not, in some cases. On occasion I veer onto a food-related social or political bent, but it’s rare for me to write lovingly about the flavours and story behind a recipe. Today, I’ve been staring at my screen for 53 minutes and have only written the preceding sentence. The first 51 minutes and 13 seconds were spent typing then deleting, typing then deleting as I attempted to coax a story about smoked paprika onto the page.

Constructive Procrastination.

I also checked out the bulk price of Kalamata olives (c.£20 for 2kg on eBay, £16 on Amazon fresh) and appraised which size Really Useful Boxes I need for my cupboards (none, they’re not quite the right size), to round up the disparate bags of half… come and read more…

Here's a spicy, zingy Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for a few weeks, because it ticks all my boxes for a great lunch. It's simple to make (once you've got the sprouts), it's ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it's got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. All this alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn't be more versatile and all satisfying.

Indian Sprouted Bean Salad with Avocado

Gavin Wren Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Here’s a spicy, Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for the last few weeks, because it ticks all my ‘great lunch’ boxes. It’s simple to make (once you’ve got the sprouts), ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it’s got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. Alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn’t be more versatile and all satisfying.

Social Sprouts

Sprouts say one thing to me. Brussels. I’m not talking about the cosmopolitan city, lying a mere 121 minutes away from London St Pancras, rather the bitter green orbs of distaste which I was deigned not to like well before one had ever crossed the threshold of my trap. Society seemed constructed for little children who Don’t Like Sprouts. Perhaps it’s their bitter flavour, or perhaps there’s an entire social… come and read more…

As I ponder the question of whether I should, or whether I can continue Eating meat, I see it's not a question of absolutes, but one of relatives and the fifty shades of grey that they encompass.

Eating Meat – Fifty Shades of Grey

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Can I Eat Meat?

At the beginning of 2017, I wrote a blog post, asking the question “Should I eat meat?”. The motivation for this question came from a desire to seek moral congruity, meaning that I felt my actions as a human were not aligned with my sense of morality. I don’t like the idea of inflicting pain upon a living creature, I’d hate to see my dog in pain, yet I’m happy for other living creatures to be killed, simply to provide my food. It’s clear to see the contradiction here.

More recently, I’ve come across the psychological term ‘cognitive dissonance’, which refers to the ability of people to hold two or more conflicting opinions. In my case, I hold the opinion that inflicting pain on animals is wrong… come and read more…

The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together in the amazing plant based, vegetarian and vegan recipe, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. It creates the perfect foundation for a meat free meal or a simple vegetable side dish.

Cinnamon Roasted Squash with Lentils

Gavin Wren Recipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. The discovery of this pairing hallowed a eureka moment for me, they sit so perfectly that this recipe needs no more than a hungry mouth and a willing fork to accompany it.

Discrete Divinity.

There are pairings in the world which fit together so perfectly, it were as if God or some other mystical being set them as a challenge for us in life, to see if we could discover these secret little puzzles. Like the easter eggs hidden by the developers in computer games, the little puzzles, rewards, cheats or shortcuts, buried within the fabric of the game… come and read more…