Let them eat meat

WLPH MMPHM blsh ... sorry. Just empty my mouth. There; thatsh bsshttr, wlph shmmpht ... damn. Bloody stuff just won't go down. And the texture. I really don't know how people swallow it. They probably just want to please; think it would be rude to spit it out.

Which is what I want to address you about today. You'll have seen it, of course. You'd have to have led a very sheltered life not to have seen it. You probably avert your eyes, though, decent Independent on Sunday readers that you are, with taste and sensibilities. You probably walk past and think, "Ugh. How can they?" and move on.

But there it is, in every supermarket: Quorn. Boxes of Quorn pasties and Quorn bolognaise, Quorn curry and Quorn casserole and, worst of all, boxes of the raw stuff, pallid and spongy, fungoidal and in- explicably flocculent. One does so recall [leans back in armchair, fingers goatee absently] the old NAAFI shepherd's pie, of which the brave British swaddie used to say: "I don't mind eating the stuff, but I wouldn't want to tread in it." And, do you know, in a very real sense [goatee snarls, bites hand hard] ouch.

You'd have though that market forces alone would abolish Quorn from every shelf and piecrust in the land, but I suspect dark powers at work. Over the last few months I have watched in increasing bemusement as a harmless young woman, sitting her GCSEs, has demanded more and more Quorn. Some adolescent food fad? No; this girl is a harsh rationalist and abjures such flim-flam. A reasoned choice to be humane by eating terrible mycoprotein salmagundi instead of tearing strips of flesh from dead animals like civilised people do?

No. It's for school, you see. They're doing Quorn. Week after week, instead of learning to make a decent roux brun or whip up Atholl brose; instead of coming away with the roasting times for meat and game engraved in their brains, being able to tell the difference between pintade and Bernard Matthews Tastee-Lick-Lick GibblyBurgers; instead of being able to rescue a curdled Bearnaise or gut a sturgeon, they do Quorn.

They "design Quorn-based high-protein-value food products". They "market- test" these products on "consumer groups" and make little pie charts (haha) and adjust their "product specifications" for "maximised consumer acceptance" and at the end of it they have learned neither to cook nor to understand good food.

It would be nice to think that there was some conspiracy theory behind it all; that evil Quorn merchants had entered into devilish pacts with cynical, greedy school governors. We could look for evidence; whiny-voiced educators disporting with long-legged prostitutes on the Croisette and LEA finance directors scarfing up their posh venison tucker in Le Caprice. "Feed the children Quorn and ye shall eat meat." And then the subtle genetic modification of the mycoprotein itself, so that it breeds some potent serotonin analogue, inducing artificial happiness and an unbreakable craving in our innocent daughters, hooking them (and their subsequent families) on the satanic brew for ever, so that in one generation we shall have become a nation of Quornies, stupefied, manipulable and docile, ready to sing in tune with Blair's Heirs (who of course will be free of the taint, as will all of the new aristocracy, educated at private schools where the children are fed a traditional diet of pig-snout and kneecap).

But of course it's completely untrue. Teaching our children that Quorn is a representative of that class of things which can legitimately be called "food" is an act of Modern British barbarism arising not from conspiracy but from lack of taste.

That's what we need to fight against, so I am thinking of starting a detox centre for Quorn victims. I envisage a secluded Napoleonic Fort somewhere; beeswax candles and biddable staff, Frescobaldi, orchids, Eau d'Hadrien, Pliny's Naturalis Historia and whatever you're having yourself. A week-long course and a ceremonial dinner at the end, featuring the Shield of Minerva, an imperial Roman dish consisting (if I remember correctly) of a stag-beetle stuffed in a hamster inside a stoat and so on through a pterodactyl, a moose and ending up with a velociraptor, and what you do is, you roast it all and then you just suck the beetle. Three thousand quid for the week, but cheaper than a private education and they'll never touch Quorn again.

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there