What, no more Wienerschnitzel?

Well, of course you can wipe out veal. Unless you are interested in food, I do not see how this matters much. There are peoples who live on seal blubber and others largely on rice. There are even some zealots who live on apples alone. And Saint Si mon ofthe Stylites, not to be confused with Simon Zelotes, patron of fishmongers, lived 40 years on pillars, the last of which was 66ft high. Chacun son supplice, or to each man his torment, as the Marquis de Sade might have said. God knows what Simon S tylites ate, but it did not matter to him.

As far as I am concerned, however, food is one of the consolations of life: like art, families, children and friends. A life without veal has one simple consequence: it eliminates a big section of the gastronomic repertory. n For instance, it wipes out about 75 per cent of Italian meat dishes and one of the few glories of Austrian cuisine, the Wienerschnitzel. More importantly, it erases some of the most subtle of dishes, all those in which the meat component is subordinate to the delicacy of the sauce in which it is cooked.

I will pay my obeisance to humane slaughtering up front.Since calves and humans share the same fate, that of being born to die, I am happier if we all have a good life first. But the heart of the matter about food is that you have choice. n Only the poordo not have choice, and they do not read newspapers either, so they eat what they can, whether it is politically correct or not. So, given the chance, does everyone down the feed-line: from shark to shrimp. Nor is the vegetable kingdom free of mayhem for fodder. Should the Venus fly-trap stop molesting flies?

No one forces anyone to eat veal, meat or anything else. Vegetarians are welcome in God's many mansions, for in Eden there were only fruit and veg. But I take unkindly to the zealots who tell me what I should do. n I am always amazed, with the number of things that preoccupy me, from earning a living to ordinary survival, from concern over the many injustices in the world to earning salvation, that there are still people who have so much leisure and outrage.

As Emily Green has pointed out on these pages, a little hypocrisy goes a long way, and we all know what idle hands make. In Britain as in America, veal is as unknown as kangaroo, or anything green to an Argentine. Good veal is rare. n Good veal, like good anything, is best reared and slaughtered in natural conditions. Like any part of the food-chain, it is best when it ingests its natural feed: in the case of veal, its mother's milk first and, if it is slaughtered after weaning, good, fresh, sweet grass. All forms of industrial farming are bad for flavour, texture and nutrition.

That said, if we are going to eat things that we kill, whether it is pulling up a lettuce or throttling a hen, then veal is not merely a delicacy, fit only for the elite; it is also a reasonable, healthy, nutritious and delectable food, and if we as a nation do not "like" it, more's the pity.

We can grow fine veal, but we do not. We could eat it, but we have never had it. Most of the veal some of us may have tried in restaurants is Dutch. Like everything else in the Netherlands except fresh fish, it is without flavour.

I say it is a reasonable price, but I am told it is expensive. Both opinions are true. The fact is that where a reasonable steak, to be properly cooked, should be at least a half-inch thick and therefore weigh at least 6oz, veal should be eaten very thin: 100g of veal will do where 200g of beef will not. Why is this? Well, because veal should be barely cooked, otherwise it hardens. So, to cook it quickly, it is sliced prodigiously thin and then flattened. n Why are veal and veal stock such favourites among chefs? Answer: because the flavour is more unobtrusive than that of any other meat, and thus it can be used in an almost infinite number of ways. Why is it healthy? Because it contains a minimum of fat.

Faced with modern cooking requirements (economy, minimum preparation, health consciousness, no fuss, speedy preparation), I would choose veal, pork and fish nine times out of 10, and in that order: fish coming last simply because it is now more expensivethan meat and less reliable.

But I would choose veal especially because, were it readily available and were we allowed to navigate safely through this fug of "concern" and compassion (kindly show me a compassionate animal), it is so splendidly simple to prepare. n A Wienerschnitzel (or a Milanese cutlet or a Fiorentina, or a piccata al limone) all take less than 10 minutes from conception to table.

There is no waste. There is no mystique about what to serve with it or drink with it. Veal goes with anything. If surveys show that as a nation we think it has no flavour, that is a reflection on our cooking, or on the veal we can obtain, not on the meat.

If, as she reaches her 99th birthday, you were to tell my mother there was no more veal, she who has eaten little else in the way of meat all her life would ask: "Why ever not?"

If I told her it was because of the cruelty of a calf's life, she would understand. She has lived through nigh on a century of cruelty and she would not wish it on any living creature, even a fly (mosquitoes are excepted). But she would say: "We're all going to die anyway."

And then she would shake her head and ask why so many of the pleasures of life have been diminished since she was born.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week