Lisa Markwell: Spare me the meat-free Mondays

Thanks to Sir Paul, I'll struggle with my daughter's packed lunch

Related Topics

Did you do it? Have a meat-free Monday, that is. Did the sight and sound of Paul McCartney extolling vegetarianism once a week – for the sake of the planet – make you put down your pasty?

It's difficult to argue with the man's logic, although the image of belching and farting cows does bring out the schoolchild in me. These bovine digestion byproducts are causing greenhouse gas emissions, and the more burgers and steaks we consume, the worse it gets. That's enough to stop the childish tittering.

Meat-Free Monday is endorsed by a plethora of celebrities, from Giorgio Locatelli and sainted Joanna Lumley – to those with less than, well, beacon status (hello Kelly Osbourne). For smart restaurants and respected chefs to suggest veggie dishes for occasional use by us committed carnivores is a good thing – God knows, my mind goes blank when non meat-eaters come round for dinner. If I can't make asparagus tagliatelle I'm all out of ideas.

But still... I wonder, why can't we just cut out the beef? Now that tuna's officially A Bad Thing, I'll struggle to put something in my daughter's packed lunch that isn't her favourite, roast chicken, or second favourite, "round ham". She doesn't like cheese, or hummus. We've been known to home-make sausage rolls – the only way to guarantee a quality snack without acres of lard and mechanically recovered yuk – because having them in the lunchbox is an incentive for a good morning in the classroom. Children are creatures of habit, more so, even, than the office drones who have a prawn sandwich and a diet Coke every weekday for years, nay decades.

Meanwhile, like many folk who've had a touch of cancer, I've embraced the medical reasons for cutting back on red meat and exchanged beef for turkey when it comes to meatballs – the Ottolenghi recipe comes with my ringing endorsement, and I say that as a foodie who usually loathes low-fat, sugar-free, goody-goody versions of anything. But according to Sir Paul, that won't do – I must be completely meat-free on a Monday. I know, I know, it's only one day a week but do turkeys and chicken really expel enough methane to worry the climate-change crew?

Having said that, I did do meat-free Monday yesterday – not because I'm a sucker for a bandwagon, more out of curiosity – and it was without any great hardship, but at a price. Finding something substantial, which means protein, for lunch that's not either endangered (does satisfying Sir Paul mean pissing off Greta Scacchi?) or rumoured to be riddled with toxins is not easy. It requires a visit to an upmarket, organic grocery for sustainably-fished sardines – not an option that's available to everyone. And please don't even think about suggesting tofu.

By all means, let's stop buying McDonalds burgers and do as much as we can to stop the deforestation of south America to provide grazing for these poor benighted beasts. I don't mind having a beef-free bonanza. Hey, let's do seven out of seven days. But don't make sane omnivores who like a nice organic chicken risotto or locally-sourced slow-cooked shoulder of lamb do without if it's what we really crave. We promise not to cook the roast potatoes in beef dripping, honest.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine