I've never felt so embarrassed in my life. I'd gone to a trendy culinary establishment in Jo'burg and ordered something truly ghastly from the menu: a beef burger. The reactions I saw as the waiter meandered to my table carrying my juicy burger ranged from mildly disappointed shakes of the head to full blown recoils of disgust.
You could almost hear them: Oh look at that unintelligent sod eating meat!
Now I know there has been a fiasco surrounding what goes into meat these days, but hang on a second; nobody seemed to notice that the lamb chops tasted a bit horsey, or that the pork hee-hawed when it was unfrozen. The game was undone by some forensic testing. We would have gone on eating our donkey-bangers quite happily without those tests. So let's not hear anything more on that front.
People these days, and I suspect most of them are hipsters, have a problem with meat eaters only to be perceived as having a problem with meat eaters. They need to be seen as more intelligent than us knuckle-dragging oafs.
"Do you know the horrible conditions that that poor cow was slaughtered in?" is just an introduction so that the "raw vegan" can explain just how much they care about the planet, and how you are pushing civilization to the brink of extinction by ordering some meatballs.
Here's the thing though: Meat is food. More than that, it tastes great in my opinion, and makes me happy. I dream of big juicy steaks on the braai, an oxtail Sunday lunch, or the good old leg of lamb. But if plants and substitutes makes you feel good about yourself, great, just feel good about yourself quietly and leave me to my burger.
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