My second guest posting on Uborka will most likely have you either slavering at the chops, or shrinking back from the screen in pale-faced distaste. Chacun à son gout, as they say in France.
The village we live in at weekends has a curious layout. Sited on a sharply rising hill, the streets are arranged in a broadly circular fashion, with spokes running off at various angles. Posher houses towards the top, more affordable houses towards the bottom. And right in the middle of the village, dividing our lane on one side from the main village thoroughfare on the other, are a small cluster of tree-lined fields and paddocks.
One of these paddocks lies directly opposite the front of our cottage; it can be viewed, through a gateway, from our sitting room. During the winter months, it lies empty; during the summer months, it is home to a small number of pedigree Gloucester bulls.
Gloucesters are an ancient, rare breed; there only around 700 left in existence. They are also exceptionally handsome, with a gloriously dark, sleek, chocolately colouring. The farming family who rent the field take great pride in them – even going so far as to lend us a whole book about the breed, after K expressed a passing interest.
A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the bulls had been returned to the paddock, K ran into the farmer in the village pub. During their conversation, he mentioned how pleased he was to see them back again.
“So would you like a bit, then?”
“Shall I put your name down for a piece, for later in the year?”
We shall spend all Summer admiring these creatures. And then, come the Autumn, we shall eat them. This is a novel proposition, to say the least.
Whenever we explain this to one of our city friends, the information is almost always greeted with a shudder, and a somewhat stricken look. How could you?
Whenever we explain this to one of our friends in the village, the reaction is invariably an envious one. Oh, lucky you. They’ll be absolutely delicious.
As for us, we have absolutely no qualms. If you can’t deal with the fact that the meat you eat comes from a living, breathing creature, then maybe you need to re-consider your position as a carnivore (and I speak as someone who was a vegetarian for about eight years). And bearing this in mind, what would you rather eat: a choice piece of free-range steak, or a processed sausage from a supermarket? (Now, there’s something to make you shudder and flinch.)
Besides, as the farmer herself pointed out, the only way to save rare breeds is to eat them.
We’re doing our bit.
No need to thank us. Virtue is its own reward.
With a peppered sauce, and a nice salad garnish.