Memo to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his mate Jamie Oliver: please let people enjoy their food.  It is our final frontier of pleasure.

Unlike you, we don’t earn great salaries making television programmes, swanning around the world or writing cookbooks.  We don’t have repeat contracts with Channel 4 telling the great unwashed how and what to eat.  For most people in Britain and elsewhere in the West, food is a palliative from the strain of everyday life.

You chaps are above all this, but the rest of us have to live with the daily onslaught of money flying out — rather than in — the door:

Quantitative easing means that the currency is suffering due to the fact that owing to so much of it being in circulation, granted we’re not at the Zimbabwe stage, but it is still having an effect. Energy bills too are way too high simply because of the government’s “green” policies whereby we’re subsidising inefficient, unworkable and expensive solutions due to the Climate Change Act infamously passed by the House of Commons in October 2008 by 463 votes to three, whilst it was snowing outside. By the Government’s own estimate, it would cost £404 billion to implement – £760 per household every year for four decades.

And now Hugh is telling us to stop eating meat and start getting stuck into vegetarian meals.  And this coming Sunday Jamie will start a new series telling us how England has ‘always’ been a ‘mongrel’ society and will demonstrate it through cooking.

Right, Jamie — take a look at haplogroups in Britain: a matter which is still up for further study and debate.  (Yes, our history does show some genetic differences because of invading Roman or Germanic groups as well as later immigration, but we are hardly the genetic melting pot that one sees in the United States, which was built on large waves of colonisation and immigration.)  Having seen how condescendingly you treat dinner ladies and humble families of Anglo-Saxon descent here and in the US, I wonder how much you actually value Britain.  I have no respect for someone who appears to think his own people are beneath him.

Watching Hugh’s show on Sunday was nothing short of depressing. That will probably be the final Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall show we ever watch here in the mousehole.

We’re finished with you banging on in that happy-go-lucky passive-aggressive way of yours, ‘encouraging’ your staff to join with you on this new-found vegetarian quest to save the planet.  Was it really encouragement or was it more coercion with a black mark against the name of anyone who refused?

Hugh and two vegetarian cooks, friends of his, took a vegetarian lunch out to a building site near London’s Kings Cross – St Pancras railway station.  They were amazed that the construction workers ate it!  Seeing as there was nothing else on offer — and that it was free of charge — of course they did.  Most offered polite, positive feedback.  Of course they did: they were wearing vests and such with their company’s name on them, so they were representing their employer.  One quietly said that the lunch was no substitute for meat.

There is a reason why manual workers — whether in construction, farming or other occupations — have historically eaten meat.  They need the animal protein for energy in order to do physically demanding jobs day after day.

There is a reason why women and children have historically eaten meat.  They need animal protein to stay healthy.  This was especially true before central heating became commonplace.  It is also true today, as many families are turning down the thermostat because they can’t afford the high gas bills.

I have no problem with people choosing to become vegetarian.

However, I do have a problem with Hugh, an Old Etonian gentleman farmer from a well-off family who says that we’re too attached to eating meat.  He might not have used those exact words, but the programme clearly puts that message across.

My gut instinct is that Hugh has a political purpose for his message which is to get us middle-class folk to cut back even further — at a time when our budgets are squeezed to the max.  Hugh’s congenial manner will probably dupe many.  I hope not.

The lunch that Hugh had with his vegetarian cook friends at their gaff was probably at least the price of a meat-oriented one, if not more.  The exotic, imported chi-chi ingredients must have cost quite a lot, making a free-range chicken at a supermarket look quite the bargain.

For an international study of animal proteins in various cultures, see my post on the Weston A Price Foundation.  For a New Testament perspective, read what Jesus had to say (Mark 7).

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