Eating meat can require a very flexible mind. Many omnivores will tell you how much they love animals. Ditto, a medium rare steak. And it’s a rare meat-eater who doesn’t draw up some apparently arbitrary guidelines for what they will and won’t put on their plate. Pigs, cows, chicken and sheep are all acceptable, but not dogs, horses or goats, for example. Muscles and skin are the height of good taste, but internal organs are not quite the thing. Which is why the humble haggis, national dish of Scotland, is an especially divisive dish – sure to horrify as many palates as it delights.
I used to flex my brain muscles this way, justifying some dodgy decisions, and ignoring some unpleasant realities: happily eschewing meat, but equally cheerfully consuming dairy and eggs. In my feeble defence, I ate fish under sufferance, and I always felt guilty about it … oh go on I was just as bad as anyone in the previous paragraph.
So, in honour of my newfound veganism, my lighter conscience and my less agitated brain, I celebrated Burns night for the first time in my life, with a delicious guilt-free supper of vegetarian haggis, mash, sprouts and mushroom gravy. Meal number 75 was delicious, and so much easier to swallow than the carnivorous alternative – “Sae let the Lord be thankit.”