I have been vegetarian for over 30 years and I enjoyed this article about vegetarianism
and women food producers by Raymond Lloyd. I read it in the Parity Democrat.
From fast food to Slow Food, Vegetarianism, and Women Food Producers
9th Salone del Gusto Turin 25-29 October 2012
Early to late October 2012. While covering the World Bank annual meetings in Japan, I toured the Yokohama Noodles factory to witness the extraordinary progress in forty years from wet noodles on a plate to dry noodles in a cup. As a vegetarian, I was glad to benefit from this revolution, as the only way to avoid pork, chicken or tuna. At the World Bank every cheese or egg sandwich contained a slice of ham, so I was glad to get back to the hotplate in my hotel to pour boiling water into a cup of vegetarian noodles. Some shops have taps of boiling water to provide cup noodles on the run, while their current use in disaster areas can be a blessing.
From 1961 to 1986 I lived in Rome, and have been back to Italy, mainly to Pisa and Venice, every year since. Food in Italy is the best value for money in the world, equalled only in India. I have been a vegetarian since 8 March 2000. There are at least six reasons, or rationalizations, for becoming a vegetarian: health, moral, aesthetic, economic, ecological and, for me, solidarity with the hungry, on whose behalf I worked for twenty years with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
I am not a polemical vegetarian, but it is still a sacrifice. I have been to only one Michelin-starred restaurant since 2000, in Luxembourg in 2005, and often have to refuse food at receptions, where most waiters assume vegetarians eat fish. Nor am I a vegan: I eat dairy products, honey and, unlike Indian vegetarians, eggs. I also eat cheeses with rennet, although in Britain, 70% of cheeses are made with non-animal rennet. I am still a beneficiary of Italian food: in the 1960s I had to travel south of Salerno to buy sun-dried tomatoes: in Britain they now seem to flavour everything. In Rome I could buy rocket-flavoured insalatina at the Testaccio market: now there are many combinations of fresh salads and herbs packaged in London supermarkets. The one Italian specialty I miss is the crusty pane di campagna made with 100% durum wheat: the nearest I get to it now is sourdough bread.
In Italy I would slice and roast jacket potatoes in olive oil: I could never make enough for my Roman friends. I used to package pasta, garlic and chillies to make spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino, for hosts in America and round the world. I rarely give dinners now, because in Britain, unlike in Italy, I found this a one-way track: few Brits invite you back. Every morning I enjoy by myself my own Scottish-Italian speciality, salted porridge topped with cold pressed olive oil.
I come to the Salone del Gusto for three reasons. It is the best tasting fair in Europe, if not in the world. It keeps alive or revives little-known products and dishes. And it encourages food producers, not least women’s groups in the developing world. In Rome I began the world’s first field programme for rural women, described in my 2010 Salone paper, found at
http://www.shequality.org/Women, Inclusive Democracy, Food & Agriculture.doc, which also describes my subsequent work for women’s advancement. Thus most recently, on a tour with EU agriculture ministers in Cyprus E Troodos in September, I have publicized the candied fruits of Niki Agathokleos at www.nikisweets.com.cy, who employs twenty women. And in Northeast Brazil in June, prior to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, I took the Slow Food Foundation leaflets to look for umbu and baru nuts, revived and harvested by family producers.
Raymond Lloyd - Email shequality @ gmail.com