meatbox newsletter - living well?

The Livewell diet: and so say all of us, but I think the World Wildlife Fund’s attempt to remove the confusion and difficult questions from the whole sustainable and healthy diet debate (www.wwf.org.uk/livewell2010) is a little over-simplistic and unrealistically ambitious. Not surprisingly tiger, panda and rhino don’t feature highly on the menu. It is well known that we should cut back on our meat eating, but by 85%, to 200g a week? Forget making your chicken do three meals; a decent sized chicken and a kilo of mince will have to do a family of four for a month.

Two of their three weekly morsels of flesh are chicken and pork, which are largely dependent for protein on soya grown on the Brazilian Cerrado and rainforest the WWF is quite rightly trying to protect. They are keen on dairy protein but not so keen on beef. I’ve never been able to understand why the dairy sector seems to escape but the meat sector is endlessly pilloried about belching ruminants. The truth is that it would be pretty inefficient to have one without the other. Traditional breeds of beef (Devon Reds, Galloways etc.) will survive on the most inhospitable of pastures, often inaccessible to tractors, which certainly wouldn’t sustain a purebred Friesian or Holstein dairy cow. Much of our beef comes from just such terrain: National Trust cliff-top grazing for example. I’m not sure what else it can be used for. The above-mentioned tigers and rhinos certainly wouldn’t like it; venison and sheep might. By entering the WWF’s draw on Twitter you can win a Riverford meatbox (plus other Riverford goodies); but you have to promise to make it last three months.

It isn’t quite 200g per person per week but our new Quick and Easy meatbox (available from 14th February for a bargain £29.95) is very much about thinking ahead, cooking in small batches, good eating and no waste. It definitely isn’t about large joints and casseroles that go on (getting better) for a week. Not every meal has to contain meat, but as the majority will continue to do so, cutting out the waste seems to be a good start. We are all different, so the Winter Warmer meatbox might be one man’s meat, the Quick and Easy another’s. I can’t make my mind up.

Ben Watson