Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Plant piracy! Dietary and environmental matters. Chipping cats.

As I came back from my run this morning I saw a couple of people digging up plants at the end of the footpath. I have no problem with that, in moderation. I have been known to do that sort of thing myself. It turned out that they were digging up wild garlic, which was growing in profusion there, so that they could replant it in their garden. I have read recently that wild garlic, finely chopped, is an excellent addition to scrambled eggs. I must try it. According to the wild garlic plant pickers, the greengrocer’s in Uppermill, which must be Alimentari Alberti, the Italian greengrocery, sells it in little bundles. We speculated that maybe they come to the patch in Delph to collect it - like the Grundys in The Archers going out and collecting holly and mistletoe to sell at Christmas time. There is almost certainly another patch of it closer to Uppermill. Anyway, the upshot of it all was that I came away with a handful of plants to put in a pot in the garden: in a pot because I have read that wild garlic spreads crazily and takes over your garden. So maybe we’ll get round to sampling wild garlic flavoured scrambled eggs. 

On the radio news they were talking about fish and chips. Specifically, they were talking about vegan fish and chips. I can understand the chips problem: many traditional chippies fry their chips in beef dripping, not at all vegetarian! But vegan fish? There’s a good deal of concern about overfishing. It’s another environmental problem. Hence the item on vegan fish and chips. And I don’t know what the solution is, especially as I really enjoy eating fish.

For some people the solution is to stop eating fish. Fair enough! But some of them want to keep the taste of fish in their food. And so people are making “tuna fish” out of chickpeas and seaweed. All sorts of concoctions are being put together and deep fried in batter as vegan “fish”. Mushrooms figure largely. Oyster mushrooms can masquerade as scallops apparently. Linguistically that is rather confusing - when is an oyster not an oyster. The importance of good batter was stressed. And seaweed also plays a big part. How soon will there be a seaweed crisis?

I’m not a climate change denier. Moreover, I am strongly in favour of protecting the environment. However I do want to continue eating fish. And I am prepared to pay a little more for it if that is the consequence of reducing fishing quotas. Okay, I recognise that I am being a bit exclusivist, making fish the preserve of those who can afford it, but at my age I’m going to put up with it. But I find it hard to understand eating “pretend” fish, just as I don’t understand “pretend” meat. If you decide to cut something out of your diet, do so, but there’s no need to pretend that chick pea mash tastes like fish. 

I feel the same about artificial sweeteners, by the way! 

Thinking of chips, how about cat chips? Not to eat but as a way of identifying your moggy and preventing theft. 

“Millions of cat owners could be expected to get their cats microchipped or face fines under new government plans as the number of felines being stolen has risen sharply during the pandemic.

Data from the police shows the number of cats being taken has risen almost threefold in five years, with a notable 12.3% in the last year. Owners are now being asked to microchip their cats in the same way as dogs already are.

The Telegraph reported that a microchipping measure, which means animals can be tracked and identified if stolen and resold, is being introduced as part of a package of changes by a ministerial taskforce to combat the growing black market in stolen pets. Those who do not get their cats registered will face a fine of up to £500.”

Goodness! This pet owning business is getting technological and more than a little fraught! It seems that cat-owning, like dog-owning, has increased during the lockdown. The most expensive breeds can cost £2000. Who knew that moggies could be so costly. And, as with dogs, cat-theft has also been increasing. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative party leader, said people who steal animals “can make a lot of money with little penalty”. Duncan Smith is campaigning with 50 Conservative MPs for a crackdown to be included in the new policing bill. He said: “They will gamble that if they can make £15,000 in a day, a £250 fine is not a problem.”

It’s interesting that they are prepared to crack down on cat thieves who cheat the system but not so much on rich folk who avoid paying taxes! But that’s another story. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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