Meat Is Boring, Say Top Chefs

TIME magazine recently proclaimed some heartening news in “Where’s the Beet?: How Big- Name Chefs Are Shrinking Their Customers’ Carnivore Quota.”  Six top chefs were interviewed, all saying they are preparing less meat in their restaurants.  Two of them, Mario Batali and Jose Andres, say that meat is boring.  “After four bites of a big steak, I’m tired of it,” says Batali, who plans to open his sixteenth restaurant soon, this one in New York City and entirely vegetarian.   Andres, with six restaurants in Los Angeles and Washington, describes a combination of fruits and vegetables as “a rainbow of possibilities.  It’s more interesting than any meat.”

Those of us who care about animal suffering and the planet will gladly accept any reason that convinces influential foodies to urge cutting back on meat, and vegetarian activists who are wise have always applauded and supported any reduction in meat consumption among people they meet.  But for the sake of a trend?  A few years ago, the trend was just the opposite: the fat- and cholesterol-loaded Atkins diet.  Fashion is fickle, and the American people seem easily influenced to follow the diet du jour.  If they’re cutting back on meat only because it’s fashionable, it’s not likely to last.  Far better to do so for the incontrovertible reasons that underlie it and always have- -the animals, the planet, human health–regardless of the whims of chefs and the Food Network.  We can only hope that the current trendiness will create in people a greater openness to hear and respond to those deeper and lasting reasons, and continue regardless of what’s currently “in.”

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