I have not become vegan, as some are beginning to think. I still eat meat, fish and dairy products, in moderation. I am more vigilant than ever about where animal ingredients come from, and how they have been produced. I am convinced (and will tell anyone who’s listening) that collectively we all need to eat much less meat, fish and dairy - for the good of the planet, for the welfare of our farm animals, and for the benefit of our health. Plants should be front and central in our diets - the vital building blocks of most of our meals. And this is what we aim for at River Cottage.
We will always have time for vegans and vegetarians at River Cottage because we always have time for people with principles about food. We will always be happy to create vegan and vegetarian recipes and menus, out of respect for those who only eat these foods, and also because we enjoy these foods too. It’s worth pointing out that the vegan diet is in many ways the most inclusive. We can all eat vegan food in good conscience. That’s why, when I am cooking for vegan friends at home, I often cook vegan food for everyone.
I don’t accept that all vegans are angry activists, but nor do I have any criticism of those who are. And I don’t expect to be spared criticism by vegans - I understand they are opposed to killing animals for food, and that is something I am still party to.
I hope that statement clears up any misunderstandings, though I am almost certain it will be taken by some as provocative. That’s okay. Food should be a provocative subject. And the choices we make, individually and collectively, can and should be rigorously debated.