I was once vegetarian for a whole afternoon. From the time I watched a Channel 4 exposé on the meat trade, until the moment I picked up the menu at a Chinese restaurant later that night. The prospect of duck pancakes and crispy beef was enough to stifle the outrage at how most of our farm animals are treated.
So apart from those four hours or so when I was a seething vegetarian, eating animals is something I’m generally ok with.
What about baby or young animals? Hmm not so sure. Is it ok to eat poussin or veal, baby squid or baby octopus? What about elvers – baby eels? Tragically denied an epic sea adventure in order to be slapped on a bit of toast in a sautéed mass with dozens of its little mates. What about suckling pig? Or indeed lamb? Can we justify ending lives early for the sake of more tender meat and a milder flavour?
Bear in mind even if sheep are slaughtered for mutton, they’ve only been baaing for the first two of their 10 to 12 year lifespan.
Well I hunted down some mutton mince and spent the morning making Turkish pizza, in order to help me ruminate on the possibility of only eating creatures that have been properly around the block.
I first tried lahmacun a few years back on a late night stagger around Amsterdam. It was delicious. Not cheesy like normal pizza, but spicy and kebaby, rolled up around a fresh zingy salad to cut through the rich mince topping.
I mixed strong flour, yeast, milk, olive oil, sugar and salt to make a flatbread dough. After proving and rolling I topped with mutton mince cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic and spices – salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, flaked chilli and allspice.
I baked in a hot oven before topping with a sharp salad of mint, caperberries, parsley, red onion and lemon juice. Spicy meaty flatbread with a full on ‘longer-lived’ flavour.
– mutton, tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices
– strong flour, yeast, milk, oil, salt, sugar
– mint, capers, parsley, red onion, lemon