What Shall We Eat?

By Rev. A.M. Mitchell

“For twenty years the writer has abstained from flesh-meat of all kinds – even good red herring. For twenty years the world has laughed at me, now I laugh at the world. To have lived a score of years without flesh-meat: to have lived healthily and vigorously is proof, plain and positive, of the merits of a so-called “vegetarian” diet.

What shall we eat? is the frequent question. Why, the fat of the land, of course: the good things without end produced by good old Mother Earth, the products of the ground, the fruits of the trees. What more do we need: what better can we have than the fat of the land? Much better, is it not, than the fat of rams? Flesh-meat is running out. Jubilate! What we can’t have must be done without: we shall not die but live! The War, with all its enormities, atrocities, and abominations, is driving forward, at motor speed, two great reforms: (1) Food Reform; (2) Drink reform. If it leaves behind the legacy of a non-carnivorous, non-alcoholic drinking people it will have accomplished in a year or so what, may be, a whole century of normal selfish life could not have achieved. Vegetarians and Fruitarians are now the most popular men in England. They are sought by eager inquirers – ‘tell us what to eat: tell us how to cook: tell us how to live.’ The real difficulty in answering such inquiries is the endless variety of foods available, all of which are so excellent and nutritious. Cheap, wholesome, nourishing meals, almost endless in variety, can be provided every day if cooks and housekeepers will only take trouble to study and to learn.

The time has come to do so: the hour has struck when fleshless menus must, because of the present necessity, be provided in every home.

The question for the moment is not, ‘How can I secure a bit of flesh-food,’ but ‘How can I do without it?’ That duty calls us to abstain from butcher’s meat and from alcoholic drink willingly, gladly, thankfully, for the sake of country, home, religion, is too self-evident a proposition to need any present demonstration. It is well to remember, however, that all Vegetarians are not only actuated by motives of diet economy or even health considerations. ‘We needs must love the highest when we see it.’ In a rapidly-increasing army of vegetarians and fruitarians are found those who are influenced by higher motives, by the moral and religious aspect of food-reform, the abolition of the cruelty, pain, and agony inflicted on the animal victim in the provision of what is mistakenly spoken of as ‘necessary food.’

Originally published in Excelsior – the Burton Wood Parish Magazine.