Sunday, for me, was basically spent making nutroast. For vegetarians – real ones who don’t even eat fish – it’s something solid to have for Sunday lunch. You can calve it as though it’s a luscious joint of beef, served up with the usual roast constituents. But, unlike a slab of meat that you unwrap and slam in the oven, nutroast takes an age to make.
There’s vegetables to slice, nuts to crush, herbs to chop, eggs to whisk, bread to crumb – at least 15 separate ingredients. I read somewhere that the we spend more than 32,0000 hours of our lives eating and drinking, yet the joy of consuming nutroast (and it is tasty) – is fleeting compared to the ordeal of making it. Imagine how many tens of thousands of hours committed vegetarians spend making their food. For me, the night before the total food preparation time was a one minute phone conversation with a local Indian restaurant – it would have been quicker if it wasn’t for my strange English accent.
Yet, my nutroast was good for the planet. A traditional Sunday roast is far worse for the environment and, I suspect ,on methane alone, Friday’s curry was worse still. A kilo of lamb, apparently, has the same carbon footprint as a car driving 91 miles. Lentils are equivalent to a car driving 2 miles.
But who has time (about four hours) to make a nutroast every week? Or any of the other complex recipes that can make vegetarian meals seem interesting.
Thankfully, Jeremy Corbyn has the answer. Or as far as I could make out on radio reports today, in between chopping, sautéing and squeezing. The Labour party wants to introduce a four-day week.
It’s an eminently sensible suggestion. The whole idea of a five day week was a win for the workers. Before that we worked six days, because that’s how long God supposedly took to build the earth. Crazily fast, which is why Australia only looks partially finished.
Freeing up a day would allow us all to cook vegetarian food. The planet wins, we’d all be a bit healthier and the wealth divide would be reduced. Unless some rich, beef-eating subversive, cheats and puts in a few hours on a Friday.
Sadly, the Labour leader and his Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, have now distanced themselves from the suggestion of a four day week. But maybe they could consider special dispensation for vegetarians. Until an adequate range of pre-packaged veggie dishes appears on the shelves at Waitrose, we need the time in our week to cook something that isn’t a dead animal. Perhaps the first stage of the transition is a four day week just for vegetarians. Or link the days you work to the extent of your carbon footprint.
Corbyn looks weedy enough to be a vegetarian. Surely he can get behind this idea.