I have never been a big meat eater and was vegetarian for years, but after living in France I developed a taste for good food and good steak, going from a really well done (charcoal) to a medium rare.
So when we moved to Portugal I had decided that I wanted land to have a small holding, you know chickens, rabbits, maybe a couple of sheep so that we could rear own own food. Yes I was finally going to become Felicity Kendal from the good life (anybody over a certain age in the UK will know this reference, but if not just have a quick google!)
But to be honest the opposite has actually started to happen. As I go to the butchers each week to buy our shopping I start to lean more and more towards veganism.
I have now got to the stage where I will only buy free range or organic food, which is good but the butchers counters are very different here.
In Portugal there is no mistaking where your food comes from, as most meat still have their heads attached and look at you as you buy it!
Half a lamb, is exactly that (though it did take some time to work out what it was) it is cut in half, so you get half of the teeth and one eye, the rabbits are totally whole, but this I was used to in France, but what I am not used to is the chickens.
They are whole and you choose what to cut off and how to cut it, the first few times were a game of charades with me imitating cutting off the head and the feet, but if you get it wrong, they just cut the toe nails off and leave the feet!
If they cut the head off you need to say how much neck you want cutting off, believe me this is the most disgusting looking food you will have ever seen, a cooked neck, it does not look like a neck and will make most men wince!
This may sound like a horrible post and I apologise if I have offended anybody but this is life in rural Portugal and you have to be prepared for it when you visit the butchers or become a vegan.
Today may have been the tipping point for me, somebody bought a bag of pig snouts and ears and then the butcher brought out a pile of pig faces, yes I am now definitely leaning towards veganism
I battled whether or not to add photos but have decided against it, but kids here are in no doubt where their chicken nuggets or burgers come from, so maybe not such a bad idea.
But as I buy far less meat than I had planned, John got some sausages and I got a lot more vegetables, I really don´t think it will be long before I make the move over and give up meat completely.
Once again I see my Good Life disappearing in to the distance, but I suppose we could always just grow lots of veg and fruit.
Honesty is the best policy, but the butchers may be just that bit too much honesty for me, life was much easier when you just visited a supermarket and bought something that you would know would tasted good in a curry, you knew it was meat but it didn´t resemble an animal.
I think I have some tough decisions ahead of me, as I could not buy from a supermarket any more (other than those that have a real butchers in them, which is virtually all of them here) as I would need to know that the food is organic, but I don´t think I can look it in the fasce before I put it in the pot.
Decision time is coming up, this will be a fun conversation with John and his favourite steak!
And please don´t forget to take a look at our new facebook site: