Are fish vegetables? Or am I a big hypocrite?
I used to be a vegetarian. I was fourteen and needed to piss off my parents. So I took the advice of my hero Morrissey, jumped on the ‘Meat Is Murder’ bandwagon and abandoned burgers. My mother estimated my latest teenage fad would last about a week.
Six years on my veggie convictions were still going strong. I’d tuck into my tofu stew and complain loudly about the dead flesh my dinner companions were shoveling into their faces. I didn’t get invited to many dinner parties.
One evening as I was sitting at a beachside grill, a waiter brought out a massive plate of barbequed fish. The sweet, delicate smell wafted to my table. Suddenly my plate of soggy lentils and green stuff lost its appeal. I began pining for the taste of juicy barbequed prawns, fluffy salmon steak and salty mussels. Hell, even fish sticks would do.
I was determined not to give in to my secret craving. But my resolve crumbled at a wedding buffet. I found myself loitering by a plate of shimmering pink smoked salmon. No-one would notice if I just tasted a tiny flake. The fish was dead and too sliced up to save. So I ate some. Nothing bad happened. I wasn’t struck by lightening. Morrissey didn’t appear and slap my salmon-filled face. The Earth didn’t explode because Tiggy nibbled one little fishy.
Now the world was literally my oyster. Sushi for breakfast, tuna for lunch and prawn curry for supper. The world’s fish stocks were beginning to dwindle.
How could I justify my fish fanaticism? Using my own special logic, I figured that even being vegetarian had its environmental downside. How many slugs had been ruthlessly murdered in order to produce those vegetables? Carrots were living things too, but I was happy to rip them out the ground and devour them.
Anyway, fish are stupid. They’d only get eaten by other fish. If there was such a thing as reincarnation, I was simply helping them up the chain by eating them. Next time they might come back as a chicken and they’d thank me for it. A succulent, tender chicken. Mmmm.