Whenever you see crossed chives you are in trouble
We should all be eating less meat and better meat
Never eat anything bigger than your head
Cookery Quote

Farting Cows

Lucy Seigle is a very charming person, as befits a presenter on BBC’s the One Show. She is also very courageous – you may have seen her overcoming a fear of heights to launch herself off an improbably high diving board to raise funds for Children in Need. Both these attributes were called upon on during a recent mission, Ms Siegle had recently gone vegetarian in order that she can help save the planet, I don’t think she was ever a rabid carnivore but she does confess to a weakness for roast chicken. During our day’s filming (that’s right, it takes a whole day to make a five minute film) her mission was to get me to give up eating meat and her reasoning was that getting rid of all our livestock would save the planet. “Eating further down the food chain” is her watchword.
We started in the cattle market in Otley, we went on to a butcher in Ilkley – David Lishman’s, very good sausages and hams – and finally we docked at a vegan restaurant in Sowerby Bridge called Dandelion and Burdock. Her argument was that methane is several times worse for global warming than CO2 and that culling farting and belching cows would have a massive impact on the planet’s problems but first we would all have to give up eating meat. The flaw in the argument is that the landscape of Britain (of which are all proud, and which delivers so much tourist spending,) has been created, and is maintained, by our farmers… no cows means no grassland. Or as one of the sages at the cattle market put it “everything would go back to bracken”. Then there is the fearful cost to the rural economy, a no-meat edict would wipe out farmers, butchers, hauliers, vets all sorts of people. I think that I would rather cut back on jet travel and food miles, even though our efforts to trap carbon will probably be pitifully small when compared the huge outpourings in China and India as their monster populations start to live the good life – it is an irony that this is something they would probably define as being able to eat more meat.
Strangely the blandishments of Lucy Siegle did not make me return home a chastened vegetarian. But they did introduce me to Dave Wilson chef proprietor of Dandelion and Burdock a pure vegetarian restaurant in Sowerby Bridge. Good cooking is good cooking wherever you find it and David is a good cook. A sweet potato soup was notably well balanced with a chilli kick, and a tamarind sourness working with the sweet tubers. It was dressed with corn kernels and black beans a welcome change of texture. Beetroot and polenta cakes were first rate. For mains there was a magnificent dish – a viridian swamp of mushy marrowfat peas with a bright orange pumpkin pie sitting on top of it. Great to look at and great to eat.
Desserts were less successful but you have to admire a chef who tries to make a cheesecake using soya milk and non-dairy chocolate ice cream. The menu changes each month, flavours are assertive and the dishes look good. This is remarkably good vegan food, but I will still fancy a bacon sandwich the following day.

Lishman’s of Ilkley, 23-27 Leeds Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8DP 01943 609436 www.lishmansofilkley.co.uk
Dandelion and Burdock, 16 Town Hall Street, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire (01422 316000)

Charles Campion - Thursday 1st April 2010

  • Cafe Pacifico
  • Green & Red
  • Taqueria
  • Wahaca
  • Chilango
  • Benito's Hat