My bestie called me approximately 28 times the other day when she was doing her Christmas shop. You see, when all the foodie terminology starts to overwhelm her, she treats me as her very own personal ethical eating directory! Being a vegetarian putting on a meaty feast for her family made it even more challenging. After making a few phone calls to source a genuine free range ham, she was more confused than ever.
First there was the well-meaning butcher who assured her the ham was free range, but when pressed on where it was raised his reply was “Victoria love, well definitely Australia, all our meat is Australian”. For some shoppers a simple “yes, the ham is free range” is enough to appease their concern, but what this interaction proves is that if they can’t point you to the actual source, then I’d be betting my lunch money that it’s not free range.
The next place she called assured her that their ham was also free range but after a quick look into the producer name supplied it was in fact only ‘sow stall free’. For those of you who are interested, this means that the mother pigs (sows) aren’t contained in tiny stalls they can’t move around in, but they are often still housed indoors for their entire life and farrowing crates are normally still used (even tinier contraptions that restrict the mother from moving at all whilst feeding her young (pictured in the Porky Pies Guide).
Now this was just the first step in her search for an ethical Christmas spread, but what about turkey and seafood as well?
How do you separate the truth from the waffle? Here’s a handy guide that should clear things up a bit. You’re welcome.
P.S: Here's my guide and menu for hosting a vegetarian Christmas if you dare!