When I was in year 10 I went off to school camp, Wollangarra, a camp in East Gippsland, Victoria, where there is a flying fox to get in and no electricity, and came home vegetarian. I announced this to my parents upon my arrival home, they both looked unsurprise, and responded with, “we’ve been waiting for this”.
My reasons weren’t for that of animal welfare, my harsh opinion was that they were bread to be eaten (and the other variety of bi-products), my passion was for the environment. I’d finally come to the realisation that we could be eating grain that is fed to the animals, that trees (that cleaned the air we needed to BREATH) were being logged to create farm land and the amount of methane caused and water used was beyond even my colourful imagination.
I had also found something I believed in, and at 16, it was nice to have that. I loved Wollangarra with fierce totality, and just desperately wanted to be a part of it, I later went on to work there for a year, and it then shaped a lot of my major life decisions.
Vegetarianism however, came and went. After about 8 years, each Christmas I would eat a little ham and turkey, then I started eating fish, then one Christmas I just never stopped after the festive season had come to a close.
These days, I try to make about 50% of our meals meat free. I struggle to think of what I ate for those 10 years, I no longer find it so easy to imagine meals without meat as the main protein. But falafel are fabulous! So easy and fresh and wonderful!
Did you have a passion at 16 that shaped your life? Have you ever been vegetarian? Do you love to eat meat free?
- 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
- 2x400gm tins of chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Turkish bread, tabouli, youghurt to serve
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until combined, a few chickpea chunks are ok.
- Shape into patties (I used about a tablespoon of mix per pattie).
- Preheat oven to 180*C.
- Place into pan with hot oil, and push down slightly, to make a flatter pattie.
- Once browned, put on oven tray and cook for about 30 mins, until inside is cooked (if need be break one in 1/2 to check).
- Serve with Turkish bread, tabouli and yoghurt.