What’s your beef?



Sitting one day in a chic Cabo San Lucas restaurant over-looking the Sea of Cortez we watched an American gentleman throw down his menu and beckon the waiter.

“Is the fish fresh?” he barked.

“Of course, senor, it was caught this morning,” the waiter assured him, indicating the magnificent ocean spread before us, home to some of the world’s most delectable seafood.

“Then gimme the beef burger.”

It reminded me of a guy I once knew in Los Angeles who was rich enough to constantly travel the world first class and dine in the best restaurants.

“We ate in the top restaurants in Paris, Italy, Michelin, you name it,” his girlfriend, an ex-Beauty Queen told me. “But he only ever wanted meatballs. I coulda killed him.”

Some people just want their beef. Even here in deep vegetarian country I am surprised by the longing for red meat. Of course it must be organic – as must everything else.  Food must be gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free, sugar-free, sulphur free, sulphite-free, pesticide-free, preservative and triglyceride-free.

Which can make choosing a restaurant a little time consuming –  unless you happen to be in the vicinity of a marvellous place called “20,000 Cows.”

This vegan 70’s décor restaurant is in the rural town of Lismore, NSW. It was named after the number of cow’s lives the owner figured he would save over the course of his establishment’s life.  The kitchen makes my bathroom look like a football field and the wait is pretty long but the food when it comes is sensational. With everything from spicy Yemeni stuffed pastry to creamy Malaysian curries (not real cream) it is always booked out.  

I used to scoff at all this organic nonsense until friends who are making a documentary about the takeover of the world’s food supply by BIG BUSINESS opened my foolish eyes. The bombarding of our food with chemicals and GM modification is the stuff of horror films. It is now being linked to the collapse of bee colonies across the planet and possibly to the astronomical spike in diseases like cancer and brain disorders like autism and dementia.  I like my honey and am quite attached to my brain so I am changing my ways.  I have even started buying organic butter and milk. Pesticide-free vegetables are creeping into my shopping basket until the ones I’ve planted are ready to eat. 

But I’ve decided not to get too carried away.   

I have met people who are such strict vegans they will only eat free-fall fruit. If the tree didn’t give it up voluntarily they would rip off their own hand before ripping it from its source. They are called extreme fruitarians.

Fruitcake also springs to mind.

My homeopath told me about one of these fellows who had eaten nothing but fruit for 20 years. His osteoporosis was so bad he had the spine of a 90 year-old woman. He was only 40. To cure himself he filled a backpack with rocks – as you do – and spent the next 6 months climbing up and down rough terrain.  He may have also started working his way through those 20,000 cows.  Apparently it worked, although I have my doubts.

Visiting town to stock up on some new pens I am alone and can eat anything I want without lengthy consultation. I don’t care what it’s got in it. It’s hard to beat a good old fashioned Australian bakery.  When you push open the fly screen door the smell is overwhelmingly nostalgic and scrumptious.  I grab a gluten-full sausage roll with sugar-drenched tomato sauce and a sticky bun with pink icing full of preservatives and join a workman eating his pie and sauce on the bench outside. We nod at each with mouths full of evil pastry.

From the corner of my eye I see him take an apple turnover with cream out of a bag and ram it into his gob with fingers that look like bananas.     

No doubt he checked first that it was made from free-fall apples.  


One thought on “What’s your beef?

  1. I am very relieved to hear that there is a cure for my osteoporosis. This is a recently diagnosed condition which I cannot blame on a nutrient -deprived diet ( despite rejecting tortured animals as a source of protein – remarkably few free falling cows over willingly give themselves up ). Its probably the result of a lost ovary – careless I know, but easy come easy go. Nevertheless, I probably have the bones of an average 62 year old! Which is probably about right, but still too old for my liking…so its a bag full of rocks for me.


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