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'Swedes, ditch meat on the barbecue this summer'

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'Swedes, ditch meat on the barbecue this summer'
Meat on the barbecue? That's so 2015. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
06:59 CEST+02:00
Swedes should abandon meat on the barbecue this summer and go vegetarian instead, argues Mattias Kristiansson, editor of Swedish magazine VEGO.

Right, it's time. The season of meat: summer!

Gather your friends, pull up the barbecue, throw on all kinds of carcasses and drink until you're hammered. Woo-hoo! Or… do just the opposite this year.

Skip the meat and discover a whole new world of grilled green goodies. Veggie food is getting ready to make waves on the barbecue. Not only is it brutally tasty, it is also absolutely necessary.

When I write this text, it is 28C outside. This spring, believe it or not, has broken heat records. Our warmest year ever, 2015, could soon see itself overtaken, and that is hardly something that warrants a toast in champagne.

It is so creepy and scary that more people should lift their sunglasses and see it for what it is: climate… gone bad.

The UN's climate panel has painted a critical picture and calls for immediate action to stop global warming. And sure, there is something we can do!

As a child, 'flintastek' (Swedish marinated ham cut in thick slices and barbecued) was the highlight of summer. I sat there, using my small, skewed teeth to tear apart the fat and sinews, with willpower alone.

It was part of the whole thing. Because meat is part of summer.

Growing up, barcecueing became more of a kind of elevated gastronomy. Jam a thermometer in the butt of the calf and let it sleep face down on the grill until it is so tender it has melted beyond recognition.

Anything to justify meat eating.


Mattias Kristiansson. Photo: Juliana Wiklund

These days, I am more than an adult. I have become aware of food that does not run around on between two and four legs… or more, for those of you thinking of squeezing disgusting insects into an unpleasant burger this summer.

I have become aware of veggie food! Food that scientists all over the world agree is the best for the climate. Because we must halt the rising temperatures before things get serious for real.

And yes, of course it is wonderful that we will soon be able to grow pineapples in our community allotment gardens and play that we are finally "lucky" when it comes to the weather. But it is not luck, it is a well calculated climate catastrophe.

Something which won't hit us primarily, but rather those living in the world's hottest and poorest regions.

For them, doom awaits. Why? Because meat is tasty and you can't have a Swedish summer without a 'flintastek'. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps.

Does it sound better if I tell you that the solution is juicy veggie burgers, spectacular skewers, amazing sauces and triumphant side dishes? Because it is that simple.

Grilled veggie food has reached version 2.0. It is time to erase the bad reputation veggie food has developed at barbecue parties.

You do not have to be banished to a forgotten disposable barbecue where you may barbecue some wrinkled mushrooms and a canned cob of corn. And no, nor do we want a plate of grilled side orders and sometimes a side for the sides to "replace" the meat.

Those days are gone because there is so much more, and all that is needed is that you, yes you, diss the 'flintastek' this summer. At least every now and then.

It is outdated, history, and relegated to the Neanderthals.

This year, greens on the barbecue is what it's all about and you can save the world just by throwing an amazing barbecue party – veggie style.

That's an initiative that should be toasted in champagne.

Mattias Kristiansson is the editor of Swedish vegetarian magazine VEGO. This is a translated version of an opinion piece originally published by SVT Opinion.

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