omnivore – an animal that feeds on both animal and vegetable substances
Julie Anne Rhodes - the 2 year old omnivore

Julie Anne Rhodes – the 2 year old omnivore

I feel like the last human omnivore standing. My ex went vegetarian years ago, my daughter is leaning that way these days, and I live in a part of America that thinks meat is a dirty word. I’m being forced to eat a more vegetarian diet simply to keep up with the recipe testing for my clients, but there are times when pulses, grains, and vegetables are just not enough for me. We are, after all, omnivores which means we are meant to eat some meat and poultry!

It is portion sizes (3.5 ounces is a serving, not 8 -16 ounces), and where that meat and poultry come from that can seriously effect our health. What is the livestock being fed, what conditions do they live under, and what drugs and hormones are they are given before they reach our plates? That is where our concern should be. In fact I started raising these concerns publicly when I joined Parents for Safe Foods way back in 1990.
C. Lidgate Butcher & Charcutier

C. Lidgate Butcher & Charcutier

Last month I happened upon my dream supplier of meat and poultry in London. Apart from the pristine Dickensian appearance that made me feel as if I’d stepped back into a time when food was actually food…I learned that the 150 year old family run business does indeed deliver exactly what we should be shopping for.
Old school service

Old school service

The owners “personally select organic and grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork from selected free range and organic farms and estates, including Highgrove – home farm of HRH The Prince of Wales…”. If it is fit for the future King of England, it is probably plenty fit enough for me too. Mr. Lidgate “insists on the very best breeds, farmed with consideration and reared on natural grass-fed diets supplemented with traditional winter feed. This feed is free of all animal protein, growth promoters, hormones and anti-biotics (unless prescribed by a vet). He believes that feed affects nutritional values as well as safety and is therefore a major consideration for adults and children alike.” I say AMEN!
The finest of British meats

The finest of British meats

“Other specialties include a wide range of….
...home-made sausages...

home-made sausages…

National and International award winning pies made to order in ceramic dishes...

National and International award winning pies made to order in ceramic dishes…

...and organic free-range poultry and game

…and organic free-range poultry and game

I was so impressed that I asked to meet Mr. Lidgate personally. Once he appeared, I shyly introduced myself, gave him a sample of my Cocoa Magic Rub to try, and my business card. I would consider it the highest of honors for The Roving Stove to have a place on the shelves at the back of the store.
Last omnivore standing

Last omnivore standing

I’ve written this in the hope that it may in some way encourage you to think twice about what and how you feed your own family. Remember that it is the consumer at the end of the day that food suppliers have to answer to. It is all about supply and demand…shouldn’t we demand better food? Do you know of any butchers like C. Lidgate near you? Click on “comments” below, and let me know. In the meantime…I’m making shepherd’s pie for dinner tonight, and I’m hoping you will also follow me on my other blog too.

Shepherd's Pie
Jewels Shepherd’s Pie
In America we tend to confuse shepherd’s pie with cottage pie. The easy way to remember which is which is to think about the title – shepherds tend to sheep, so shepherd’s pie is the one with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. Use this same recipe to make a cottage pie by simply substituting beef for the lamb.
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


Meat and vegetable filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mashed potato topping

  • 2 pounds potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Meat and vegetable filling

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick sauté pan. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened and onion is transparent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add lamb, bay leaf, thyme, diced tomatoes, and salt and pepper, stirring well, breaking up the lamb with the back of the spoon, until browned all over, 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and Worcestershire sauce, and peas. Deglaze pan by scraping up the gooey bits on the bottom, and stirring constantly until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove bay leaf and pour into a casserole dish.

For the mashed potato topping

  1. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft when pierced with a fork, 10-12 minutes, drain. Add milk, butter, egg yolk, and salt and pepper to taste, and mash until smooth. Spread potatoes over meat mixture in casserole dish and mark with spatula. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs if desired. If not eating right away, I generally cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer at this point.
  2. Place in 400° F preheated oven and bake until hot and bubbly, and the surface and golden brown.

Serving Suggestions

This is really a one dish meal in itself, but you could add more vegetables on the side or a green salad if you desire.

Heat To Eat

Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake the shepherd's pie in the preheated oven until hot and bubbly, and the surface and golden brown.


Use ground beef instead of lamb to make a cottage pie, or be adventurous and try your own mixture of meat, poultry, and vegetables - for instance I make a delicious turkey-mushroom cottage pie.
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  • July 25, 2009
    9:48 pm

    Julie Anne, you know I would have a friggen field day there! I'm jealous!Laura H

  • July 26, 2009
    12:42 am

    So does C. Lidgate deliver to Los Angeles?? What a great place to shop. I'm jealous too!!Jean

  • July 26, 2009
    1:07 am

    We have a great place for organic, range fed meats near us here in Michigan called Heflings Amish Farm Market (In Clinton Township Michigan…North East of Detroit). It doesn't look as cool as Lidgate's does, but the meats are amazing. They also have some specialty products from Amish Country there too, and I believe hormone free milk. Great service too.

  • July 26, 2009
    1:20 am

    Yes Kimberly…a bit different than C. Lidgate in style…the commercial cracked me up with "what's on your plate tonight? Growth Hormones, steroids…", otherwise exactly the kind of place we should be spending our dollar votes for better food at!Jewels

  • July 26, 2009
    3:31 pm

    You know I have wavered trying to be a veggie my whole life to be healthier and also b/I felt a bit pressured by family/society. SO glad there are some other Omnivores out there! Being that my daughter is a type 1 diabetic meat is a "free food" for her -no carbs so we eat it at almost every meal (that and cheese…) Oh her fave cheese is from Venismo cheese store called "Barely Buzzed" made with espresso and lavender…you gotta try it! usually Trader Joes sells some meats that are organic and range free but a real butcher shop in L.A./Long Beach area would be great…I will research!Penelope

  • July 26, 2009
    6:35 pm

    Vande Rose Farms opened their only retail outlet a few miles from my house in Granite Bay, California. I don't often eat meat but when I do and when I feed it to my husband and toddler son, I want the meat to be free from hormones and antibiotics and for the animal to be raised humanely and sustainably. The prices at Vande Rose are not much higher than the chain supermarkets in our area! Their meats are available in other stores nationwide, and they also have an online store:

  • July 27, 2009
    12:53 pm

    I am not a big meat-eater (I don't eat hooved animals or swine), but I've met a guy from this place here in Texas: My B/F is a big time omnivore so we are now looking into getting beef from Slaker's.

  • July 28, 2009
    4:18 pm

    Hi Jules,I buy my chickens at Doheny Kosher Meats on Pico in Los Angeles. The Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market has a great bison distributer. They are an elderly couple that have their own bison business in California.

  • July 30, 2009
    5:56 am

    Hi Jules,Out here in Santa Clarita we have Bob's Country Meats . He has wonderful meats and poultry he carries all Boar's head and makes his own sauages and meat marinades. He is pricer than the market but oh sooo good. Also we have Whole Foods.