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Cauliflower Steaks Are an Unlikely Victim of the Climate Emergency

Extreme rain in the U.K. and extreme heat in Europe have ravaged stocks of the vegetarian menu mainstay

Cauliflower shortages hit restaurants after extreme weather in the U.K. Xavier Buendia/Silo

Pour one out for a vegetarian menu trendsetter

Ah, the cauliflower steak — the only long-roasted brassica responsible for price war, class war, and the phrase, “The Vegetable Most Likely to Be Mistaken for a Piece of Meat.” It’s been a steak, it’s been wings, it’s been rice. The world’s equivocation of vegetables and meat is normal and fine; your green old kale could never. But now, in a staggering volte-face, the environment turns on its trendy, beige champion: climate emergency has come for the cauliflower.

Britain is in the grip of a cauliflower crisis,” says the Guardian, as a pincer movement from extreme rain in the U.K. and extreme heat in Europe ravages cauliflower crops in both regions and leaves restaurants looking at paying £3 per cauliflower wholesale. Lincolnshire, the main growing region, saw soil heavily damaged by heavy rain, which could also have knock-on effects when brussels sprouts come into season. Restaurants scrambling for an alternative to cauliflower would have been unthinkable but a decade ago; this is not just a sobering micro-example of the way the weather will break food systems, but also an insight into how food trends, and their volatility, can leave suppliers in the lurch. [Guardian]

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