20 December: Grainger’s ‘meat-shunning’

Every day throughout Advent, the season of overindulgence, we’ll be telling a tale of an overindulgent composer


Composer: Percy Grainger


How indulgent: Satie-like levels of indulgence

How: Grainger was a vegetarian, and wrote that, ‘All my life, I have been sickened by everything connected with meat’. When designing the Percy Grainger Museum in Melbourne, he even included exhibits such as shopping lists and vegetarian recipes.

Grainger’s favourite food was plain boiled rice, and friends also noted his voracious appetite for nuts, bread and jam and wheatcakes. He had this in common with Eric Satie, a former advent calendar feature, who only ate food that was white in colour. They were an adventurous pair.

However, he didn’t just eat plainly, as he had a liking for cream cakes and ice cream. Grainger was infamously eccentric; he ate oranges with the pips and skin, and would normally write down in his diary the constituents of each meal, as well as the places in which he ate.

Did you know:  Grainger disliked the term ‘vegetarian’, and instead described himself as a ‘meat-shunner’. In 1946 he even wrote an essay entitled: ‘How I Became A Meat-Shunner’, explaining that he had adopted the principle after absorbing the arguments of George Bernard Shaw.

Now indulge yourself with….. Handel in the Strand


This delightful light orchestral piece will offer a delicate accompaniment to your festivities. It exists in many different versions, including for piano and string orchestra, piano, organ and even trombone choir!