“What is food to one, is to others bitter poison”
A diet without meat gets a thumb down from many people. To most, meals seem incomplete without meat, the often considered ‘traditional’ heart of a dish. Even to those whose cultures are plentiful in vegetables, such as an Italian diet, which is full of what might be referred to in England as ‘vegetarian dishes’, the choice to totally abstain meat seems absurd. The most common question faced by a vegetarian is most probably, “why?”; why not eat meat?! For vegans, this question goes further, to “what can you eat?!”; a reference to the choice to abstain not only meat but all animal products, such as dairy and eggs.
It seems to me that whatever reason for vegetarianism or veganism, whether it be medical or ethical, or the more controversially suggested, for fashion, that there must be enjoyable alternatives for what most people would consider to be the staple of meals. The suggestion that a vegetarian or vegan does not, and cannot, enjoy their food due to their self-limited choices seems unreasonable and often is not based on any experience.
Admittedly, a lot of vegetarian food I have encountered seems to substitute meat for a lot of cheese (mainly on school trips – Year 10, Normandy, a courgette hollowed out and drowned in cheese vs. chicken and chips). And so I can see why people might not be begging to be signed up for this lifestyle choice, but despite all of this, I intend to find out what it is that the vegetarian and vegan turns to to create delicious and healthy meals that are both filling and provide enjoyment in cooking and eating.
This coming week, I shall be finding suitable meals (not involving either meat, or meat and animal products) making them, and reviewing the best against either the meat dish they aim to replace, or a similar meat meal. In this way, I aim to challenge the preconception that the majority of vegetarian and vegan food is boring and tasteless, for I am sure that so many would not turn to this dietary style if it were as unbearable as the meat-eater makes out.