Life can be hard when you don’t speak the language of meat. I can attest to this- having been a vegetarian for the past three years now.
Given that I’m already left-handed, you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now, and not chosen to willingly submit myself to yet another subgroup of society who constantly get the shaft… but alas: I am a glutton for punishment… or I just flat-out hate myself. That’s also a possibility.
Anyway, living in a world built for meat eaters poses a number of difficulties- like finding an acceptable meal choice at a restaurant (specifically, one that’s not a roasted eggplant, stuffed with eggplant, garnished with aubergine shavings finished with a nice eggplant glaze), or awkwardly having to defend my lifestyle/moral convictions to complete strangers, or being that guest who screws up the dinner party menu for everyone. Ruiner.
The thing that I struggle with most about being vegetarian, though, is not any of these things- it’s the prevailing, and completely unsubstantiated view, that vegetarians are stupid.
What makes me say this you ask? Simple really: it’s the endless parade of vegetarian and vegan food options attempting to fool us by masquerading themselves as something else entirely. “Chik’n” fingers; Veggie burgers… Tofurkey… creatively titled as they may be- I’m here to tell you that the jig is up. I’ve tasted countless of these products- and have yet to be convinced. No portobello mushroom- no matter how succulent- will ever be a hamburger. Dehydrated Eggplant will never be bacon. Nutritional Yeast is some kind of freaky powder- it’s not cheese. So please, for the love of God- STOP CALLING IT THAT. (Oh, and Amy – I’ve tasted your “pot pies”….. and I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but it sure as hell ain’t chicken).
I’m not really sure why companies and restaurants continue to do this. Why slap a fun-sounding title on it, instead of just calling it what it really is? A sh*tload of beans and tofu. Plus I find this whole designing veg foods to look like meat thing all a little Freudian, really- the unfounded assumption that all vegetarians have a chronic case of meat-envy. (Unless you’re talking about bacon. In which case- that’s absolutely accurate).
Just the other night actually I encountered a particularly bad case of food trickery. I was working late, and forced to order dinner from our online take-out system at work. Given that my obscure vegetarianism already severely limits my selection on this, I’ve long since given up hope of finding anything “good” , and instead generally just go for “edible”. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the choices that night was a local all-vegetarian restaurant. Like a kid in a candy shop, I excitedly perused the menu, ultimately settling on the “Pizza”- which also happened to be raw, and vegan. Bonus karma points.
I knew that this pizza was a tad unconventional, given the description that accompanied it:
thin walnut crust, herb pesto, arugula, artichokes, mushrooms, cashew chevre
I decided to take my chances anyway- and was prepared for the challenge (“cashew chevre?” is that even english?)… but what I was not prepared for, was this:
Ummmmm… hate to state the obvious but……..
THAT’S NOT PIZZA!!!!!!!!
I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night, people. Painfully familiar with loose definitions and the art of spin that my profession has made me- I’m certain that by no stretch of the imagination could the above photo be considered “pizza”. I would guess that it was more likely a few forgotten passed apps the delivery man stole from a vegan convention on his way to my office.
In the interest of full disclosure- it didn’t actually taste that bad… and I might even have ordered it again- were I not inclined to stand on principle. This vegetarian, at least, has been fooled for the last time.
To those out there determined to continue to try and pull the wool over our eyes- let this be a lesson to you all: Animal loving, bleeding-hearted, and chronically low in iron as we may be- we vegetarians are not naive. And if ever again you attempt to present me with a soy-based product dressed in carnivore’s clothing, then I will promptly tell you, on behalf of fed-up vegetarians everywhere, that you can take your “Not-Dog“, and shove it.
Question of the Day: Are you vegetarian? Have you tried vegetarian substitutes?