fish, chicken… BACON!!?
I am a vegetarian and although I strive to cut out more and more animal products and eat vegan at home it never has completely worked. If someone wants to argue the finer points of rennet in the cheese products I eat and the fact that I step on bugs and worms when I go running, I will concede to them. I am, however, a vegetarian; I do not knowingly eat animals. I will even waste food and throw it away, or set it out for other animals to eat, if someone tells me there is animal parts in it.
There are certain places and people I do not expect to understand vegetarianism. I am patient with many restaurants even though in this time in main stream USA vegetarianism should be understood by the food service industry. When making new acquaintances I have no problem in describing just what I will and won’t eat because the many people’s dietary choices are for different reasons. Health, religion and personal ethics can all muddy what is considered meat. The pork industry still describes itself as “the other white meat®” to try to blur the lines between what is real meat and what is not.
Take the observance of Lent as an example. One Lenten requirement is that all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. Abstinence, in this context, forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat. This chosen “abstinence” does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use lard and even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning. These Lenten ideas on abstaining from eating meat are about as clear as the warm bacon dressing it is served up with.
A place I would expect to have a clear understanding of vegetarianism would be in a health food store. Our local store, Nature’s Pantry, had a day where vendors came in to share samples and information about their products. They were very aggressive when it came to encouraging customers to try their products and even more so in bombarding us with their information. We avoided most of their tables after sampling a terrible cup of chicory coffee that was just as overpowering and obnoxious as the vendor was. We stood in line to pay for our regular purchases and had to walk by one last snake oil salesman. Actually she was pushing products with fish oil in them and was touting them as vegetarian. She demanded our attention as we stood in line and I cringed from her product and said, “No thank you, I am a vegetarian.” This opened up the flood gates of her argument that there are all kinds of vegetarians and even some that ate fish. I now know they are actually called pescetarians, thanks to my post-argument research, but at the time all I could do was look nauseated and tell her that I don’t eat ANY animals. She must have earlier over-dosed on her neighbor’s chicory coffee because she would not shut up nor take any visual clues that we did not want to be involved in her argument on what vegetarians actually ate and what each of them are called. Jim pretty much ended the conversation by saying, “Yes, and I am sure there are vegetarians who eat cows and call themselves ‘Bovine-vegetarians’ but we do not.”
Bless the vegan blogger Quarrygirl for recently calling out a popular vegan magazine, VegNews, for being so ridiculous as to using Photoshop on iStock photographs of meat entreés and trying to pass them of as vegan meals! Check out her original post, RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues, and the New York Times coverage of this backlash, Vegan Promoter Uses Photos of Meat and Dairy Items, and Fury Follows.
My personal rant started to come to a head over the past day when, for the second time, I was served chicken at My Thai. The first time was in December for my pre-race pad thai when I ordered tofu as my protein choice. The older woman waitress had the audacity to argue with me that I had ordered chicken. It has taken me over 4 months to relent to Jim’s, “How about My Thai for supper?” suggestion/requests for me to set foot into the restaurant again. We had purchased takeout for guests a couple of times but yesterday was my first sit down visit, the first time I didn’t wait in the car.
The same matron waited upon us and we clearly stated our curry and veg/tofu choices. Jim ordered Red Curry with tofu and I ordered Masaman Curry with vegetables. We listened carefully as she repeated our orders back to us but upon it’s arrival mine looked distinctly like chicken and I questioned it even before she had removed her hand from setting the steaming bowl in front of me. She looked carefully at it and although I bristled and was ready to have it out with her she apologized that it was an order for another table and whisked it away before the folks who had ordered it noticed me looking at it in disgust. She apologized again when bringing our correct bowls but I just couldn’t bring myself to being sympathetic toward her.
In typical true indigo fashion, to try to bring something positive out of all of this frustration, I decided to take some photos of an artichoke dish I am making for lunch. It’s not iStock photography so the surroundings have that look that shows I love and use my kitchen a lot.
Although I didn’t photograph the use of it, I am really pleased with how well my melon baller works for taking the choke out before steaming the artichoke for about 25 minutes. I rinsed it in cold water to stop the cooking process and drained it well before topping it with a nice drizzle of sauted garlic and lime juice then topped it with feta cheese. I popped it under the broiler for a quick melt and served it up with some left over risotto.
Other than the melon baller, I am pleased to feature some of my other little gadgets used today. The super fast garlic mincer (with wheels and blades!!) and the metal bar of soap for washing onion and garlic scent off my hands. Both were given to us by the ever-savvy, lusciously-geeky, gadget-oriented Lukens-Chens. Although not a gadget, I love the usage of foil on my baking trays for broiling. It might seem a wasteful use of foil but clean up is less of a headache and I cram the used foil into a cat food can when I take out the recycling.
Mine is not professional quality nor vegan photography but definitely shines with my love of creating vegetarian meals. For some awesomely scrumptious vegan food photos, visit the vegan selections at Food Gawker.