I've been a vegetarian for a long time now, originally as a point of
principle but more recently I find I just can't bear the thought of eating dead
Having said that (and I am constantly teased about this!) I don't actually
eat many vegetables or any fruit - I'm a rather lazy vegetarian, in fact,
eschewing many of the correct dietary principles in favour of eating food I
like and supplementing my intake with vitamin pills. But then I wear leather as
well, so I would hardly claim that my position is consistent.
I just don't like meat.
Which brings me to one of my pet hates - meat-free food which pretends to be
meat. I appreciate that there are those who have given up meat for nutritional
or principled reasons who still miss the taste of roasted cow, say, or the tang
of charred pig. What winds me up is that the tastes of these reluctant
vegetarians appear to be casting an ever greater shadow over the products on
offer in the veggie section of the freezer cabinet - beef-flavoured veggie
burgers, Southern-style chicken-flavoured Quorn, and (that most appalling
excrescence) the bacon-flavoured rasher.
A particularly enthusiastic proponent of this type of vegetarian food is the
company using Linda McCartney's name for their ready meals. The products they
manufacture account for a good third of the frozen veggie foods stocked by our
local supermarket. In all fairness this corporate entity have recently been
purveying less faux meaty fare, but the principle stands. I find it
somewhat ironic that this change has occurred since Mrs McCartney died.
At least, however, Linda McCartney really was a vegetarian... another
particular hatred of mine is that group of people who call themselves
vegetarians, but are actually about as vegetarian as I am vegan:
"Oh yes, I'm a vegetarian but I eat fish."
"I'm a vegetarian, although I do eat chicken."
What?! How can you possibly call yourself a vegetarian when
you eat meat?
As bad as this is, the infuriating thing is that this 'definition' of
vegetarianism is creeping into catering - I've seen several cookery programs
where the chef is nominally preparing a vegetarian dish and adds an anchovy, or
whips up some sea food delicacy as being acceptable sustenance for someone who
doesn't eat meat.
Still... I am sure that my own particular brand of vegetarianism, where
dairy is acceptable and I make no particular effort to buy vegetarian cheese or
wines, offends many others (such as vegans or even fruitarians) who have more
morally consistent dietary habits. But I do still object to the term
'vegetarian' being appropriated by those who do, in fact, eat meat.
All this would be a great deal less offensive it was actually hard
to produce interesting meat-free food...