Saturday, 18 October 2008

Well Done Nut Roast - A Vegans Story......

Vegamatarians are an odd bunch, eh? Odder still are vegans, I mean what is their major malfunction? Veggies and vegans are just about the most difficult guests to serve. They are never happy with their choices and will complain before anyone else, if they have the energy to raise their meek little arms and voices that is. I mean only Guinness drinkers and people with nut allergies are more annoying to serve. (That's right I'm trying to alienate the whole of my readership.)

I cringe when I know I am getting a vegan in my section. And you pretty much always know in advance as they like to give you warning.

"Yes so that's a table for four on Saturday and I'm a vegan. So what are your vegan options?", they ask in a way which is part challenge part threat.

"Eh eh eh um er eh....", that's right I'm intimidated by vegans, "...we have eh stuffed peppers?"

There then follows a five minute diatribe about the rights of vegans in the modern society and about how Belfast is soooooo last century. So it would be fair to say I never relish serving vegans and their less enthusiastic cousin the vegetarian. They are right royal pains in the ass. But am I wrong? Are vegans right? Are they badly catered for? Do we owe them better? To answer these questions we need to understand the vegan. We need to know what makes them think, apart from soy beans and tofu obviously.

With that in mind I am passing, limited, control of Well Done Fillet over to the Voluptuous Vegan over the next few Saturdays to share with us her journey from mild mannered veggie to hardcore veganism. Can a vegan be voluptuous? Who knows? But lets find out...

the voluptuous vegan....

"I had been happily vegetarian for a number of years before turning vegan a few weeks ago. If I’m honest, what sparked this transition was jealousy! I’d spoken to a friend of mine who’s been a veggie for years, after her girlfriend converted her (to vegetarianism that is!) and she told me of their past five months of successful veganism. I was surprised, impressed and then jealous, all in that order! I found myself protesting, not for the first time either, that it would be virtually impossible to be vegan in Belfast.

Then I had a think about it. Would it be? What did I base this hypothesis on? As a researcher, I am used to critiquing people who make claims that are little more than opinionated assumptions. I didn’t know any vegans in Belfast so I too was basing my claims on nothing. Thus, the challenge was born! I was to be vegan… for as long as possible! (Optimism was with me from day one, clearly!)

The first week went surprisingly well. I rediscovered the joys of baking bread (before I discovered that most bread is actually vegan, but by then I’d caught the baking bug!) and cooking in general. I have always liked cooking and baking, but had recently stopped given that I was living on my own for a few months. Somehow an evening baking muffins, cakes and cookies seems a waste of time and effort for one…

The first ‘challenge’ of my new vegan world was a wine and cheese evening. Given that it is hard to tell which wines are vegan and which aren’t, I’d taken an executive decision that all wine that passes my lips shall be vegan for the purposes of having some fun left in my life! So I happily indulged in all of the wines and none of the cheese or breads. Later on I had my first chip with no butty, which hurt a bit, but I survived. However, there were a few surprises in store…

Having booked into a conference, duly noting my ‘special dietary requirements’ on the form, I arrived to find that there was no record of either me or my form. Damn. With no ambitions for lunch whatsoever, imagine my surprise when, despite no records, I feasted on a sumptuous delight of foods there anyways! Cous-cous, bean salads, leafy salads, veggies, fresh, exotic fruits etc…. yay!

All in all, the past few weeks have been about even in relation to disappointments and surprises. In some eateries it’s been a ‘chips and salad’ jobbie whilst in others I have been well looked after with a vast array of choices. Whilst Belfast has a long way to go in terms of vegan friendliness, there are some good points. There is a Subway on every corner (by the looks of things!) and a new place in Castle Court shopping centre that does a mean pretzel and they’re vegan! There are a good few health shops too, selling all manner of vegan friendly foods and unfriendly – vegan cheese? Bleurgh!!! *Shudders at memory*. All in all, it’s an excuse for me to eat, so I’m happy enough!

So that’s a bit about my ongoing journey. Feel free to come along for the ride…."

The Voluptuous Vegan xxx

Next week the Voluptuous Vegan goes out for dinner with hilarious consequences!

"No! Chicken is not a vegetable!"

Stay tuned....

18 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

A.B. said...

I'm mainly vegetarian, and I say this because Hard Core Vegetarians sneer at me when I say I'm Vegetarian, but I eat fish. And eggs. Anyhooooo, if I'm going out to eat I pick a V-Friendly restaurant, eazy to do in my Tree-Hugging Part of the Country. Still, there has been the occaisional dinner party when all conversation stops and everyone turns to look at "HER" (me!) when I try to quietly defer meat/etc. I don't say "I'M A VEGETARIAN HOW DARE YOU SERVE ME MEAT!!!", I try to not have it served. Nowadays, I take the meat, and my Mister quietly takes it off my plate.

Can I add... my dogs ARE not vegetarians. I happily serve them pig ears and meat.

Can you tell I likey The Voluptuous Vegan ?

MJ said...

What do you mean by "Guinness drinkers...are more annoying to serve"?

*looks disgruntled and peers down to see if Manuel is wearing Birkenstocks yet*

Quickroute said...

you changed your header for this post - respext!

Old Knudsen said...

Cous-cous, bean salads, leafy salads, veggies, fresh, exotic fruits etc

If the Nazis had used that instead of pulling off me fingernails I would have talked within half an hour.

Vegans and Veggies will be my food at the end of the world.

Gwynneth said...

Good luck Voluptuous Vegan - and in answer to Manuel - yes - she is indeed a voluptuous vegan!

Trekkie said...

No-one bats an eyelid when someone declares an aversion to any particular foodstuffs on the grounds of religeon, but if you happen to make vegetarianism a lifestyle choice then all hell breaks loose. I can only assume that it's worse for vegans. It's an idea that I toy with occassionally.
I'm looking forward to her next blog entry.

savannah said...

hilarious post, sugar! you have a great sense of humor, voluptuous vegan and crisp writing. i'm looking forward to your entries. xoxo

daisy mae said...

nice entry - i'm sure it will be well-balanced by manuel's love for flesh.... ahem, lamb/steak/pork.

i must say though, in regards to dining out - i've worked at more than one restaurant that has been happy to cater to different diets and allergies - as long as someone calls ahead! i understand that this isn't always possible, because it involves planning and a willing restaurant, but oh how much nicer the meal goes when we have eggplant or tofu or rice pasta on hand!

so my advice to vegans/vegetarians, if you have a day or two's notice, try calling the restaurant (at non-rush hour, usually before 11 or between 2 and 4) and see if something can be done.

Lone Waitress said...

I have been a vegetarian for 17 years. It is fairly difficult to go out to eat because meatless menu items are usually replaced by items containing meat relatively quickly. While I understand that majority of people do eat meat, is it really that bad to have at least two items on the menu that are vegetarian friendly? And seafood does not qualify as that, especially to those of us with seafood allergies! I don't expect special treatment when I go out, but there should be options other than salad. It's no wonder some say that's all vegetarians eat...sometimes it's the only option!

Medbh said...

I don't want to live in a world without cheese.
Or butter.

Anonymous said...

vegans can eat my nuts

Mudflapgypsy said...

When society breaks down I think I shall make a pie out of Old Knudsen, before he gets me, that is.
Not eating meat, it being a choice I made, much like not wearing velour, I understand that most establishments only have an "option" for me because they feel they have to.

I think it shows a distinct lack of culinary imagination. Eating meat all the time is a relatively modern thing. Look at the "meditteranean diet", meat twice a week or so and vegetables, grains and pulses the rest of the time. Healthy.

I have relatives who live in south africa who have gout because they eat fuck all but red meat.

Can you tell it's late and I have been drinking?

I can. Bye.

Voluptuous Vegan said...

Hello all!!

Thanks for the great comments everyone, I feel all warmly welcomed already!!

a.b.: Totally get you with the 'pariah' thing, ever found yourself actually apologising for it too? Crazy, eh?!!

mj: I'm just glad he lay off the veggies for 5 seconds!!

Quickroute: Innit ace?!!!!

Old Knudsen: I am sooooo living of garlic for a month prior to that happening then... ;o)

Gwynneth: Awwww, shucks! xxx

Trekkie: To quote SATC, 'abso-f*cking-lutely'!!

Savannah: Ta honey!! xxx

Daisy Mae: Manuel gave me the same advice, which I duly followed, and still ended up with stir fry!! (That story to be told in full next week!!) But I have faith that it will work in other places!

Lone Waitress: You are so right; even the term 'vegetarian options' section is a misnomer as they are usually telling you what you can eat rather than giving you 'options'!!

Medbh: You and my friend Claire would get along sooooo well!! ;o)

anonymous: Sure! I like my nuts toasted though, so I'll just pop the oven on whilst you're getting them out....

Mudflapgypsy: Sometimes drink is all we have... ;o)

V.V. xxx

sheepworrier said...

Good wee post there VV. Lookin forward to more vegeatamable related tomfoolery.

Can I ask what turned you to the green side in the 1st place? I toyed with the idea of vegetarianism for a few days after visiting a meat processing plant, but the saturday morning fry-up was just too tempting.

Sarah Gostrangely said...

Good post VV, and lovin' the Well Done Fillet, you write like a Mignon.

I am a veggie, not vegan, only because I'm too bloody lazy to cart soya milk around with me.

In Singapore, however, it is quite easy to be vegan. They even specify whether a dish is made with onions or garlic as they, according to vegan standards here, are not strictly V...something to do with the fertilisers used in growing onions/garlic.

I cannot adhere to this rather hardcore strategy though. I'm with the VV on matters of blind-wine too: There's a 50/50 chance that wine is vegi, so I'd rather get blind drunk with ignorance on most occasions. Specially if it's free.

Toni said...

Butterfingers wrote a song about it

Foodaholic said...

I am having a halloween party next fri and have 2 veggies coming. I want to make something with a bit of vow factor and dont want to leave them out by serving something completley different, but i also want the meat eaters to be happy. ANY SUGGESTIONS!!

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