Thursday, 19 July 2012
Ive been a vegetarian for around 7 years now. Despite some reluctance on the part of my mother, claiming it was unhealthy, difficult to cater for, a fad, etc, everyone in my family adapted pretty quickly. My mum started buying quorn and beans and stopped cooking the potatoes in goose fat. When I went to uni it was even easier; I was fully in control of my own diet, I didn't have to make any compromises. I could choose. Even going out for dinner in England is fine, there are lots of options and where there arent, its easy enough to just ask them to whip something up. The problems start when you go abroad. Europe just doesnt have a vegetarian culture the way that the UK does, theyre a continent of carnivores and theyre proud of it! The menus showcase local hams, fresh fish, speciality meats, the list is endless! Spain I find the hardest. At least in France and Italy there's pizza, in Greece, salad, but Spain? Last night we went to a nice restaurant, browsed the menu and I picked out 3 veggie tapas dishes. Nothing is that simple with my family. They start ed asking questions to the waiter who brought out the chef. 'Sin carne' 'Vegetarien' The words were spoken over and over amongst a confusion of spanish and broken english. 'I'll sort it' the chef eventually declared and stalked off with our menus. NEVER AGAIN will I put that much faith in a chef without more clear communication! Course after course of ham, octopus, shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, all beautifully served on slates, folded atop.crostini, delicately wrapped in crisp pasty or artistically arranged on skewers. And for me? Fried green chili and mange tout with salt.and a plate of cold, roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, aubergines and olives, swimming in herby oil. A small amount with other foods would have been nice but as the chef came to ask if I was pleased, I wondered if he realised it was just veg, not even balan with carbs or protein. Ah well, next time I'll make sure to order for myself. The chocolate truffles for desert certainly helped. Amazing!