Do I miss meat?

I thought I’d answer some of the commonest questions and statements I get when I tell someone I’m vegetarian and have been over 20 years. I don’t eat meat, meat derivatives, nor do I appreciate cross-contamination of my food with meat and meat “juices”.

Gelatine is a big no no, as is Carmine (E120), and I also don’t drink wines or real ales clarified with Isinglass. I eat eggs, but I’m not a big consumer of milk – my favourite is almond milk because it just tastes so creamy.

Do you miss meat?

No. I never actually liked it when I did eat it. I didn’t like the taste or texture. I suppose you could say I’m a natural herbivore. When I was at family sunday dinners I used to get meat placed on my plate, and I often left it. The last meat I ate was when I was about 23 or 24. The entire time I’ve been in gigging bands I’ve never eaten it.

You must eat fish and chicken though?

No. They’re meat. Vegetarians who eat fish or chicken aren’t vegetarians, they’re carnivores. Anyone who doesn’t think fish or chicken is meat is sorely mislead, and perhaps needs to go back to school and do primary school level biology.

Isn’t it difficult to find good food?

No not really. Plenty of restaurants cater very well for us. Some don’t, but I just avoid those. I’ve often seen cop-out restaurants where they “can’t guarantee against cross contamination”. Personally, I think that’s worse still! If they can’t avoid cross contamination between vegetarian food and non-vegetarian food, then what’s their record regarding cooked and raw meat?

Don’t you crave a bacon sandwich when you smell it cooking?

No. Not at all. I really don’t like meat. I never liked meat. I think these wild pigs would agree with me.

But you have Quorn. That’s pretend meat (often said with a smug look on their face).

You have chips. Those are pretend vegetables. I bet you even think they’re one of your five a day.

The vegetarian option is a nut cutlet.

How about show some imagination? Look. Even Quinoa can look nice, and I used to eat it before Waitrose decided to make it all posh.

You wear leather.

I’m not a preachy vegetarian who thinks everyone should be vegetarian. I understand that humans, like some of the other greater apes, are omnivores. We have biological indicators that we were evolved to eat meat. My wife eats meat and I don’t condemn her for it. I’ll happily wear leather, but then I’ll also wear latex (and that’s from a tree!).

It can’t be healthy being vegetarian.

I’m 6ft 2, built like a brick shithouse, and I can lift a huge reel of steel wire armoured cable. Yes, of course it’s not healthy… I eat lots of cereals, I don’t take any vitamin supplements. I don’t need them. I have a good iron level (blood donors proves this).

Dear caterers…

Stop doing this. Now.

Mixing various sandwiches on a platter so you get the visually appealing mix of colour is an absolute delight to see, but every vegetarian, every Jew or Muslim, and every allergy sufferer just steadily shakes their head and dives into their bag for the emergency muesli bar.

I’m vegetarian. I don’t eat meat. I don’t really want my sandwiches to be bathed in meat sweat and juices. I don’t want cross contamination.

I have Muslim and Jewish friends. Pork to them is unclean. Random meat of indeterminate origin is not their bag. They usually take the vegetarian route where the meat is unclear, but when it’s all touched each other it’s not really fair.

My wife, well she can’t eat sweetcorn. A hint of it sets off a bad reaction. She doesn’t want to go anywhere near the tuna and sweetcorn. That would be very bad.

You can’t even smell for it on one of these platters because with these platters you just end up with a mixed smell, often drowned out by the tuna.

Even the supermarkets do it, although they do now seem to offer a vegetarian version (some do, at least).

What’s wrong with a plate of each type of sandwich? Seriously? It’s not that difficult to do… You could even do us a favour and write on the edge of the plate in Sharpie what the sandwiches are. Takes the guesswork out of the meats.

As for the samoas and “random filling rolls”, well they’re just a minefield! It could be meaty… It could be people meat… You just don’t know.

At least quiche is a little easier to guess!

Until something changes, the tracker bars will remain on standby.

Those aren’t eggs!

Frankie and Bennys breakfast this morning.

I think someone needs to explain to their chef that this is NOT an acceptable way to serve eggs. Rock hard, rubbery, solid yolks.

What amazed me was that they then though it was OK to send these on to a customer this way!

At least they had the good grace to refund me a couple of pounds, but really, I’m still quite disappointed that the system failed. I might add the hash browns weren’t exactly award winners either… I think The Meadows will get my next Gig Day breakfast.

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