Good Food Blog
Out of the wildernessPosted at 4:20PM, 06 April 2010 by Claire Webb - Writer
Forget hot cross buns, simnel cake and out-sized eggs. This Easter, I only had eyes for the main course: local Welsh lamb, slow-roasted with coriander and garlic, served with a stack of roasties, parsnips, braised leeks, caramelised red onions, broccoli, carrots, swede and mint sauce. I would have been content with a cocktail sausage.
Yes, this year I gave up meat for Lent. My boyfriend slyly suggested it, knowing my inability to refuse a challenge, as we wolfed down pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Little did I realise that abstinence would turn me from an easy-to-please diner - as happy with tofu as bloody steak - into a raging carnivore.
Two days later, at a posh do in Mayfair, I had my first sour taste of vegetarianism. Long minutes after the other guests tucked into their juniper berry-infused crispy duck confit, the veggie option arrived - a lump of yellow mush in a puddle of tomato sauce. My 'Mediterranean vegetable tower with chargrilled polenta and sauce vierge' looked more like a demolition site.
Restaurants are enemy territory for the reluctant veggie
Restaurants are enemy territory for the reluctant veggie. I'd always thought of menus as an appetiser - something for the imagination to feast upon before the starter arrives. Unfussy and allergy-free, I could order anything. However much friends groan at my indecisiveness, I deliberate over every dish.
Suddenly I was confined to pesky little 'v's, and soon discovered that veggie fare makes up what it lacks in spirit and originality with melted cheese. I like gooey cheddar as much as the next person, but it's hardly haute cuisine. Plus, shouldn't there be a price-ceiling for veggie dishes? I was charged £18 for a bowl of bog-standard ratatouille (and I paid - lack of iron must have addled my brain.)
Cooking veggie was easy. If my flatmates ever tired of the menu - spinach curry, sweet potato curry, spinach and sweet potato curry - they were too polite to say. My Dad was less understanding. "Beef stew is veggie. That cow's only ever eaten grass." On Saturday, he declined seconds of butternut squash risotto (he's usually a third, fourth and fifth-helping chap) - "Are you back on proper food, tomorrow?". Yes Dad, I am.
Have you ever tried to give up meat? Or are you a veggie who's sick of being treated like a second-class diner?
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