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This made me smile

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This made me smile

Postby Joanbunting » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:05 pm

I have just read this with amusement and more than a bit of understanding. I am not vegetarian but I will defend the right so to be every time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21122072.

I particularly like number 18!

I have already mentioned eating at Bohemia a Michelin starred restaurant in jersey where there was not a single vegetarian option avaiable. When I pointed it out and later wrote to them i was given the blank stare and no response.

Glad to say that the chef (Shaun Rankin) has left and is setting up his own place so I have contacted him to ask for his new menu to think on!

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Mrs Vee » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:18 pm

It didn’t make me smile, I’m afraid. :thumbsdown

I have never had any trouble when eating out abroad; restaurants and chefs have invariably been helpful even when there has been no veggie option on the menu, but in the UK…….

I’ve been served or offered ham, chicken, bacon and almost every type of fish (At various times I have been heard to utter “Could you tell me what kind of vegetable a tuna is, exactly?” and “No…vegetarians do not eat chicken” and “No…prawns are not vegetarian, they’re fish”) I’ve also been given blank looks when pointing out that there is nothing on the menu that is suitable for a vegetarian and consequently I have eaten more bread and salad in UK restaurants than I care to remember.

Even when the menu appears at first glance to offer a halfway decent vegetarian option, it will generally contain ingredients which are not veggie, eg. Parmesan, oyster sauce, wine or even potatoes cooked in goose fat. The further up the food chain the restaurant is, the harder it gets; there’s a 2* Michelin restaurant nearby which has nothing vegetarian on its menu so I shall eat elsewhere on my birthday (probably at home!). Their loss.

When I first went veggie it wasn’t always easy to eat out but I felt sure things would improve; 17 years later I am still waiting for that improvement…

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Re: This made me smile

Postby jeral » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:51 pm

It made me smile, albeit somewhat ironically, Joanbunting, as I suspect there isn't a veggie in the UK who hasn't heard each of the 20 quotes at one time or another (and a few others as well).

No.20 made me giggle most. After all, such a restaurant would no doubt survive with or without my custom so it would have to be Handbags At Dawn! :mrgreen:

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:13 pm

It was funny maybe years ago when it was relatively unusual to encounter a vegetarian in mainstream catering in the UK

But it is now just a pain in the neck

We have so many people at work who are either vegetarian or functionally vegetarian (because they eat halal or kosher at home) and it is NOT a joke that caterers, paid a lot of money by our company, don't think it is part of their professional reponsibility to know what to serve when asked for the vegetarian option

It is not rocket science - I remember a 10 year old girl who told me what menu she wanted for her birthday party, based on the religious and vegetarian/vegan tendencies of her classmates, which to her were just a normal part of daily life (though her family wer all omnivores). Her aunt and I cooked exactly waht was requested - we wouldn't have argued (we may have added some extra cake)

I exempt our own canteen chef and triathlete, who is a bit of a star in this respect, and often seen consulting with his known vegetarian customers about menus and eating his own veggie option

But I have been served a buffet of 100% ham sandwiches in an institution famous for its high number of Jewish members, and with a lot of Muslims and Hindus too, not to mention several other vegetarians in the group

I have been sent a plate of prawn mayonnaise sandwiches as the vegetarian option I ordered (for someone who disliked seafood even before he was veggie)

It just shouldn't be this difficult.

I think it is sheer idleness

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Re: This made me smile

Postby jeral » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:50 pm

Truth is, Stokey Sue, that it is this difficult - still - and articles which highlight it have my blessing even though humour is used to get the message across.

As to "your" company's catering people, why are they not better instructed about veggie or religious requirements? Granted they'll undoubtedly be paid to a budget but it doesn't excuse "management" from not having given food option instructions. In a closed environment (same eaters every day), surely mgt could poll to get decent numbers for planning?

I think one of the stingiest options for my good self was when a mozzarella and tomato salad (just those two items) was the only so-called V option. I asked if I could sub the mozzie for a bit of the displayed lettuce to avoid the cheese animal rennet and was told no, so just tomatoes (same price of course) - it's not often I'm gobsmacked :lol:

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:14 pm

jeral wrote:As to "your" company's catering people, why are they not better instructed about veggie or religious requirements? Granted they'll undoubtedly be paid to a budget but it doesn't excuse "management" from not having given food option instructions. In a closed environment (same eaters every day), surely mgt could poll to get decent numbers for planning?




The day to day catering, as I said is fine, chef is on top of it, he likes cooking veggie food (though omnivorous) and is fascinated by what people eat

The problem is with additional catering for events, and the point is - they should not need to be "better instructed", they are supposed to bew professional caterers. Whatever the budget, if I complete the form correctly to request, for example, 12 generic and 3 vegetarian meals, that's waht I should get on the day, they shouldn't need any more information than that

If they do need it , why do they put a box to check for a vegetarian option on the form? They seem to be trading under false pretences if they can't supply a vegetarain option without further instruction

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Re: This made me smile

Postby karadekoolaid » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:37 am

I've experienced all those replies,I think...
Thank goodness I learned to eat fish over here, otherwise I'd have died (of boredom) a long while ago on a diet of fried plantains and black beans.
However,I have often got my own back on people who've invited us to dinner and not served anything veggie except lettuce leaves.
I made an Indian -inspired veggie BBQ, with absolutely no meat anywhere in sight. ! Fun, a good challenge and very well received.

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Mrs Vee » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:59 pm

karadekoolaid wrote:However,I have often got my own back on people who've invited us to dinner and not served anything veggie except lettuce leaves.
I made an Indian -inspired veggie BBQ, with absolutely no meat anywhere in sight. ! Fun, a good challenge and very well received.


If people eat at my house they eat veggie. It’s not bloody-mindedness on my part and I am not trying to push my dietary choice on to others, but I don’t feel confident about cooking meat and fish any more and I don’t like serving food to people where I haven’t been able to check taste and flavourings first.

I’m very lucky that friends and family have always been very accepting of my being veggie and have gone out of their way to accommodate my choice. Corporate dinners and large social gatherings are a different matter, though, and have always been very hit and miss. Mostly miss. :roll:

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Re: This made me smile

Postby hungryhousewife » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:53 pm

I did find this funny Joan - but am also staggared that people in the food industry are so 'uninterested' in a sector of their market. How dim of them!!

I often cook for vegetarians and I enjoy spoiling them. What I do find difficult is to be inspired when someone asks for a 'vegetarian version' of what the meat eaters are having. When I think of vegetarian food, I don't think 'what can I substitute for meat?' I think 'what would be delicious that a vegetarian will enjoy today?' Or - 'what can I cook that everyone will enjoy?'

Mrs Vee, the other day you warned me of using wine in a vegetarian dish. I never found out what it was that makes wine 'non-veggie' - would you mind explaining (I am obviously ignorant on this point!!) All the vegetarians I know drink like fish! :wino :wino

HH

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Mrs Vee » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:24 am

Hi HH - some wines use albumen, gelatine or isinglass (obtained from the swim bladders of fish) as fining agents. Not all veggies would mind; it usually depends on why they became veggie in the first place.

I don't drink alcohol these days, although I do cook with it, but in the past I've found that asking for veggie wine in a restaurant is a bit like asking for the Holy Grail!

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Re: This made me smile

Postby hungryhousewife » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:56 pm

Thank you for that Mrs Vee - I had no idea!

When I was in Waitrose this morning, buying a bottle of Campari for a sorbet I am making, I looked to see what the ingredients were. I had no idea that alcoholic beverages had no list of ingredients! Also, of course, there is no notice to say that it is or is not suitable for vegetarians.

I asked the girl in the wine dept what made a vegetarian wine, and she said that it was something in the process but she wasn't sure. She was also surprised that there was no list of ingredients.

Where do you buy vegetarian wine when you need some?

HH

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Stokey Sue » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:29 pm

An increasing number of wines are labelled with the V symbol, and I have seen serious wine lists in posh restaurants that mark wines with that symbol if relevant (there's also a religious thing, it may be pork geletin used in non-V wines)

The labelling of alcoholic drinks is an odd one - you don't have to label wine with ingredients, because there is only one thing in the bottle, and that is wine, which has a legal definition

You do have to declare the content of alcohol and sulphite, as those can have an effect on people (sulphites have a very nasty effect on some) - but they aren't ingredients, they are a natural part of the wine

You do have to declare ingredients that aren't an intrinsic part of the drink, so those cheap pear ciders have to declare if they contain (as some do) flavouring or sweeteners - but most cider does just contain cider, so again that's all it has to say and declare alcohol content

Campari is an odd one - it was originally not vegetarian, as it contained carmine colouring (from cochineal insects) but my understanding is that Campari are phasing this out, as carmine is now very expensive, as well as people not liking the idea, and Campari is moving towards being veggie - but I don't know if they label the bottles accordingly

Here’s a good article
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/18/vegetarian-wine-david-williams

There are some odd decisions made though - that Crabbie’s Alcoholic ginger beer is not vegetarian, which as it is a newish product and likely to appeal to many vegetarians seem a commercially odd decision – I am sure they could have made it V of they had thought about it early enough in product development, just sleeping on the job I guess

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Re: This made me smile

Postby efcliz » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:17 pm

I only drink vegan wine at home. I buy the vast bulk of my wine online from Vintage Roots, with some orders from Tanners now that they have started labelling on their website. But if you don't want to buy in bulk and are looking for something quick to grab off the shelf if you've got a veggie coming to visit, Sainsbury's and Co-op do a very good job of labelling their own brands, as increasingly do M+S.

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Re: This made me smile

Postby hungryhousewife » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:45 pm

Well well well!! It's amazing what I learn on this board! Thank you Mrs Vee, efcliz and Sue! I am now a bit wiser!!

My Campari and Blood Orange sorbet is coming along very nicely!! :wave

HH

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Re: This made me smile

Postby Mrs Vee » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:38 pm

I buy wine at M&S - they're pretty good at 'V' labelling. Waitrose, although excellent for labelling everything else, is surprisingly no good at all for veggie wine.

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Re: This made me smile

Postby jeral » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:02 pm

Hi hungryhousewife. A wine I particularly like is a brand name and has its own website - I think I Googled to find it. I asked via the "contact us" page and received the reply I'd hoped for, being that it was veggie. I gather that fewer wines these days use no-go products simply because it's cheaper to use alternatives.

As you say, the trick is knowing. As a veggie guest, I'd be delighted to be asked which wine I'd recommend a host bought for me, then I'd of course volunteer to bring a bottle as obviously I wouldn't expect them to scour endless shops!

There is a list of vegan wines here (NB vegan is automatically vegetarian also): http://vegans.frommars.org/wine/ which includes supermarket offerings. It is taken from following Item 6 on this site: http://vegans.frommars.org/wine/faq.php#6.1 There are seemingly 428 items on the list, so why not email your regular supermarket to find out what vegan wines they have in stock first (or can order in advance), especially if catering for an event where several cases might be required.

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Re: This made me smile

Postby hungryhousewife » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:07 pm

Very interesting indeed! Thank you all!

HH

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