Author Topic: vegans  (Read 119 times)

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Online jynnan tonnix

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vegans
« on: May 28, 2014, 11:12:25 AM »
This is just a bit of a vent/rant...I don't know whether anyone here is vegan, and I don't really want to ruffle any feathers, but it's one of the very few things (fundies being another) which really pushes my buttons.

I have a very dear cousin coming to visit next week. My cousins all live in England, my parents having been the only ones in the family to emigrate to the US, so I rarely see them, and she & her brother (who is also coming, and is not of the veggie persuasion) are the ones I have always been closest to.

She has been vegetarian since her teens, which, while I am happily omnivorous, I don't quite get, but can deal with. There are lots of things one can make for guests who do not eat meat. But I honestly see no point whatsoever in going vegan to the extent that if you are a guest in someone's home, you will be unable to eat anything containing butter, eggs, cream, cheese, etc, which are, frankly, staples in many types of cuisine.

I am a good cook, and do pride myself on being able to cater to preferences when we entertain or have house guests. I'm willing to go out of my way to provide her with a variety of choices she will be comfortable eating. But there are also many dishes I make, especially the more "special" ones,  which will likely include some dairy ingredient or another, and we are likely to have at least a couple of dinners while they are here which will also include my parents, daughter and son-in-law. All of whom are also happy carnivores. My daughter & son in law in particular follow more of a paleo diet, which is pretty much diametrically opposite a vegan one.

She says she is "quite happy with simple food", and I can just give her a bowl of rice or something. Which just seems a horrible way to treat a guest. I don't have it in me to leave her out of a feast, but it just bugs me to feel as though I have to tweak all the recipes I've been making for years because they might include a bit of cheese, butter or cream.

I guess the crux of it is, much in the way I don't understand the religious mind, I don't get why someone would feel the need to be stubbornly vegan when a guest in someone's home. If it's for the ethics of it, I can understand not eating meat, but there are lots of readily available "free range" type dairy products out there which don't infringe on animal rights as far as I can tell. And if it's for health reasons, I don't see that the occasional taste of such products will have an appreciable impact. She's only been vegan for the past year in any case.

Wouldn't it stand to reason that a compromise of values would be fine? I can make things she will be comfortable with to the best of my ability, but she should not refuse to eat a dish with a hint of an animal product in it? Urgh. I don't want to make her mad, but this is something I just don't have patience for.

Offline screwtape

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Re: vegans
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 11:23:23 AM »
I get weird about vegans too.  I find them kinda self righteous.  See: Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

It might not be as difficult as you think, though.  Do a little research.  Find a few recipes.  It is not like you have to necessarily buy special ingredients.  You just need to avoid putting in some others.  And you might like them.  Indian or Moroccan style lentils are really good and easy to make and I am pretty sure they qualify as vegan.  In fact, a lot of Indian dishes would qualify.  Cauliflower, okra, cabbage.  You might need to get some spices (I suggest going to an actual indian grocery for them), but other than that, it is pretty standard stuff.  You can make that stuff for her and use them as a side dish for everyone else's chicken or steak.  I have recipes.  Let me know if you are interested.

Salads are pretty easy too and everyone can eat them.
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: vegans
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 11:27:22 AM »
just do your best but dont tell her if she inadvertently eats something that used to have a face.
I had some veggie guests from overseas a few years back and they were staying in a hotel. They asked the guy at the buffet for something traditionally british for breakfast (I wasn't there) and ended up with black pudding.
I didn't have the heart to tell them what it was and they went home happy  ;D

Online One Above All

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Re: vegans
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 11:35:03 AM »
I have considered becoming a vegetarian (not vegan, as that's just insane, IMO; chickens need to lay eggs just as cows need to give milk, or they'll die). Every time I go into the meat section (or whatever it's called) and look at parts I can visually identify as having come from animals (usually pieces such as legs or whole skinned rabbits or some kind of infant animal[1] cut in half), my heart races. I feel like I'm going to throw up or cry or both. I have to stop staring at them and focus on something else, like music, with my eyes closed.
However, a vegetarian diet is nowhere near as pleasant or healthy (if done improperly, as they often are, from what I know) as an omnivore diet. We are omnivores, plain and simple. To deny this would be like someone denying their sexuality or species (all of which, unfortunately, are too common for my liking). In addition, I have never found any sort of vegetable or fruit, by itself, to be as tasty as a steak (with a little bit of ketchup; no spices whatsoever). However, several combinations of vegetarian things can be just as tasty, if not more so, than if you had taken those vegetarian things and replaced them with meat. One prime example is lasagna, which is my favorite dish. In the end, though, nothing I have ever tasted or heard about can beat a combination of both. If I could make a lasagna with spinach, minced meat, and several other ingredients I use, and convince vegetarians to try it, I believe I would convince them to go back to eating meat, even if only as a small portion of their diet on very rare occasions.

I had some veggie guests from overseas a few years back and they were staying in a hotel. They asked the guy at the buffet for something traditionally british for breakfast (I wasn't there) and ended up with black pudding.
I didn't have the heart to tell them what it was and they went home happy  ;D

...And they didn't know the difference? Sausage made from meat tastes nothing like sausage made from other things, like soy. Trust me; I've tried it. There's no comparison.
 1. I want to say it's an infant cow or sheep, but I'm not sure.
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Online jynnan tonnix

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Re: vegans
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 11:50:42 AM »
I get weird about vegans too.  I find them kinda self righteous.  See: Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

It might not be as difficult as you think, though.  Do a little research.  Find a few recipes.  It is not like you have to necessarily buy special ingredients.  You just need to avoid putting in some others.  And you might like them.  Indian or Moroccan style lentils are really good and easy to make and I am pretty sure they qualify as vegan.  In fact, a lot of Indian dishes would qualify.  Cauliflower, okra, cabbage.  You might need to get some spices (I suggest going to an actual indian grocery for them), but other than that, it is pretty standard stuff.  You can make that stuff for her and use them as a side dish for everyone else's chicken or steak.  I have recipes.  Let me know if you are interested.

Salads are pretty easy too and everyone can eat them.

I made some Indian food last week as a bit of a vegan experiment, actually. I had the spices already, as I sometimes make a lamb curry, or a killer appetizer of curried shrimp bites. I made a cauliflower and chickpea curry and had lentils with kale as a side dish (of course, I also usually saute the dry lentils in a little bit of duck fat before adding the water...it does add a lovely layer of flavor). They were good. They were both side dishes to the lamb curry. And I can find my way around some things made with tofu as well. I can certainly find dinners for a few days which will make everyone happy.

It's some of the other things, though. Like, with steak, when I have vegetarians over, one of my go-to side dishes is an eggplant/tomato/onion saute...but I don't think I could get it to work without adding some parmesan cheese. Things like that. I keep coming up with what I think are good ideas from my repertoire, then realize there is butter or cream in it. Sometimes olive oil makes a good substitute. Or even a bit of almond milk (which I always have as I actually prefer it to dairy milk). But often the substitutions just don't quite cut it. And partly it's just the sheer principle of the thing.

A few years ago, when we had some cousins in town for my parents' 50th anniversary, she was staying with my parents, and Mom had made a nice pot of vegetable soup for her to be able to have after getting in from the airport. But she had put a couple of beef bouillon cubes in it out of habit, and admitted it to my cousin when she asked her if it was completely vegetarian. So my cousin felt she could not eat it. She was not yet in her vegan mode, so she ended up having a bit of bread and butter. Now, I suppose it would have to have been dry bread. Anyway, I always thought that was ridiculously petty of her.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 11:57:05 AM by jynnan tonnix »

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Re: vegans
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 08:30:03 PM »
I worked for Burger King for two years in the 1990s, after I left I didn't eat meat for a few years. I have a sister-in-law who's a vegetarian but she doesn't force my brother to not eat meat.

That's all I got.

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Offline Mrjason

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Re: vegans
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2014, 03:59:06 AM »
...And they didn't know the difference? Sausage made from meat tastes nothing like sausage made from other things, like soy. Trust me; I've tried it. There's no comparison.

having never eaten meat or meat substitute they had no point of comparison

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Re: vegans
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 04:02:16 AM »
having never eaten meat or meat substitute they had no point of comparison

Even so, vegetables and meat have a completely different taste. They should have known that it didn't fit with the normal flavor of vegetables and fruit. It doesn't even look like either of those, even when you cut it and look inside.
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: vegans
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2014, 04:50:24 AM »
having never eaten meat or meat substitute they had no point of comparison

Even so, vegetables and meat have a completely different taste. They should have known that it didn't fit with the normal flavor of vegetables and fruit. It doesn't even look like either of those, even when you cut it and look inside.

Yes they do, however things prepared in different ways do taste different and have different flavours, like chips and mash for example or mushrooms in a sauce compared to fried mushrooms. Would you recognise all vegetables prepared in ways that you have never experienced before?
Also they were told it wasn't meat, which technically it isn't, so didn't question it.

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Re: vegans
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 05:15:53 AM »
Yes they do, however things prepared in different ways do taste different and have different flavours, like chips and mash for example or mushrooms in a sauce compared to fried mushrooms. Would you recognise all vegetables prepared in ways that you have never experienced before?

I'm fairly certain I could, but I could be wrong. I can identify flavors of things I've only smelled and/or looked at. Even soy, which is often used as a meat substitute, tastes nothing like meat, no matter how much you process or cook it. In fact, I've found that, the more you process it, the further away you get from meat flavor. I have tried burgers made from soy. They had a strong flavor, which is pleasant in small amounts (two burgers max; anything more and it's just awful), and even the same consistency as a hamburger, but the taste was radically different. I have tried soy steaks. Very pleasant to eat, but, again, nothing like meat. I have tried tofu. I have never eaten anything with less flavor in my life, including lettuce. It had the consistency of what we call "queijo fresco" in Portugal, but no flavor whatsoever. It may have been cooked improperly, as I've heard it can change its flavor to match whatever it's cooked in, but the fact that it was done in a well-known and fairly renowned restaurant makes that unlikely, IMO.

Also they were told it wasn't meat, which technically it isn't, so didn't question it.

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Offline Mrjason

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Re: vegans
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 06:14:37 AM »
Yes they do, however things prepared in different ways do taste different and have different flavours, like chips and mash for example or mushrooms in a sauce compared to fried mushrooms. Would you recognise all vegetables prepared in ways that you have never experienced before?

I'm fairly certain I could, but I could be wrong. I can identify flavors of things I've only smelled and/or looked at. Even soy, which is often used as a meat substitute, tastes nothing like meat, no matter how much you process or cook it. In fact, I've found that, the more you process it, the further away you get from meat flavor. I have tried burgers made from soy. They had a strong flavor, which is pleasant in small amounts (two burgers max; anything more and it's just awful), and even the same consistency as a hamburger, but the taste was radically different. I have tried soy steaks. Very pleasant to eat, but, again, nothing like meat. I have tried tofu. I have never eaten anything with less flavor in my life, including lettuce. It had the consistency of what we call "queijo fresco" in Portugal, but no flavor whatsoever. It may have been cooked improperly, as I've heard it can change its flavor to match whatever it's cooked in, but the fact that it was done in a well-known and fairly renowned restaurant makes that unlikely, IMO.

Also they were told it wasn't meat, which technically it isn't, so didn't question it.

That's true.

you're coming from the perspective of someone who has eaten both meat and vegetables. If you had only ever eaten one of those would you immediately be able to tell that it wasn't what you were used to?

I've eaten some weird stuff and haven't been able to identify what it is. Some things I never found out what they were because i didn't speak the local language and the locals didn't speak english. I guess it was meat because of the texture (rubbery) but it could have been anything as it was so strongly flavoured with soy sauce.

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Re: vegans
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 06:32:16 AM »
you're coming from the perspective of someone who has eaten both meat and vegetables. If you had only ever eaten one of those would you immediately be able to tell that it wasn't what you were used to?

Why wouldn't I? If I never let someone feel cold, then dump them into a tub full of ice, won't they be able to tell that they weren't used to it? :S

I've eaten some weird stuff and haven't been able to identify what it is. Some things I never found out what they were because i didn't speak the local language and the locals didn't speak english. I guess it was meat because of the texture (rubbery) but it could have been anything as it was so strongly flavoured with soy sauce.

Rubbery meat... I feel sorry for you. :(

Sorry; I just realized that I am derailing jynnan tonnix's thread. Apologies.
Mrjason, if you wish to continue this discussion, we can do it somewhere else.
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: vegans
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 06:39:19 AM »
^^^^

Yeah back on topic: this is great and would be suitable for vegans too -

http://theafricachannel.com/kelewele-recipe-ghana/

edit: OAA I'm happy to continue this discussion if you like.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 06:41:22 AM by Mrjason »

Online jynnan tonnix

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Re: vegans
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 07:09:10 AM »
No worries, OAA...the thread title is just "vegans", so it's all reasonably on topic anyway even if it doesn't directly pertain to the original post.

Thanks for the recipe, MrJason. Plantains are something I have never tried cooking before, but could be an ingredient worth looking into. I think I'd use quite a bit less cayenne, personally, as I'm a real wimp when it comes to heat, but sounds pretty tasty otherwise.