On Friday I went to a Mexican restaurant with some friends and I was telling them about the last Mexican restaurant I had been to, where I discovered chicken in my vegetarian chimichanga. Now, I’ve been vegetarian for 33 years, and I’ve had a few experiences where people have tried to, shall we say, slip some meat in (fnar) – but the vast majority of these incidents have been abroad, in countries where vegetarianism is really not understood (“You eat moule, yes?”, “Is only meat in the sauce, ok”). I was shocked that a chain restaurant in the UK should have such poor practices when it comes to food hygiene and my friends agreed that it was pretty poor. My food arrived and I had a very good look at it – seemed fine – but then I chewed upon something strange and chewy; what do you know, another meat intrusion in to my meal. The restaurant was barely apologetic and knocked 50% off my meal. I’m British. I’m rubbish at making formal complaints. I shrugged and moved on.
On Saturday it was my boyfriend’s turn to cook, and I asked if he’d make lasagne since I’d not really had a proper meal the night before and I wanted something nice. Unlike me, he eats meat – loved meat – and so he made two lasagnes, one veggie and one with meat. Can you guess what’s coming? After living together for 18 years, with no meat based errors occurring in our house – not even a spoon stirring the wrong pot – he goes and gives me the beef lasagne. I knew immediately that something was wrong – it was chewy and grey and nothing like veggie mince. So now I’m not even safe in my own home!
It feels as though the universe is trying to force me to be an omnivore and yet, if it really wanted that, it could have made the meat taste nicer. It was all hard and fibrous and completely unpleasant. I remain steadfast in my beliefs. The next battle will be the office Christmas meal, where the vegetarian option is a parmesan risotto – parmesan is NEVER vegetarian, since it always contains animal rennet. Sigh. I feel good about being a vegetarian, but it can really make you in to the sort of moany twat that I dislike – ‘Oooh, what are the chips fried in?’ ‘Is there gelatine in that cheese cake?’ ‘what kind of stock did you use?’. I hate being that person, but until restaurants, hotels, and boyfriends buck their ideas up, I have no choice!
In other news, I have twice been in supermarkets that have been playing Christmas carols; this is really taking the piss. As a neighbour of the Rhubarb Triangle I know when shit is being forced, and this is just a cynical attempt to encourage consumers to spend more money over a greater period of time. That said, I really need to get my act together and not leave everything to the last minute this year and end up in Lush screaming at the assistants.
I’m considering taking a top tip from Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi and making some policy changes in my life – the first one being that I make all the rules and that no-one is entitled to challenge this in any way. How clever is that? I may end up storming in to the back office of ASDA and insisting that Slade is removed IMMEDIATELY from the PA system until the 10th of December. I will also punish all restaurants (and boyfriends) who do not follow strict food handling procedures with death by tahini. I had hoped to achieve world domination through working for the local council, then progressing up the ranks, but the recession put paid to that scheme. The Morsi approach is much more straightforward, and requires far less actual work.
Right, I must go – tonight’s my turn to cook and I need to find something to slip in to my boyfriend’s meal that he finds morally repugnant – not sure what that will be!