This is quite a controversial topic but it’s something I want to write about and VeganMoFo seems a good time to do it. When I am cooking for myself or eating out with very close friends or family, I only ever eat totally vegan food. But there are some occasions where I do make exceptions. It’s not that I order a cheeseburger, but I don’t always thoroughly quiz the waiter who is serving me or the friend who has cooked for me. This weekend was one such occasion. I was travelling in Belgium and France with non vegan friends. On the first night we went into a restaurant and I tried my best to order a pasta and artichoke dish without the cream. When it came it had clearly had some cream added*. If I’d been ordered in my native language and was sure I’d made myself clear, I’d have sent it back. But I wasn’t, so I ate it. My sister recently bought me a gift set made by Burt’s Bees, telling me she’d checked that it wasn’t tested on animals. I thanked her profusely and used it, even though I normally wouldn’t buy honey. I know some people would have sent the meal back or refused the gift, but I didn’t. If I’m at home I drink mostly vegan wine, but if I’m at a friend’s house and they offer me a glass of wine, I don’t quiz them about how it has been fined. I have a few reasons for this.
Firstly, I am vegan for compassionate reasons. It’s all very well being compassionate towards animals but I like to extend that to humans too. If people can’t understand you, or are trying their best, it’s just plain rude to insult their efforts. I also don’t like meat eating friends and family to think that being vegan means you have always to be on standby, that you’re starving to death, that you can’t go out to eat and all the other things that they probably already think and don’t need reinforcing.
If I’ve checked at a restaurant before I go and they assure me they can provide vegan food and then can’t, I’ll firmly stand my ground and refuse to eat there or pay. I don’t knowingly buy any animal products. But I like to use common sense and try and give veganism a good name. Sometimes I’ll explain why I don’t wear leather or eat milk chocolate when people I don’t know very well buy me gifts – sometimes I’ll just thank them and pass the gift on. I weigh up each situation as it comes, and try and do my best. It’s not just for the animals – it’s for the humans too!
* If you’re wondering, the pasta definitely would have been tastier without the cream. It had lovely artichokes, parsley, garlic and lemon zest in it. A splash of good olive oil would have enhanced the flavours but the cream smothered them.