The vegetarian option

Although I eat fish, the rest of my family are vegetarian - more a health choice than a 'meat is murder' gesture.

Not so many years ago when we asked for 'the vegetarian option' it was often "well, I'll see if the chef can make you an omlette...".

Now you'll fine a meat free alternative on most menus, but has the chef thought the whole idea through?

Has he thought about the ingredients to make sure that nothing comes from an animal - afterall a large proportion of cheese is still made with rennet - from a cows stomach! What about stock - is it completely vegetable based? We once quizzed a chef over a leek and potato soup only to discover it was made with chicken stock!

Back to that omlette, it seems that risotto is has overtaken it as "well, I'll see if the chef can make you ...."

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  • I agree with the seasonality issue. My father was talking about going to go some delicious asparagus and when told they were out of season he dismissed it with a "they are in the store all the time" comment, disregarding the quality. Commercially the prepackaged frozen or refrigerated options that contain meat are much more palatable than the slew of vegetarian or vegan options for convenience food. In my opinion most prepackaged vegetarian foods taste universally stale or nut-like. That may be a harsh critique and I have by no means tried all the veggie options out there, but it has been my experience having lived in the veggie capitol of California. I'm easily distracted and will have to admit the last place I worked our spring and summer veggie option was a risotto :) It was always such a joy for me however to have those customers who called ahead of time and said "oh I'm allergic to corn and wheat and I'm a vegan etc... ." It was also fun to create vegan dishes on the fly, but to really take the time to make a quality special needs menu for a customer that spanned many courses was a delight and was always appreciated by the guests.
  • Hi RawDaddy - quite agree. I blame supermarkets - fruit and vegetables have lost their seasonality. You can now buy strawberries and asparagus all year around, yet if you grow them yourself you get them one month in the year (in the UK May is the asparagus month). And unless you can buy 'farm fresh' you never get vegetables at their best anyway. There is nothing like picking a pea pod from the plant, popping it open and eating the peas raw!
  • Personally I think vegetables are treated like second class food. Why is it, that they are not "show cased" on menu's? Why are there no vegetarian fast food restaurants or even great veggie option at fast food restaurants? Are we that lazy? Is meat so easy to come by and prepare that we forget about the vegetable? Eating more vegetables is a trend that is happening around the world. I believe we should make them first class food.
  • Hi Carol - have to put you right there:
    A vegan only eats foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts.
    A vegetarian is a vegan who will also eat diary products and eggs. Basically if the animal had to die then a vegetarian won't be interested - hence the rennet issue.
  • BTW, great looking profile...colors very novel.
  • My son is nearly vegetarian and over the past year, I eat less and less red meat. I have discovered a lot of great recipes that exclude meat. Frankly, other than the occasional Angus Beef Filet Mignon, (medium rare) with a great Burgundy, I prefer fish and veggies. OMG, it's happening...but I'm enjoying it too.
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