We promised everyone when we started this blog that we wouldn’t swamp it with poncy, arty pictures of food, taken in pristine kitchens with marble worktops. Good job, really, as finding some clear workspace in mine is impossible, and you can’t swing a hamster in Anth’s kitchen …
So I was royally traumatised this week by a pic on an otherwise rather good vegan recipe site (in this case no names, no pack drill). The silken tofu omelette oozed so ickily I had to navigate hurriedly away from the page. I will spare you my friend Mark’s unsubtle description of it, but can assure you his comparison wasn’t inaccurate.
But then I can take or leave quorn, soya and tofu. I haven’t eaten meat for 34 years, so I have no memory of its taste or texture. I never liked it much anyway, so I’ve never had the urge to recreate bacon sandwiches or chicken strips. I’d rather make something I like from scratch.
There does, though, seem to be a fixation in some quarters with recreating meat-based favourites for vegetarians. I do admit to getting very over-excited when I found a fish-free Worcestershire sauce that actually tasted something like the original – but then toasted cheese and my favourite nut roast recipe are naked without it, as it has a very particular flavour.
And as an occasional treat I make a bacon-free BLT sarnie that uses halloumi instead. But then no one is ever going to mistake it for the real thing when you spread hummus on a ciabatta roll and then dump halloumi, tomatoes, rocket and lemon juice on it. The taste and texture is a million miles away from pig products …
One of the things I find weird with Slimming World is the constant trying to recreate forbidden foods as something syn-free. There’s the infamous quiche that isn’t a quiche, as mentioned by Anth on this blog a few weeks ago. Isn’t a quiche without pastry a Spanish omelette? The chocolate mousse using quark and a sachet of hot drinking chocolate should have been strangled at birth. And as for the cakes made with the cardboard-like crispbreads they sell at meetings – let’s not even go there.
Anth took one for the team the other day by sampling vegan cheese. And I can confirm after an ill-advised foray into buying vegetarian parmesan that it shouldn’t be touched with a bargepole. It reinforces what I’ve felt for some time – sometimes it’s just easier and more pleasant to do without and to find something else that’s satisfying and tasty to eat.