Quick bites: Don’t mention the ham …

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Show me a vegetarian who hasn’t had someone suggest that they pick the meat off a pizza and I’ll roll my eyes and ask them how long since they came over to the dark side. It reminds me of university halls of residence 30 years ago when serving staff couldn’t seem to grasp that veggie and Jewish students really didn’t want the ham removed in front of them …

Sp Danny Mitzman’s recent account on the BBC site of the trials and tribulations of being a vegetarian in Italy ring true for many of us – not only abroad, but also closer to home. And as you read today’s follow-up piece – 20 of your tales of vegetarian woe – I bet you’ll be twitching in sympathy.

They remind me of my trip to Russia 20 years ago when I spent a fortnight living on bread, cucumber and tomatoes. The hotel’s answer to there being meat in the borsch was to suggest I had the first portion skimmed off the top, as the dead bits would have sunk to the bottom … The long-suffering tour guide explained to me and my best mate that vegetarianism didn’t exist in the country, and the only reason people would decline to eat meat was if the doctor had advised it.

At least it was ignorance rather than downright contrariness in the US where the hairy-chested cowboys of America’s mid-West clearly think vegetarians are wusses. A restaurant in Casper, Wyoming, refused to let me order a selection of side dishes in lieu of a main course. The fact there was no vegetarian option on the menu didn’t matter.

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One response »

  1. I consider myself lucky to have only gone veggie in the past couple of years when, in the UK at least, a lot of this has gone. The worst vegetarian meal I saw, before I was veggie, was an actual ‘vegetarian option’ at the works Xmas do. I had turkey and all the trimmings, my veggie friend next to me had the same veg (spuds, mash, frozen peas & carrots, frozen sprouts) and a ‘vegetable parcel’. This latter was a brick of puff pastry, which when sawed open, revealed a table-spoon of the same frozen peas and carrots that were on her plate in a sneeze of white sauce. It was vegetarian, food – not so much.

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