Daily Moan #11: food adulterated by animal products

I'm not a strict vegetarian - I sometimes eat fish - but I don't eat meat, and that includes gelatine, chorizo, chicken stock and wild boar. I love scallops and quite fancy going to the Rye Bay Scallop Week in February (unfortunately there don't appear to be any clog dancers or sea shanty singers taking part) - but looking at the menus on offer it seems that most of the dishes have been spoilt by the addition of bacon, black pudding and foreign dried pig-based sausages. Why do so many chefs hate vegetarians and pescatarians so much that they feel they have to sabotage their food with strong-tasting meat products? One gets the impression that should you ask for the dish without the chorizo or parma ham, then the chef will surely gob on it before it leaves the kitchen!

Eating abroad is a minefield: in Italy, an innocent pasta with tomato sauce might have a bit of wild boar added to spice it up; in Barcelona, a Catalan dish of broad beans will have little chunks of butifarra in it. In France they are perfectly capable of cooking exquisite vegetables, so long as they accompany meat or fish. Ask for a selection of them without the meat and you'll end up with an omelette! In Germany and further east the only vegetables not pickled to death you'll see in restaurants are potatoes. Japanese noodles may have been made using chicken stock - and beware of jelly anywhere - it's almost certain to be gelatine made from boiled up animal bones. I suppose we are spoilt here in Brighton for good veggie food available almost everywhere, and most big cities will have decent Asian places to eat with plenty of meat-free choices. And one day maybe eating meals without meat will no longer be seen as something weird and not to be tolerated.

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