For me, my new veggie food gets more and more exciting as the days go by. Meat replacements that don’t consist entirely of soy are actually very good, meat isn’t needed to enhance flavour and all my favourites I can get in veggie alternatives anyway. Why wouldn’t I be happy as a vegetarian?
Some meat eaters however tend to be under the illusion that vegetarian food is just very, dull. When gushing at my carnivorous cousin about my new veggie finds, I often got met with the response of “Oh, it’s alright I suppose. If that’s as interesting as it gets…”
Now if my cousin was a culinary master with a never ending recipe book of weekly meals, then perhaps I’d listen. However, I’m actually aware that the vast majority making this comment are the ones eating some breaded chicken product and potatoes three times a week, with no desire to change it. I mean yes, I know, chicken nuggets are like family to some but that’s taking it a bit far.
It would seem that without meat, my meals are immediately rendered as rabbit food. A bizarre assumption to jump to considering salads and I aren’t the best of friends. What actually exists in a lot of my meals are the good things we all know and love: herbs, spices, interesting sauces and a new way of gaining protein.
Vegetarians living off celery and rocket leaves is a very dated stereotype that just needs to end. I’ve actually found myself so much more excited about a new vegetarian dish, than I ever did with a meat laden meal. Do I sit and judge meat eaters for getting excited over their food though? No, we’re different people with different tastes.
It’s worse that some carnivores judging my meal choices may also be the ones who never even try it. The basis for their judgement is literally that it’s got some weird sounding ingredients they’ve never heard of before and it has no meat. Which to me, is a very boring reason not to try new things.
While I don’t expect every meat eater to enjoy vegetarian food, I also can’t make sense of people categorising an entire range of food as ‘boring’ because meat doesn’t exist in it. Chicken nuggets are fine, I’d even have called them enjoyable on the odd occasion, but there is actually more food out there. Some with green things, some with interesting protein substitutes and some that even I can say, are just a bit meh.
But don’t deprive yourself of potentially interesting foods, because one component doesn’t exist. Your nuggets will still be there tomorrow.