to think my friend is being unreasonable about vegetarian food

(71 Posts)
PurpleStorm Mon 04-Mar-13 15:45:25

I had a friend over for lunch today.

We were talking about food and so on, and my friend said that she could never be a vegetarian because "vegetarian food is boring."

I said that IMO this wasn't the case, as there are loads of different ways to cook vegetarian food, so if you do a bit of research into vegetarian recipes and use a bit of imagination, I couldn't see how you'd get bored of it. I admit someone who likes eating meat would probably miss meat if they never had it, but I don't think that's the same as being "bored".

I can see that if you only cooked a narrow range of vegetarian receipes then you could get bored of being a vegetarian very quickly - but I think that it's equally possible to have a boring meat based diet, if you only cook a narrow range of meat based receipes. So the boringness of a diet isn't down to whether or not it includes meat.

Friend was unconvinced by my arguments and continued to insist that a diet without meat must be boring. AIBU or is she?

(should point out here that I'm not a vegetarian myself and usually serve meat dishes when this friend is round for a meal)

midastouch Tue 05-Mar-13 16:45:46

i dont really see how a vegetarian diet is boring there are meat free substitues for just about everything now a days. I like my 'boring' vege food so it doesnt really matter to me what other people think

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 16:43:39

I know you don't flatbread I was just talking in a generic/general sense. Sorry if it came across wrong.

flatbread Tue 05-Mar-13 16:41:19

Fellnell, I don't tell anyone else not to eat meat. In fact, I often cook it for dh or when we have guests. It is my moral discomfort with eating meat, and I don't want to impose it on others.

Dh is a born carnivore and can happily eat a cold piece of lamb for breakfast. A vegetarian diet just doesn't work for him. He will eat my veggies but also needs a regular intake of meat. I have removed sausages and processed meat from his diet and get bulk cuts of meat from the butcher and freeze into individual portions.

I think your point on processed food earlier was spot on. We eat way too much crap without even being aware of it.

Fell: I think a lot of veggies do do it the second way, not cook the meat for their kids but let them have it elsewhere. What bugs me when parents say their child will never eat meat, implying that even when they are in a position to make that decision, that decision won't be respected. A bit like the reverse is true too, that when a child says that they want to stop eating meat, but that isn't respected by family who insist that they still eat it against their wishes. Both ways annoy me.

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 16:40:51

Well that's all part of being a parent. However great your kids are, chanced are they may become young adults and start to reject some of the things you taught them to believe in. Whether it's your religion, your politics or your vegetarianism, your accent, your hopes and dreams for their educational achievement and their career, or whether you think they should marry within their own culture/ethnicity and they choose to marry outside it. Life is full of betrayals and disappointments as a parent, so I don't know why vegetarians think it should be any different for them. grin

but if your child can think for himself and stand up for his own beliefs then you have done a great job and that matters more than how they eat/vote/pray/marry.

exex: It's not something I've heard often (mostly because I think most are realistic about it), but it is something I've heard and it is usually followed by "I'd be so disappointed in them." or "I don't know if I could allow them in my house." or "I would feel heartbroken/betrayed.". Which may be why I dislike the statement really as I don't think I've never heard it uttered by people who don't come out with something quite so melodramatic afterwards!

I'd do the same, my kids probably won't be actively fed it by me purely for ease of cooking a big meal, I'd tell them why I am veggie and DP would tell them why he is not and we'd leave it up to them to decide. But I would never make that choice or express upset if they did choose otherwise.

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 16:27:48

Actually flatbread I completely agree with what you said upthread about cooking Asian style with lots of ginger and spices, and things like aubergines and paneer and mushrooms or lentils can be a great, gutsy substitute for meat when they are fantastically cooked, with loads of beautifully put together spices. If ever I don't miss meat it's when I am eating a really good veg curry or dhal, and I make those often. But I don't think I'd want to do it every day for the rest of my life.

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 16:20:54

what I find, not why.

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 16:20:18

Actually why I find weird is that some people I know are veggie themselves but cook meat and feed it to their children and say 'it's up to them to choose if they want to be a veggie later - I don't want to impose my beliefs on them'.

This often happens in families where one parent is veggie and one isn't. I would have thought that if your decision is rooted in morality and a firm belief that you are doing the right thing then you should say the opposite:

'My child does not eat meat now because I believe it's wrong for reasons X,Y and Z, but I accept that when they are old enough to think for themselves they may choose to eat it when I am not the one feeding them.'

flatbread I respect your reasons, I just don't agree with them! I find them flawed - but that's ok, you don't need to worry about what I think, so long as you are doing what makes the most sense to you. I just object to other people telling me what I should be doing based on a reasoning/morality I find flawed.

exexpat Tue 05-Mar-13 15:50:39

I don't think I know any vegetarians who say their child will never eat meat - I certainly don't. I'm not going to cook it for them, but of course as they grow up it will be entirely up to them what they eat, just as it will be up to them where they live, what they believe, how they vote, what newspaper they read, what job they do etc. All those choices may well be influenced by how I am bringing them up, but I certainly won't be dictating any of their choices.

"We're lucky enough and have access to enough food, to make that choice ourselves." - that is the essence of it really! We should let everybody make that choice.

It annoys me when veggies say "My child will never eat meat." because at the end of the day, you don't know that. As they grow they may choose to eat meat, and once they leave home there would be nothing you can do to stop them making that choice.

Pigsmummy Tue 05-Mar-13 15:16:30

Trying to find a pack of Fine Beans that haven't got more air miles than me is a challenge these days

Scholes34 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:04:29

Certainly vegetarian food is not boring. DS2 is vegetarian, so I find myself cooking two meals when we're not all eating a vegetarian meal. A chicken and leek pie for everyone else leads to a leek, spinach, pepper, nut and ricotta pasty for him, made with the trimmings of pastry from the chicken pie.

What is very boring from a vegetarian point of view is the lack of vegetarian options when dining out in a mixed group. DS2 hates beans. Goats cheese is also a no-no. A standard family friendly restaurant seems to offer a vast variety of meat-based dishes, with a very few, unimaginative vegetarian dishes. A bit more imagination on the part of the big chain restaurants would go a long way.

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 14:06:32

ScarletLady, you sound like a nice vegetarian ;)

whateveritakes Tue 05-Mar-13 14:03:58

City - I have heard all the pints about livestock and that is probably true if you are going to farm animals. Not sure what else you could "grow" on the Welsh hills except sheep though..

However you could live as a meat eater just by eating the animals available all year round. rabbits, pigeons, ducks etc. In fact I pretty much did.

Vegetarians would have a boring diet if you could only eat what we grew n the UK was my point. I can't imagine how big the green houses would have to be to do even the basics in the winter. Agreed we are very lucky to have as much choice as we do.

samandi Tue 05-Mar-13 12:21:49

We were talking about food and so on, and my friend said that she could never be a vegetarian because "vegetarian food is boring."

Your friend is obviously rather boring herself, lacking imagination, a sense of experimentation and basic culinary skills.

I'm perfectly happy to accept that many other people want to eat meat. I don't have a problem with it. My DH and DD eat meat, and I don't mind cooking it, in fact I quite like cooking meat (DH says I make the best roast chicken he's had, and I've never eaten it) I just choose not to eat it myself. I get a healthy, varied diet. I don't like the idea of eating flesh, so I don't.

I don't see myself as sanctimonious and I've never had a go at anyone for choosing to eat meat, just as I don't wish anyone to have a go at me for not eating it. Many animals eat meat....many animals don't. We're lucky enough and have access to enough food, to make that choice ourselves.

aldiwhore Tue 05-Mar-13 10:49:23

fellnel well said, a very good post.

It is true that my son ate his most healthy diet during his first 3 years, he had a dairy and egg allergy and simply didn't like meat... I become obsessive about giving him a healthy diet and learned that being omnivores you can be healthy and get nutrients from a wide range of foods. I had to think outside my 'dairy and meat' box. What I have stuck with through the years, what I've taken away from that experience, is not that dairy and meat are BAD, but when I was concerned about allergens, we didn't eat any processed food at all. THAT is where the healthy diet was most successful. Though you probably would twist that to say it was the lack of meat, you wouldn't be correct.

I absolutely resepct your right to your views, and I haven't insulted you for your choices, so please don't insult me for mine. I choose to eat meat and dairy now, I have also never been healthier because of my experience of veganism the range of foods I eat is broader.

flatbread Tue 05-Mar-13 10:49:22

What is wrong with the two arguments, though Fellnell?

Both of these are my reasons for being a vegetarian.

I Personally think it is good for my health and body type. My body loves veggies (I crave veggies and nuts) and can't handle meat or dairy well.

Plus I don't want to eat flesh from another living being. I realise other animals and humans do it, but it is my moral choice.

nokidshere Tue 05-Mar-13 10:48:35

I cook for vegetarians and for meat eaters. Sometimes I am bored by all of it. Everyone gets into a routine of samey stuff regardless of how they eat.

Even my son, who is fussy, is bored of the restricted diet of his own choosing.

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 10:40:10

Yes and we'll just gloss over the fact that the world is full of creatures routinely eating other creatures. Why we think that as humans we should somehow 'rise above' that basic evolutionary, biological, nutritional urge and mess up the natural order of the food chain is beyond me, when we continue to acknowledge that many wild animals eat one another in order to live, right down from the mosquito sucking blood from mammals, to the fish eating mosquito lavae, to frogs eating flies, to birds eating caterpillars or fish or small mammals, to sharks eating seals, to lions eating antelopes, to apes eating monkeys and smaller apes, to humans eating a bacon sandwich. We are all just doing what we were designed to do. I think it's quite smug to think they we should all somehow be above that, on a moral level.

I can see several arguments for why vegetarianism might be a good thing, but 'for the good of my health' and 'it's morally wrong to take an animal's life' are two that just don't stack up for me.

aurynne Tue 05-Mar-13 10:11:27

"One of the main reasons for me being Vegan is the moral issue. Who has the right to take the life of a living creature just because you are too ignorant to consider an alternative and you like the taste."

I will just make a short intervention to remind all the holier-than-thou veggies that plants are living creatures too...

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 09:30:36

All that angry, self-righteous guff from City is such silly rubbish. It's tempting to be cross at the ill-informed self-righteousness. But we should feel sorry for her, not angry, because it's hard to manage mood in a state of malnutrition.

As everyone else knows, high-carb = public health disaster, so we don't even need to go into that.

My own position, for full disclosure, is that I struggled on as a vegetarian (not even vegan, which I felt guilty about) for many years and only now while eating meat and fish again feel remotely well. I believe (because they tell me so) that it is possible for some people to be happy, healthy vegetarians, or even vegans. but I know I can't. I know it the bloody hard way.

However, although initially it pained me very much to feel as if I was prioritising my health over the environment, now it pains me in a completely different way to come to the horrible realisation that there is no non-disastrous way to feed 7 billion people on this planet. Agriculture - large scale grain production - has destroyed, for instance, the American prairie. I am sure many of you read about the humanitarian disaster caused by high prices of quinoa caused by Western trendiness of this food and the people who grow it not being able to afford to eat it.

The "one rasher of bacon" which someone mentioned above seems to me to be a brilliant solution to a lot of these problems - keep a pig, feed it on rubbish, convert rubbish into protein, salt and preserve the protein and eat it over the winter with your otherwise fiendishly boring and hungry-making local vegetables, like kale and turnips and cabbage. All low-impact ways of using the earth. Keeping animals is how to get nitrogen back into the soil, and they give us protein. Eggs only, if you can't stand to kill. If we could manage a way to live off the local earth like this maybe we could get all smug and high and mighty on message boards. But I'm afraid I don't. Not sure whether we could feed cities this way even in theory. In practice... oh it's exhausting.

So all I can do is not buy apples from stupid places like New Zealand (etc) and try to be healthy for my family, and keep them well. Pathetic. But at least I am not attacking anyone else about it.

Ivana: i wasn't arguing that meateaters didn't eat things flown in, just that there was a point in that veggies do!

These days I know more meat eaters who care about where their foods comes from and it's seasonality than veggies who do weirdly enough. I know it's not always the case but I think awareness of where food comes from is increasing in all circles.

Fell: nice to see somebody in here who speaks perfect sense! It's amazing how many people know so little about when our diets changed for the worse and why.

I am a veggie out of habit. I stay veggie because I dislike the hypocrisy of a lot of people in this country in judging the meat other countries have, but have no issue in throwing away half a carcass abecause every don't fancy eating the lesser cuts. Many people these days also wouldn't be happy killing or preparing their own meat, which I find extremely ridiculous. Fine are the days when people really understand where where food came from.

It's also significantly cheaper than buying great quality meat!

lljkk Tue 05-Mar-13 07:28:59

Boring is a matter of opinion, how can you argue over that?

mmm... I was veggie for 16 yrs which was fine, never seemed boring, but have to say that in last 12 yrs that I eat meat, I find some veggie fare quite boring.

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