I’ve always had a bizarre relationship with food. I mean I love food, I love the process of preparing and cooking meals. Just not always a fan of eating. I’m pretty certain the list of foods I cannot eat would far exceed the food I can, so quite frankly, I get bored.
I’m one of those fussy eaters, a vegan if you please. Not because it’s at the height of fashion, along with being gay and bipolar. However more because in most cases I’m intolerant and in some cases certain foods, such as cheese, can make me very, very, very ill. Therefore from a young age, like so young I can’t remember, these foods have been calved out of my life.
Invite me to any sit down meal your having for a wedding or special occasion, I guarantee we’ll be talking about my weird and wonderful eating habits and dietary requirements in know time at all. I agree that it is indeed a great ice breaker for people around the table who don’t know others. However, I go through the same routine and spiel, every-time. Even to the degree where I have turned down some invites based on the fact that I get incredibly embarrassed and bored by the whole ordeal.
Now whilst I don’t eat meat, fish or dairy, I do use it when cooking for others. I like to think it sets me apart from the ‘principal vegans’, like the ones you see on Come Dine With Me, who subject their unwilling guests to their award-winning melon ball starter, a homemade nut-roast and eggless, tasteless banana bread with look-a-like vegan cream. I on the other hand portion myself off what ever I’ve cooked for others prior to adding the meat. What may surprise you further about me is I’m actually a trained fishmonger and meat cutter (I can technically say butcher, however I feel it is an act of deception as I would only know how to handle the actual cuts. I cannot butcher a whole cow).
I always struggle finding ‘Liam friendly food options’ particularly when I’m away from home, including when travelling abroad. Take tonight as an example, I’m in a lovely hotel, travelling alone. All I want in said situation is to have a bite to eat, in the comfort of my room. I peruse the menu, generally looking at all the menu options from right to left (yes I wrote that right, unless you too are a veggie or vegan you may not understand). Scanning for all of the (V) options. Typically these days you often find 3 if your lucky. If you are vegetarian you are sorted, if you are vegan, you must then review the three options to see which have cheese and which don’t. If they do, can the cheese be removed (like with burgers). Tonight I’ve scanned the menu, there are a number of options, all options have cheese. However the cheese on the spicy bean burger can be removed, we have a winner. It is generally at this point that I allow myself to get excited about the prospect of having a meal. I go to the bar (because the phone in my room doesn’t work) and upon stating my order the bartender smiles (like actually smiles at me) and says ‘we haven’t got none of that tonight’.
Seriously I could throttle this poor bartender, he’s just dashed my dreams of eating tonight, what’s more he’s grinning like a Cheshire cat. In such situation a red rage takes over me which I fight with all of my might to control. He asks, ‘Is there anything else I can get you?’ at which point I result to my default response when the realisation of not being able to eat dawns upon me. ‘Double G&T on ice please’.
In most cases when you are a vegan, you can consider yourself a second class citizen. I went to a swanky doo before Christmas. You know the ones, your sat amongst colleagues on a big round table seating usually ten. The menu sounds rather posh and in some cases you may be required to look up online what certain bits are and mean. Every-ones starter arrives, they are now sat waiting for your food to arrive before they eat. Incredibly polite of them, however, as all vegans will know, the fussy food is always last out of the kitchen. Every-one is in receipt of a well though-out decorative starter such as Confined Cotswold chicken & mushroom terrine, pea, shallot & pickled shimeji. The vegan gets: cold pea soup. Every-ones main of course is Christmas dinner themed, with a choice of Turkey or Beef. For the vegan: Walnut Salad, which let me tell you sounds far more exciting than it was. It consisted of a bed of rocket and three whole walnuts. No I haven’t missed anything off, that really was it. Then dessert, well let me tell you now, dessert tipped me completely over the edge. In fact, words cannot describe how flabbergasted I was when I saw my dessert in comparison of my colleagues. Lucky for you reader, I may not be able to describe, however I can show you. As a bit of fun, I won’t point out which the vegan option is until you’ve seen the photos, let me know your thoughts in the comments…
Wowser! Impressive stuff right? It’s almost as though you are penalised for having a dietary requirement. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of fruit. What’s more I like every bit of fruit in that sad pathetic pile, but come on, whilst I may be a fussy vegan surely I deserve the same quality and effort as everyone else, that like me is staking out £60.00.