Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Practical Vegetarian?


Practical Vegetarian?  Really?  Seriously?  Here's my response to the article:

Look, when I ate 99% of my meals as a vegan but occasionally ate fish or seafood ... 4 times a year perhaps, I was chastised by vegans for using that moniker.

As my travels take me to places where I often cannot make other arrangement I often have to make "do."  You either decide to be a vegetarian or vegan or you decide your culinary choices depend more on what's available.  I've from time to time taken the turkey off the bread and had a piece of wilted lettuce sandwich.  I wasn't happy about the turkey touching the bread but I wouldn't eat the turkey.  

If you're just eating "practically" you really haven't made any kind of commitment to vegetarianism but you're definitely eating a better diet for yourself, the planet and the animals.

If your friend made you something with dairy after a 10 year absence and you had lactose intolerance would you eat it to be "nice?"

From a practical standpoint fast food is really really practical but even as a former carnivore there came a time when I realized that it was no more than junk and I would go out of my way to find something different.  You have to be willing, when things aren't convenient or *practical* to put in the effort and stick with your convictions.

Thought provoking post though.

I think you'll find following my travels from a culinary standpoint somewhat amusing.

It's Marty's Flying Vegetarian Review at:




erwin said...

Hi Marty
Ijust read yr response to the article "practical vegetarian" and have to strongly disagree with your excuse to consume sandwiches after removing the meat/fish part. I am traveling around the world frequently: This year alone I earned more than 570000 frequent flyer miles. You are right some countries especially in South America or the South Pacific or Japan are a tuff ones if you want to hold on to a true vegetarian or vegan lifestyle without being limited to raw salads, -veggies or steamed veggies. But for the last 20 years, thats when I turned into a vegetarian I haven't willingly eat any meat,fish or poultry or every eaten from a plate or bread, wraps or other products from which those products have been removed! It's sometimes challenging and frustrating. Yes sometimes I went with empty stomage to bed, but on other occasions restaurant and hotel-chefs made the extra effort to create excellent vegetarian/vegan meals for me. And Chefs all over the world stated to me that cooking for a vegetarian other things than steamed veggies or pasta is challenging but a trained chef should not have any problems to convert produce into something heavenly My point is that it is easier to follow a vegetarian diet than a strictly kosher one. And as a tip :kosher restaurants are always a good source for excellent vegetarian food ! (I tell you this as a non religious Jew, dont be afraid to wear a jamulka and wash yr hands its worth it)
Once again, thanks for yr efforts to find acceptable eateries for our kind

Marty said...

Hi Irwin,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I know that if you throw enough time, effort and money at (just about) any problem like this you can get things exactly your way.

I travel with people, coworkers, some of whom refuse to eat vegetarian. I have tried every sales point I could remember and yet, for whatever silly reason, I have to come up with a solution that meets both of our needs. I have had many plates of boring food but in a mainstream restaurant, not high end chef fare, sometimes that is what you get. And that's ok. I never say it's ok to have the chicken broth, (see the review about Johnny Chi's in Westhampton, NY), or relax my vegan standards.

I am not strick about something that might have touched meat, as in the bread from the sandwich example. I can't worry what was in the frying pan before they cooked my dish as long as they're not mixing it in with my vegan fare.

When I'm on my own I don't have these issues. I go where I want and order what I want. The challenge is when you have someone stomping their feet like a child because they "must" have a dead animal meal, and you didn't have time to plan in advance or enough time to "shop" around that finding a vegan meal becomes a bit of a challenge.

Most of my travels are domestic and I find that eating in the south and south eastern US are challenging with their preponderance of bacon grease or ham hocks in ... jeeze ... just about EVERYTHING. This blog is more about those kinds of challenges.

Thanks for following it.



Anonymous said...

Hi Marty!
Thanks for yr reaction!
I want to apologize that I came on as arrogant or superciliary.
Giving the case some deeper thoughts I must agree that traveling in company of groups with different dietary standards limits yr choices of eateries drastically. You are right most times I am traveling all by myself which gives me the freedom to eat where what and as long as I want without frustrating others.
However, I admire yr deducation to our cause and the efforts you take to "test the fields" for all of us! Because of yr blog restaurant managements are reminded that they are watched and judged based on the quality of their food products, presentation, pricing and service.

irwin said...

Hello again!
Accidentally I clicked anonymous as profile. The last comment was from me Irwin

Ali - YumVeggieBurger said...

Thanks for writing this - articles like that always annoy me. On the one hand, it's great that people are eating healthier and becoming more open-minded about vegetarianism...
but on the other, it's like when people tell me they're a vegetarian but then add "...but I eat fish". Using the term when you don't fit the definition just makes it harder for real vegetarians to be understood by restaurant staff and other meat-eaters!