My occasional other half is a Vegetarian.
He’s not occasionally a vegetarian, he’s always a vegetarian and I am not, and honestly what a faff this causes me in the kitchen. And to be fair, I should have known just by looking at him. The long hair, the leather bracelets, the truck adorned with buzzard feathers, the age difference!
The alarm bells should have rung and said, ‘You are NOT going to be eating Chateaubriand with this one, stop, look, and listen to your cooking skills. Yes whilst I’ve occasionally lunched AT the Ritz, the nearest he’s got is lunching ON some Ritz – crackers.
But when cupid knocks for you to come out to play, it would be churlish to refuse, and despite us looking like the odd couple, it kind of works.
I’d like to say ‘he was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar‘ when I met him, but he wouldn’t have got past security, so the truth of the matter is I actually met him at a car boot sale.
There I was selling my designer cast off’s, and there he was selling well, just cast-offs! But a weird connection was made and through a mutual love of music and dogs, with a very large sprinkle of humour over our inability to ‘conform’, and DESPITE a heavy shower of adversity we’ve managed to stick together. Occasionally!
He comes, he goes, but on a fairly regular basis and the relationship suits us both, neither of us wants to be fenced in, but neither of us wants to be with anyone else. Weird? yes completely.
But him being a fully paid-up member of the Vegetarian Club is a right old hassle for me, I’m not going to lie. Call me old fashioned, but I feel a meal is incomplete without meat, real meat, not some tasteless protein substitute masquerading as meat.
I want Chicken with my roast dinner, I want Steak with my chips, I want Lamb in my Mousakka, and Minced Beef at the bottom of my Cottage Pie, and today I want real Sausages in my legendary Sausage Casserole. But my ‘occasional bloke’ doesn’t, and to coin a well-worn phrase, I just can’t get my head around it. It’s worse than one person being on a diet, and the other person trying to put weight on. Meal preparations are like his and hers, or more like hers and oh FFS…. HIS!
Today I had 3 meat-filled sausages to use up, and as I knew I had a busy afternoon, I wanted to get all ahead of myself and made a Sausage Casserole. BUT it didn’t end there, as I also had to make a meat-free version of a Sausage Casserole for himself.
So cue a special trip to buy meat-free Sausages, ( which in my book doesn’t make them sausages at all ) which added to the cost of my ‘using stuff up’ meal, then two different trays to actually cook the Sausages, then two different saucepans to make the casserole in, plus one chicken stock pot cube, and one vegetable stock pot cube. Not to mention the stress of remembering which pot is which. And correct me if I’m wrong, but the Vegetarian Sausages look the same after 30 minutes at 190 degrees, as they did when they were raw!
Oh my days, sometimes I wonder if he’d know the difference if I got it all muddled up anyway, but to avoid a guilty conscience I do my best.
So, double the washing up later, two pots of Sausage Casserole are ready, hers and his. But in my mind whilst I totally get it’s a moral decision made by meat-free eaters, I do sometimes wonder why.
If it’s a protest against eating living/dead animals, then why do so many of them still eat fish. It would take a heck of a lot of Vegetarians to rid the world of breeding animals for food. To me, in the simplest of terms, it’s like one person making a stand, and going to gaol for NOT paying their Council Tax, hoping that their solitary refusal to pay, will somehow mean that Council Tax is abolished for everyone Never going to happen.
Meanwhile across the world, there are people like me, preparing the same meal, in two different ways, or trying to make a thick slice of Turmeric coated, grilled cauliflower, enhance a roast dinner the same way a thick slice of roast beef does.
And let’s be honest, a 3 bean chilli will never, ever taste as good as an unctuous, spicy hot, ground beef one, and…. ‘ Vegetarian Tofu Chow Mein is tastier than a Chicken Chow Mein’ said nobody ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m respectful of anyone’s choices, but to all you Vegetarian’s out there, do spare a thought for the cook at mealtimes.
For most of us, it’s hard enough throwing together one vaguely edible meal, but two variations of the same meal can be a saucepan too far!