The Veggie Challenge

With the present worldwide situation that means difficulty in feeding the world, everyone is going to have to start looking at their diets and consider eating more veg/nuts/seeds/grain and less meat which requires a huge amount of input in terms of feed, space and time to produce.

Are you trying to reduce your meat intake? do you find it more difficult to eat as a vegetarian or vegan in France? Are there foods that are not available in France if you are a vegetarian or vegan? What about eating out? Who knows of good restaurants offering a fair deal to vegetarians rather than the obvious omelette?

Do you have children in school here who maybe follow a vegetarian diet or who dislike eating meat? what are there experiences? have you found a school that is happy to feed your little vegetarian in a green way? or are you having to feed your child at home.

My personal feeling is that France is 30 years behind the game with vegetarianism. I can remember the UK 30 years ago and eating out with my inlaws who are veggie....and getting nothing but the ubiquitous omelette offered. Now in the UK almost every restaurant offers a good range of veggie fare and there are some wonderful vegetarian restaurants not to mention some wonderful chefs on tv who make a point of cooking either all or mainly vegetarian fare..the great Israeli chef....Yotam Ottolenghi who though not a veggie himself, cooks mainly veggie dishes...Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Wolfgang Puck of Spago...perhaps whats required are a few homegrown famous veggie French chefs!

What is your experience?

Dave - something really spooky has happened. A day or two after you put up your latest post (about Dixieland) we had some friends round for a meal who mentioned going to Dixieland with them...then...more spooky...we had some other friends round for a meal who also mentioned going to Dixieland....on the 23rd Nov....because their friend was playing in a band!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like we'll see you on the 23rd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

India and beyond, plus in general many cultures eat meat as only a very tiny percentage part of their diet.

Your point about "not thinking of these dishes as vegetarian" is really interesting. We know of at least 6 people in the last year who have "turned" vegetarian because of us. Not because we have brow-beaten them, or ranted at them or made them have a guilt trip but because they've just spent time with us eating food/sharing meals. They've all said the same thing......."You've shown that being vegetarian can be so normal and so just eat normal yummy food so we thought to ourselves we'll give it a try." The point is we don't eat cranky, worthy food we just eat normal food, just without the meat.

I think a significant part of the Indian sub-continent would disagree with your statement about not being able to raise children on a vegetarian diet.

The point about a child's right to choose is a completely different matter. I don't blame my parents for forcing me to eat meat when I was a child - in hindsight I wish they hadn't but I least I know that, having eaten on both sides of the argument, I'm not missing out on anything wonderful by omitting meat.

If politics ever allows science to progress in this particular area would you as a meat eaters ever be happy to eat synthetic meat if it really tastes, smells & feels like "real" meat? or will you always want your meat to come from real animals that are bred, raised & slaughtered?

Sounds healthy Sandra and fun...having time to play around with recipes is great too.

Proper crumpets are so easy to make at home....and cost pennies....I make crumpets, proper muffins and bread....when freshly made are a real treat.

Since I've lived here in Brittany I have eaten far more fish than ever before. The fish is cheaper, more plentiful and there's a greater choice. I thoroughly enjoy tryng different varieties and probably now have more fish than meat in my diet. I find French meat not up to the quality of English meat in general. I also have a lot more pasta and rice dishes nowadays without meat or fish. I grow a lot of my own veggies and have my own hens and ducks producing eggs so would still have plenty of protein and I love cheeses. I have more time nowadays to experiment and try new recipes and new ingredients. I could accept a vegetarian life if I had to, but would prefer to continue to eat both meat and fish while I can.

hmmm...Neil...interesting comments. First...I have several friends who gave up meat as they were upset about the killing of animals. They love the taste of meat however, so why not enjoy lookie likey or tastey likey veggie fare?

The reason the thread started was in part because of articles about raising meat and the costs...and the fact the planet is not going to be able to continue raising expensive animals as we are now, for ever. So we are all going to have to learn to start liking more veggie food.

Some of us are keen to have a few days a week meat free. Others, not so sure. As a health professional I can assure you that children and babies will not suffer any lack of minerals, vitamins etc by having a veggie only diet. In the same way a meat eater can suffer lack of trace elements by eating a poorly mixed can a veggie...but if you eat a good mix....meat and fish are not essential. Vegans and vegetarians can live to a very ripe old age, as meat free diets can be very healthy.

Liberty bodices tend to be chewy and lacking in vitamins.

ooooohhhh...had a jar of Sardine and Tomato paste last week....OH is impressed with my wild spending on food since returning to the UK!

So we have to eat liberty bodices now?

Since coming to France I eat more duck, pork and fish but less chicken and bacon as it is quite poor in quality and taste. Also we now have quite a large veg garden so more fresh stuff but I love the taste of meat so unless it is banned.....

Our local family restaurant has several non-meat dishes especially pastas and salads but don't think of these as 'vegetarian'.

Not that I am an expert but I think it is wrong to make children have a vegetarian diet as there are lots of trace elements and protein in meat that you just can't get with veg and fruit. Had a member of our family whose mother was vegetarian and was bringing up the same way when he started school he took his own vegetarian sandwiches and promptly swapped the for meat! He was caught out when he stated one day at lunch that he thought ham tasted a bit like tuns. Also why try to replicate meat with vegetable matter such as veggie burgers and veggie sausages.? Vegetarian food can stand up on it's own.

Shippam's paste - ah - Chicken & Ham was my favourite, my mother and father liked the Bloater paste best. I admit that I buy Tesco's version of Chicken and Ham when I'm back in Cornwall, even my children loved it in sandwiches when they were small, but I eat it on hot buttered toast. I still have a toasting fork and when we had a power cut all one evening I opened the woodburner door and made toast with English bread and put a saucepan of Heinz beans on the fire itself. Unfortunately, I don't have a lid I can take off to put a saucepan on as I use the top opening for the flue rather than the back opening so that the woodburner sits back into the fireplace.

ooooh I lubs Crumpets.

Please don't remind me about the arms and extended thumbs. Because my father was a soldier and my mother managed the NAAFI, we had extra rations. Crumpets were made by the NAAFI bakers but I think I had two a week, so they were a treat. Shippam's paste on one, just butter with a chunk of cheddar beside the other. We had an old style stove, being in Cologne, so one cover was taken off and the crumpet put in on the toasting fork. If the flames go at it a bit much it was treated as crunchy, which the butter dealt with...

My arms used to ache so much holding them straight out in front of me with the palms straight and tilting up facing each other and my thumbs up in the air to stop the skeins of wool falling off. I think the words I remember most on those evening in front of the open fire were " Keep your hand up - concentrate on what you're doing!" We used to toast crumpets on long toasting forks in front of the same fire after we'd done the wool winding - one of the better memories - and then slather butter onto the hot crumpets which melted into the holes and then top with scrapes of Bovril. I still do that now, but use the toaster for the first part.

I used to get beautiful wool from Shetland which always came in skeins.

Sandra, you are reminding me of the hours spent with my little hands in front of me as my mother unravelled and made skeins. Now that is something I do not miss!

can you imagine todays kids putting up with that Sandra?

We used to knit kettle holder and pan holder squares out of rug wool so they were nice and thick with a loop for hanging. All our old jumpers were unravelled, washed and hung to dry in skeins before being wound into balls - nothing was ever wasted. My skirts were made out of panels from my mother's old coats. Old underwear was cut up for dusters.

When I went away to school my shirts were so huge so I would grow into them that the arms had enormous tucks in them which when finally let down were a completely different dark stripe of blue colour as that bit of material hadn't been exposed to the light. The same with pyjamas, coats etc. everything had huge hems for letting down as I grew.

Just caught up on all the knitting. My mother was a fanatic. Bedspreads, rug, tablecloths (yes!!), all manner of clothes, toys, if she saw a pattern she couldn't do out of her head she bought it. When she died we found a thousand plus patterns... No wonder my sister has never picked up needles. I do sometimes, but back to front as I learned it from a German lass I lived with many years ago...