Saturday, October 2, 2010

To vegan or not to vegan

It's like this......I had this guest that came in who was vegan so they wanted to speak with me about what they can eat.  I asked them if they eat cheese and they said "no." I told them I can remove the cheese but the bread we use for that sandwich has eggs in it and is that OK? They said "that is fine."  I told them we had other breads that didn't have eggs but they said the one with eggs was fine.

Now I am puzzled here-if you are allegedly a "vegan" then how the hell do you eat eggs?

I came across this when I lived in India.  We used to have Sunday brunch in my restaurant which had an open kitchen and people would come up directly to the chefs and order eggs prepared any fashion and we would cook it right there in front of them while they waited.  I remember one occasion when a guy had a plate full of desserts like cheesecake, brownies and other cakes.  I asked him if he would like any eggs and he said he was a vegan.  I said "yes but sir every dessert you have on your plate has eggs in it."  I wanted to inform him just in case he didn't know.  He said "it is OK because I can't see the eggs in the dessert."  To say I was puzzled by this would be an understatement.  Now this was when I was still new to India so I was learning the culture and eating habits so I asked one of my cooks if that was normal.  He said it wasn't uncommon to see that.  I told him that makes no sense.

I could care less about one's eating habits or choices; to each his own. Hell man, don't tell me your are vegan and you eat eggs only when you can't see them.  Isn't that a form of denial?  I do understand that living on a strict diet can be challenging depending where your are, and at times you may have to stray from that diet slightly (like having bread with eggs in it) because you have to eat, but I am not referring to those times.

I have even given thought to being vegetarian simply for the health benefits but I honestly don't think I have the discipline to give up a fat steak, foie gras or my favorite, duck confit.

Some vegetarians eat dairy products, some eat fish and there are also "Jain" vegetarians who also don't eat anything grown in the ground like potatoes and carrots and the strict vegans don't even use anything related to meat such as leather.

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