Full disclosure…. I don’t eat a lot of meat outside of my work. I’m a cook and I have to taste what I prepare and serve but outside of my commercial kitchen I usually choose the vego option. I choose this for a variety of lifestyle and family medical history reasons but the difference between my choice and the choice of many of the plant-fed warriors around me is that I am 100% aware of the privilege behind my choice.
Eating a plant-based diet may have some health benefits but let’s not delude ourselves …. choosing to exclusively eat a vegan diet is a privilege at best, and downright entitled at worst. And yes, I am calling out the vegans because they seem to be the fundamental extremists of the herbivore world.
The choice to refuse a meal based on its ingredients is the definition of privilege. There are many people who simply cannot afford this choice. It’s not that I think people shouldn’t be afforded the right to choose, it’s just that I feel that everyone could benefit from a more moderate approach. I consider myself a flexitarian…. I eat a vegetarian diet most of the time but when my belated 93 year old nanna used to make me “vegetable” soup with lamb shank in it, I would eat it and say thank you!
So when I’m catering for a banquet event with a set menu I find it staggering that people will purchase tickets seeing that set menu then ring a week before the event to “let us know” they are vegan. Expecting that a separate meal WILL be prepared for them because… well, they’re totes vegan.
I often choose not to eat meat, I just don’t expect I will always get the meal I want every time I go out and I sure as hell don’t bang on about it to the wait staff. If I’m dining alfresco with my puppy, I give him the bacon, if I’m dining with friends I offer them my chorizo, if I’m dining alone, I choose the veggies and shut the fuck up.
When did we start thinking that we could go to a set menu banquet event and demand that our veggies not touch the butter. When did we get so privileged that we could demand our dietary life choices not only be respected but be pandered to at whatever dining table we seat ourselves at? People who choose not to drink don’t call ahead to bars to demand a special non alcoholic cocktail on arrival.
And before the environmentalists get on the hate wagon… I do understand that farming meat and dairy is costly to the environment and I wish a small percentage of the population boycotting animal products would do something to curb that. But it wont. Educating a nation on the benefits of eating animals native to Australia that are built for the harsh environment, or supporting farmers that are implementing positive environmental initiatives, now that could actually have an impact…..so chuck a kanga banga on the barbie and crack on with your day!
And I know the dairy industry produces a substantial amount of methane but most of the milk alternatives on the supermarket shelves are imported. Flying or shipping those products in has a hefty carbon footprint too.
Don’t misunderstand my position, I support everyone’s right to choose what they put into their mouth. But it is exactly that.. A. choice. This isn’t an allergy we’re talking about, it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s not a religious practice (although I have met many an evangelical vegan), it’s a choice. So it has me absolutely bamboozled that the same people who make this choice and want it pandered to wherever they dine, don’t also support restaurant and cafe owners’ right to choose what menu they will be serving at their venue.
I know the vegans reading this want to eat me alive…. But you can’t, you don’t eat meat!