What to do when you ‘meat’ a vegetarian

Sally Hopman 19 November 2021 8
Bunch of carrots

So do carrots scream when they’re ripped from the ground or are they just in a vegetative state? Photo: Supplied.

You could do a lot worse than be a vegetarian. You could be a cereal killer and rip the rice off bubbles. The corn off flakes, coco off pops … (Note to self: stop milking this dry.)

You could be a fruitarian, for example, only allowed to eat stuff that falls from trees, voluntarily. At least fruitarians are easy to recognise – they’re the really skinny ones who you struggle to see if they stand side-on. They’re probably close relatives of vegetablearians, who reckon they can hear carotene-laced screams when you pull carrots out of the ground.

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Nobody really knows what a vegetarian is or does. Especially in the movies where big Greek weddings are featured. Remember that fabulous woman who, on hearing her potentially new son-in-law was a vegetarian, said she would not be offended if he didn’t eat the beef she prepared. He could have the lamb.


No need to feel sheepish about being a vegetarian, ewe should feel proud. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Yes, the lamb. Something about them brings out the best in us, most of the time. Like when we go to great lengths to save them as poddies after Mum doesn’t want to know.

We spend a fortune on formula to replicate mum’s milk, bottle feeding them all hours of the day and night. Wrap them up in, duh, woollen blankets so they think mum’s still around, care for them like they’re abandoned newborns – which they pretty much are. Then we eat their legs. On a Sunday, no less.

It’s not that I don’t like meat. I just don’t like things that look like what they are. Or look at you while you’re eating them.

Tuna is fine, if it’s in a can and lost its life in wild seas before it met me. Also, don’t come the raw prawn. Even when you rip off their heads, legs and other veiny bits, they still look like they have relatives who are going to come back and get you.

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You could argue that mince falls into the unrecognisable category. It could actually win that category. A mix of unrecognisable muck that you can mould into anything you want. How is that not suspicious? It went to the same finishing school as sausages.

When I came out as a vegetarian about a decade ago, my family thought it was yet another phase I was going through. Like pretending to be Joan Baez because she had a thing with Bob Dylan. Or pretending to play the guitar – yep, same reason.

My mother would make pasta, saying it just had cheese sauce so I could eat it. But then I’d bite into crunchy bits that tasted just like bacon. I pretended to be deeply offended that she, as a Jewish mother, would put bacon in a meal, but she just shrugged and went off in search of some Jewish corned beef (ham) – and a doctor or two to marry off her daughters.

But being a vegetarian can bring out the best in the people who care for you. Like that Christmas Day lunch when friends made me tofu in the shape of a turkey. Or when everyone else just ate vegetables too.

Or, my favourite, when we just ate one thing throughout the day. Well, it had all the right food groups, like fruit, dairy etc – pavlova.

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8 Responses to What to do when you ‘meat’ a vegetarian
Al Frahri Al Frahri 6:45 am 23 Nov 21

I cringe when people make asinine comments about steak and bacon the second vego or vegan is brought up. I like meat, they dont. Big deal.

Steven Peisley Steven Peisley 7:01 am 22 Nov 21

I don't care if people are vegetarian or vegan but I have a problem with vegans who want to force everyone into adopting their diet

    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 1:00 pm 22 Nov 21

    Don't worry. That would be assault so you are safely protected by the law.

Onelia Herriot Onelia Herriot 8:32 pm 21 Nov 21

There are many reasons to be vegetarian. I know people who are vegetarian due to having hemochromatosis, or too much iron in their blood. Eating meat increases their health issues.

Some have severe dairy allergies and have found it easier to just be vegetarian, especially if they are not cooking the food themselves.

Some cant eat tofu.

Then there are:

Those who don't like the taste of meat.

Those who can't stand the smell (raw or cooked)

Some who don't like the texture.

Some are white meat vegetarians, some fish only.

And some who are ethical vegetarians

Just because someone is vegetarian does not mean they are placard waiving animal liberationists or that they are all the same.

Talk to them and find out what they can and can't eat and design a meal accordingly.

And to the vegetarians, speak up before you arrive for a meal. Your guest is not a mind reader.

    Ryan Mallard Ryan Mallard 9:12 pm 21 Nov 21

    Onelia Herriot tbf the placard waiving animal liberationists will tell you without you even wanting to know.

kenbehrens kenbehrens 5:32 pm 21 Nov 21

I have a friend who is a pescatarian, but he’s no ordinary pescatarian
He’ll only eat Salmon. You go to a BBQ at his place and everyone is served up sausages, but he gets a piece of salmon.

Futureproof Futureproof 2:15 pm 21 Nov 21

You don’t meet a vegetarian, the announce it

    Jack D. Jack D. 5:54 pm 21 Nov 21

    Well Futureproof all you have to do is tell them how much you enjoyed your lamb’s fry breakfast? Plus the added extras – bacon, mashed potatoes, fried tomato and gravy! Wow what a glorious combination!!!

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