Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Re: Can a non-vegan and a vegan have a relationship?

This is a reply to my friend Xen for his writing: "Can a non-vegan and a vegan have a relationship?"

Originally I planned to answer to Xen on his own blog, but as it happens more often than not that my reply keeps on expanding, I think I have to answer in my own blog and send a link to Xen. (What a sentence that was.)

My reply to Xen:

Very good writing, Xen. I have dated vegetarians, but no vegans. If I date a vegetarian, as a result my meat eating drops down. One big reason for this is that I like to cook, but I won't cook different menu for everyone who eats. As an omnivore it is no big deal for me to adjust my diet.

I have to admit, even if I eat a lot of vegetarian food, I still crave for meat every now and then. I would not have any moral issues against eating meat, if the conditions were even a bit more humane for the animals. (I'd like to raise, butcher and cook my own meat.) I eat virtually no chicken due to the massively inhumane conditions they are grown in, and try to find bio/free range/non-torture eggs when I buy them. I don't use eggs that often in my food anyways. More over I refrain from eating chicken because of the growth-hormones they use. Of course cow has all different things, including stress-hormones when they sense they are being slaughtered. But chicken is especially bad.

Pork I just don't like because of the taste, unless it is done from good parts of the animal and prepared properly. That's why I don't eat that much pork either. Cow I like. Game I love - any game. Phesant, deer, reindeer... tasty. And they had a good life.

Main reason why I have cut down meat eating is not my morals, although they play a small part in it, but the main reason is the quality of meat. Especially in the Netherlands veggies and meat are mostly water. Spanish strawberries taste like sour water. Oranges taste like water with citric acid. Fry meat (especially minced beef) and see how frying turns into boiling when 50% of the mass is released as water.

I will not go into a discussion about how we, as consumers, are the cause for such crappy products, including food items. In a nutshell: People want everything as cheap as possible, and they want good quality. Price is the main thing. Quality loses. We are being sold brand-stuff as quality products, but in action we buy crap and think it's quality.

If I have a farm-house close-by, like in the previous country where I was living, I buy all my meat directly from the farmer. Morally it's better than super-mega-hormone-monster-cattle in megafarms, but my main concern is the taste. Beef still has some taste, but pork and chicken... they don't even taste like anything anymore.

Enough intro. Back to the original question:

Can a vegan and a non-vegan have a relationship?

I have no clue how to do vegan-food. This would pose problems in the beginning, before I learn. Actually learning to do vegetarian food has been a learning experience for me, too. "How can you make food without food ingredients? Isn't salad something that food eats?" - How wrong I have been.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no problems dating a vegetarian. I can refrain from eating meat in vegetarian company, if they have moral issues with meat. I won't pretend to be vegetarian, though. I won't push my meat to vegetarians, and respect their decision as long as they respect mine. Discussion and pushing ideas are two different things. Vegan as a friend is also no problem. But to be completely honest, I think I would run into problems with a vegan, should I date one. Living apart would be easier, since me eating vegan food is no problem, but as I do want to eat meat every now and then, and couldn't do it home if I'd be living with a vegan. And I do not eat in restaurants that often.

It used to be that you eat out when you want something good. Nowadays I eat out if I'm lazy, and cook home if I want something good. Decent restaurant charges more than €20 for a dish. I cook for days with that money. And in many cases, better food. So living with a full-on vegan (dating or not) would be complicated for me. I would not want to offend, but I want to eat meat. I can cut down meat eating, but I do not wish to stop it. (The reference with human meat was a bit waste on me, since I would try human, if there would be a place where to order it. - Non-German-style, just that all y'all Armin fans know... I just have a personal rule: Try everything. Food is never bad. There's food I don't like, but it's not the food's fault. It's all in my head.)

I know how to cook vegetarian. (First you ask the vegetarian home, skin the vegetarian, chop... Naw, just kidding...) Vegan I could learn. But if my diet is offensive to someone. That would be the complicated part. I could live with a vegan, but I'm afraid a vegan could not live with me. The tolerance would have to go both ways. I would eat more vegetarian food, naturally. But the vegan should tolerate my meat, or other animal products every now and then. Not eating them, of course, but to accept that I do eat meat. I don't see it as impossibility that I'd quit meat all together, and become a vegetarian in the future. At the moment it just doesn't seem that likely, though. Converting to full-on vegan - I just don't see myself in this scenario at all.

On the other hand, if I make 5 litre pot of chili-con-carne by meself, I use perhaps 150-200g of meat in it. And it lasts me a week. If I make 3 litre pot for me and my friends, I have to use something like 500-700g meat in it for the carnivores to be happy. I don't notice the difference that much, as the rest I put in the pot will substitute meat enough for me. This gives me an idea. Maybe I need to practice chili-con-veggie soon.

Hope this blabbering is understandable enough.

Summa summarum:
I have no problems dating or living with a vegan, and would actually in certain extent adjust my own diet to match.
Vegan could have problems dating or living with me, if all animal products would be offending.

Ah... Evelyn Beatrice Hall said that. Thanks. That is one of my favourite quotes of all time. (Another favourite is Einstein's quote about two things infinite.) And I support that idea behind the quote more than 100%.

(Apropo, I'm designing a pizza for you at the moment. Got an idea for one few days ago when I was making one for myself and I just feel like inventing a pizza for you. I'm omnivore meself. If it's on my plate, I eat it. I just need a bit of time to find the internal harmony. [insert sarcastic remark here] The name of the Pizza is Green Katana (reasons for will become obvious later) and I would like to know what can be used instead of cheese - my only animal-based ingredient in this pizza? I thought you were vegetarian, not ovo-vegan. So only animal product you eat is eggs? Not milk... Hm... need to find a cheese substitute.)

1 comment:

xen said...

Thank you for your long but interesting comment.

Before I continue, I am vegan. So I don't eat anything from animals, and I'm gradually changing my wardrobe to be vegan too, as what vegan actually means. If you don't eat anything from animals, but wear or use things made from animals, you are just a strict vegetarian.

A cheese substitute is soy-cheese, but most of these products contain syrups, which I have issues with both health wise and medically.

So, the simplest and safest vegan pizza for me would to make a calzone. :)