Of late, I have been serving guests from traditionally vegetarian communities, and whenever they ask whether I use separate oils to deep fry vegetables and meat, I say, “Yes, this has been taken care of.”
I have been to fairs too to sell pastry, but surprisingly, no one has bothered asking if I use eggs in pastries – that’s taken as a matter of fact. As most of the world has embraced eggs as vegetarian food, I think we should categorize ourselves as holy vegetarians and healthy vegetarians. And if you are a holy vegetarian, please don’t eat anything outside your home.
If you savor something in a restaurant, even if it is a vegetarian meal, it has hints and flavors of non-vegetarian food, I swear to God. For example: chicken stock is indispensable while preparing risotto. So, although it sounds vegetarian, it isn’t. With French mother sauces, when you prepare tomato sauce, adding salt belly of pork to mirepoix (roughly diced vegetables) is essential. MacDonald’s fries taste great because they are done in animal fat. So, if you are a holy vegetarian, don’t indulge in culinary adventures outside your home.
Eating at home, however, may also not be the solution. You think pesticides don’t have animal extracts? Congratulations! You have been defiling your religion for far too long now. Bio-pesticides, besides plants, are derived from animals and other microorganisms. Don’t blame the poor chefs.
In reality, many restaurants infuse your meal with readymade chicken cubes. Most of you are in love with Ajinomoto or MSG (mono sodium glutamate) which is extracted from animal source. Sadly, your vegetarian palate has already been illusioned by artificial flavors derived from animal source. Even when you brush your teeth, not all ingredients are purely vegetarian. God bless you if you don’t want to dine out anymore or brush your teeth in the name of being pure vegetarian.
You might love to know, as you enjoy your coffee, that major companies produce refined cane sugar through a filtration process involving animal bones. If you have no problem with this, you may still enjoy your cappuccino, espresso and mochaccino. And coming to your favorite cheesecake, do you know what gelatin is made of? You might not want to eat cheesecakes, jellies or pastries after learning that they are extracted from animal fat, bones and other body parts.
What’s left after this? Oh yes, cheese. Do you really think cheese is vegetarian? If you loved the hard cheese from your favorite cartoon show Tom and Jerry, you might love to know that hard cheese is a result of protein enzymes breaking, courtesy rennet. What is rennet? Rennet is produced from an enzyme naturally occurring in the stomachs of young mammals. This is usually derived from calves.
Yes there are plant-based substitutes for most of the animal extracts that I mentioned above; but did you imagine how different the costs would be? Moreover, can you buy the plant-based substitutes in this market? I am not being mean but there is a long list of “vegetarian” food items that contain animal extracts, which you are most probably not even aware of. The only thing is that I really feel sorry for holy vegetarians. So whether you want to be a holy or a healthy vegetarian is totally your choice. Please don’t give your chefs a hard time.
If you a strict vegetarian, I suggest you don’t eat anything unless you see it with your naked eyes. And if you have any doubt, go to kitchen and ask your chef to do it again. A piece of advice: next time when you feed your kids marshmallows, please tell me where the gelatin comes from.
Holy vegetarians, you may stay home and cook yourselves, but how purely vegetarian your food would still be is something I doubt. !