Chris and I both really enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, although as a vegetarian I won’t be experimenting with meat dishes any time soon. Not that I have an issue with anyone who eats meat, we’re all free to make our own choices and one man’s meat is another man’s poison, as the saying goes. I decided to become vegetarian in my early twenties because I don’t like the taste and texture of meat, and when I think about it, I’m not sure I ever did. The only meat products I liked were those which were processed, and probably smothered in seasoning and gravy. And so, I have now been a vegetarian for around 30 years, and Chris is a confirmed meat eater with a cheese allergy and a particular liking for lamb. This does please our dog Whiskey, who was somewhat deprived until Chris came into our lives.
Chris does enjoy some of my veggie dishes, and curry is a particular favourite (to the surprise of his family, since he had always been a meat & 2 veg kind of chap). But very often, although we cook together, our meals are very different – Chris can be enjoying a full roast with me eating a warm salad. But it works for us.
I’ve never considered myself vegan, although there is currently a growing trend for this, in part inspired by many celebrities championing the cause. I worked at a retreat house for a while, and we hosted many groups that encourage spirituality and mindfulness. Together with food allergies and intolerance, we catered for myriad different diets, and I have to say that the chefs were absolutely amazing, introducing me to a whole new world of recipes. One thing always amused us though: the food would be presented with labels displaying the various ingredients, and invariably the guests would choose a dish including food that they had told us they couldn’t eat! We had vegans that would eat chicken, and people with wheat intolerances that would happily eat a regular slice of bread if it took their fancy.
Because Chris and I tend to cook from scratch with very little processed food, it did occur to me that a lot of my meals are in fact vegan – not by design, just by my own preference. But when Chris and I sat down and listed all of the food I do like, I have to admit that I consume more dairy products than I realise – I’m not keen on milk but I do like cheese, Greek yogurt and of course Lindt chocolate, so while I could try Veganuary, that would be as far as it goes!