Gransnet forums


Is a vegetarian diet that hard a concept to understand?

(107 Posts)
Titian1948 Sun 20-Jan-19 10:18:38

The author of the vegetarian recipes article on Gransnet ( has clearly never even met a vegetarian. Parmesan cheese never has and never will be vegetarian. The author seems to have some concept that some cheeses are not suitable because of their reference to vegetarian feta, however they omit to state the requirement with cheddar cheese. Then there's the white wine. Has the author never heard of isinglass either? Poor research like this has meant that I have gone hungry when eating out at friends houses and why I now choose to take my own dinner to be safe. The author will be putting pesto in my dinner next! And don't even get me started on the pescetarians (vegetarians have never eaten fish either) ?

Missfoodlove Sun 20-Jan-19 11:41:43

Oh dear!
To most people vegetarian means no meat or fish and vegan means nothing from an animal, eggs dairy etc.
You clearly have a very rigid approach, I would be very nervous inviting you for dinner. ?

Anja Sun 20-Jan-19 11:50:41

I know vegetarians that eat cheese.

Anja Sun 20-Jan-19 11:53:02

Here is a list of each level of vegetarianism, starting with the strictest.

Vegan: Vegans do not eat anything that comes from animals. This means that besides not eating meat, they will also not consume foods such as dairy, eggs or even honey. Many vegans take this method beyond their diet as well and avoid wearing animal products such a leather and wool.
Lacto Vegetarian: A lacto vegetarian does eat dairy, but does not eat eggs or any other type of meat.
Ovo Vegetarian: An ovo vegetarian does not eat meat or dairy, but does consume eggs.
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: This is the most common form of vegetarianism. A lacto-ovo vegetarian avoids all meat, but will consume dairy products and eggs.
Pollotarian: A vegetarian that consumes chicken.
Pescatarian: A vegetarian that consumes fish.
Flexitarian: The flexitarian follows a mostly vegetarian diet, but will occasionally eat meat. Many people who prefer the taste of fruits and veggies over meat are flexitarians without realizing it.

Greenfinch Sun 20-Jan-19 11:55:15

I wish all manufacturers would put "suitable for vegetarians "if it is.My DD and her family are strict vegetarians and I have to spend ages checking the ingredient for substances such as rennet

NanaandGrampy Sun 20-Jan-19 11:55:29

There was a young man on a programme we saw from Australia that announced he was ' Kangatarian' ….. he only ate Kangaroo meat confused

sodapop Sun 20-Jan-19 12:01:04

I agree Titian1948 a lot of us are unaware of the finer points of vegetarianism, but when your host has tried to accommodate your needs it seems rude to be so rigid in your approach. If you really feel so strongly about your diet then perhaps you should stick to eating with like minded friends. Most of us will try to supply a dish that is suitable for vegetarians but not within such strict parameters.

PECS Sun 20-Jan-19 12:01:50

Usually cheeses do say if rennet or other animal products are used.

Anja Sun 20-Jan-19 12:14:18

Most people will cater for special diets if informed beforehand. The recipes the OP is reading on GN states quite clearly what ingredients are used, so no-one is trying to sneak one over in her.

Stop being so stroppy and choose a recipe that aligns with your own regime, and better still add some of your own. Sounds like you’re just out to bang a drum.

M0nica Sun 20-Jan-19 12:34:21

titian, the simplest, and by far the most courteous thing to do when invited round by friends is ring them up, explain how strictly you stick to vegetarian standards and discuss the meal they plan so that you can explain any problems you may have.

It is what anyone with an allergy does and it causes no ill feeling. I would be very irritated by anyone who turned up at my house with their food in a bag. My instant reaction would be:'How ill-mannered, why didn't he/she ring me beforehand and explain the issues.

Several members of my family have quite extensive allergies and other friends have been on strict diets for a range of reasons. They have always rung me up explained the problem and I have sorted it.

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last year with a house party for 15, including a celebratory meal. Our party included three vegetarians, one person allergic to nuts and salmon, another, with an auto-immune disease and allergic to nuts, soya and fresh fruit, plus someone with IBS. I worked with my caterer and, except for separate main courses for the vegetarians, the starter and dessert could be eaten by everybody. Every night we had a buffet cold meal and that too provided food for everybody.

It can be done if the person concerned enables it by talking to their host/ess

merlotgran Sun 20-Jan-19 12:41:51

Read Anja's post, Titian. You clearly follow a vegan diet so you can't expect your stricter rules to apply to vegetarians.

We're flexitarians because we grow a lot of fruit and vegetables so some of our meals might also be suitable for vegans.

You sound very judgemental.

Titian1948 Sun 20-Jan-19 13:07:33

I'm not a vegan at all! I do eat eggs and vegetarian cheese. A lot of you have clearly missed my point here. I do clearly tell people my dietary restrictions beforehand in an open manner and have been met with comments like "I used a chicken stock cube in the stew, I hope that's OK", "I cooked the roast potatoes in the beef fat because I prefer them that way and I thought that you wouldn't mind", "I thought you were joking about the parmesan / pesto!". As for flexitarians, I have never heard such cobblers. You're omnivores! I am normal and don't need to be treated with kid gloves. I don't just eat with people who follow the same diet as me. I eat out a lot at places with my meat eating friends at places such as Meat Liquor, Wetherspoons, Pizza Express, etc and they have all wholeheartedly and unfailingly embraced what it is to provide food suitable for a vegetarian diet without treating me as if I'm weird.

nightowl Sun 20-Jan-19 13:12:19

Titian is right, not rigid at all. A vegetarian does not eat anything that either is, or contains a product from a dead animal. So rennet is out, and Parmesan cheese is always made using rennet. Some supermarkets produce hard cheeses that are vegetarian but if a recipe called specifically for parmesan it is not vegetarian. Same for wine, unless you know it is suitable for vegetarians it probably isn’t. That doesn’t make those objecting vegan.

Many vegetarians I know will bend their own rules a bit if eating at a friends house, for the sake of politeness. But if eating out or following a recipe, definitely not. Simple really.

merlotgran Sun 20-Jan-19 13:15:25

'Flexitarian' simply means the emphasis of the meal is on the vegetables and not meat or fish. Most meals are stand alone vegetarian dishes but meat or fish can be added.

Not cobblers at all - just a sensible way of eating a balanced diet.

Elegran Sun 20-Jan-19 13:20:39

Better to stick to those places, then, and refuse all invitations to well-meaning friends who try to accommodate you but may not quite manage. Even better, have a pleasant conversation with them about the details of your preferred diet as soon as you are invited to be a guest in their house.

Do you go to a lot of trouble to cook them meat dishes or things containing milk products when they eat at yours, or do you expect them to follow your rules? Or do you just not invite them as you and they are so incompatible That would be the simplest answer. Perhaps they too will come to feel that is so.

Grammaretto Sun 20-Jan-19 13:28:36

Clarity is everything I'm vegetarian but not as strict as some . I.e about rennet or isingglass. I probably should not even call myself a veggie!
I once hosted a family of refugees for a Sunday . I was told they were vegetarian and staying at a nearby barracks they had no access to cooking facilities.
I prepared afternoon tea. They politely declined my scones etc. Through broken English it emerged they were vegan. Slightly in despair, I asked if they would like to help me to cook a meal.
It turned out to be a brainwave. The woman had previously cooked for 10 back home.
I gave her free run of my kitchen and a couple of hours later we sat down to the best Asian food I have ever tasted. 9 dishes at least all from the contents of my kitchen!
We never saw the family again as they were moved but I hope they settled somewhere and are still cooking.

jamsidedown Sun 20-Jan-19 13:33:37

My sister in law gave me dinner once,knowing I’m a veggie. She gaily told me that the lettuce soup I was eating was made with chicken stock, and wondered why I stopped eating it! I try not to be too prescriptive when eating with friends and I have been known to remove strips of bacon off the top of a stew as the Spanish don’t seem to think of bacon as meat! However I do think boasting of using chicken stock to a veggie is thoughtless.

sodapop Sun 20-Jan-19 14:07:57

Well said Elegran that does grate a bit with me that most ( not all) vegetarians expect their host to accommodate their needs but do not reciprocate.

Auntieflo Sun 20-Jan-19 14:19:00

Reminds me of Gran from The Royle Family asking whether a vegetarian visitor could eat ‘wafer thin ham’. smile
Apologies for bringing the tone down, but couldn’t resist!

Anja Sun 20-Jan-19 14:26:05

Clarity is everything is spot on. Most omnivores would not know about rennet and isinglass. Some vegetarians are stricter than others.

If I’m told I can always substitute a vegetarian cheese in a dish as an example. I agree that chicken stock cubes in a soup for a vegetarian guest is just Not On.

Jalima1108 Sun 20-Jan-19 14:39:31

I would be very nervous inviting you for dinner.
Missfoodlove me too.

Not because of the difficulty with food but because of the way the OP is written! I'm afraid, Titian that you sound quite demanding and rude about your friends, not at all like someone I would welcome round for dinner.

I've catered for vegetarians, coeliacs, lactose intolerants, pescatarians but not yet a vegan.
I would probably ask a vegan in advance to bring something for themselves as I'[d hate to serve them a pea, a bean which may have just been pollinated by a bee.

Anja Sun 20-Jan-19 14:48:22

My cousin is a very strict vegan. Must say she looks well on it. She always says ‘don’t worry about me I’ll just have the vegetables’. I serve her first before adding any butter etc to them. I feel guilty but she’s quite happy munching away and it does mean I always have a extra-wide selection of veg to feed everyone.

Jalima1108 Sun 20-Jan-19 14:50:43

apparently anything pollinated by bees is not strictly vegan.

M0nica Sun 20-Jan-19 15:02:23

I think flexitarian is a silly word, used by people trying to bamboozle others.

Flexitarians are omnivores with pretensions, all that omnivore means is that you eat animal products as well as vegetables. It doesn't mean that you eat meat based products at every meal, or every day or even every month, it just means you do eat it now and again and have no objections to it be included in your diet.

Nannarose Sun 20-Jan-19 15:13:25

Whilst Titian is correct (my parents had a friend who was a very old-fashioned strict vegetarian) many people these days are more flexible.
That means that people who don't understand the finer points (and I agree, that's quite a lot of us) get confused. A lot of 'vegetarians' don't check out the wine and so most of us think 'oh, they drink wine'. And a lot of people mistakenly think cheese is made without rennet these days.
I am fairly on the ball, but got muddled between pecorino and parmesan once and gave a vegetarian the wrong one. Fortunately she was forgiving and pleasant about it, saying it can be difficult to remember; promoting her cause much better than if she had been exasperated by me!
I agree that you should speak to the host/ess and say 'I'm actually quite a strict vegetarian, could I just check.....' And I would also say to take your own wine as it is usually unclear as to whether isinglass has been used (I think it isn't used much now, but not easy to know)