(asked by Lilliem from the US)
I just read your blog, and I thought it was really cool and helpful! I do have one question though. I’m going on an exchange to France this summer as a student and staying with a host family. I have been a vegetarian for five years, you mentioned before that you and your friends were talking about it. I was just wondering, do you think that this would really affect my trip? I don’t want to burden anyone, or freak anyone out!
Am I allowed to say “ass” in a title?
Mmm… What? Of course I can! Why did I even wonder? Something’s telling me that’s because I watch too much American TV that’s why…
Where was I?
Oh yeah, vegetarians in France, same old, same old…
Two things come into play here.
First, recently the UNESCO did what it never did before; it designated a national cuisine as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity,” that is the French one.
To make sure we’re on the same page – I remember a commenter misunderstanding last time we talked about it – what we, the UNESCO and I, talk about here, is not the fancy schmancy overpriced cuisine that you will find in three stars restaurants. It is the every day meals and food most French people consume on a more or less daily basis.
And, do you know why French cuisine/food/meals/call-it-what-you-want is among the best cuisines in the world (and officially recognized as such now)?
Because it respects two things.
First, it respects the food itself (although, evil corporations like Monsanto are trying to take France over more and more, just like they’ve taken over a big chunk of food resources in many other places, more on them another day maybe).
By that I mean, the quality of the food matters a lot (and no, quality is not synonym with low fat, it is synonym with as natural as possible, among other things).
Then, it respects the human body.
See where I’m going there?
Yes, evolution made us humans omnivorous beings. It is most likely one of the reasons why we ended up on top of the evolutionary ladder. You know what’s good with being as little specialized as possible when it comes to food? If your food source disappears, you don’t disappear with it. How long do think Pandas and Koalas will last if bamboos or eucalyptus (respectively) disappear?
When you can eat many different things, your species simply can’t be wiped out because of lack of your source of food. And I’m not even going to go into the most technical aspects of being omnivorous (energy efficiency, ratio of time spent eating/looking for food/doing other things, etc).
Remember, in “survival of the fittest” people very often misunderstand “fittest” as “strongest.” This is not what it means. It has nothing to do with strength, the “fittest” here, means the most adaptable, the one that “fits” the situation the best, not the one that spent the most time at the gym. And when it comes to food, fittest means being as omnivorous as possible.
In other words, humans are omnivorous by nature, there shouldn’t even be a debate about it, and how some people can deny their own nature when it comes to eating is beyond not only my comprehension, but is also insulting to our very distant ancestors who brought us where we are now thanks to them eating animals and plants! Not just one or the other.
And French cuisine acknowledges that.
French cuisine understands and respects human nature, and this is why it is one of the best in the world.
Actually have you noticed that vegetarians are a rarity in countries where cuisine is the best and where good food is a big part of the culture and everyday life?
I know very little French vegetarians, and all of them are not exactly right in their head (I don’t blame nor mock them, you don’t blame nor mock sick people, but for most of them being a vegetarian is more an eating disorder than anything else). I don’t know any Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese vegetarians, and incidentally, they happen to also have some of the best cuisines in the world.
Worst national cuisines? Definitely the Anglo-countries. Biggest percentages of vegetarians? Anglos? Coincidence? I think not.
That was the first reason why you should leave this vegetarian nonsense aside when you’re in France.
The second reason is even simpler, and is definitely not up for debate (because I assume I will receive a certain number of interesting comments about that first part).
You said you were going to stay with a host family.
Well, in this case, your situation cannot be simpler food-wise. You stay at somebody’s place; you eat what they cook for you. End of story.
Being picky when you’re a guest is simply seen as being extremely rude in France. It is one of the things that will instantly label you as a “stupid spoil brat,” and which will most likely make your hosts lose all respect for you, and even worse, it will reflect on your whole country.
So if you go stay with a French host family, my very first advice will be: you eat your steak and snails and you shut up or don’t bother going at all.
One of my best friends in France is vegetarian. He’s got mood swings when it comes to eggs and milk (difficult to bake without those) but he’s pretty much a vegetarian most of the time. The solution he found to being the oddball when we gather to eat? He cooks darn good food! Of course we’ll serve stinky cheese, charcuterie and other animal derived food at the table, but he’s taking care of his own food preference and shares his recipe with us. It’s win-win! When a good vegetarian recipe is worth trying he’s delighted to enlighten us and we still indulge with our favorite meaty treats. And that’s the whole point about food, in France or anywhere: it’s about sharing.
Yes and just to make sure that nobody gets me wrong, there are indeed very good vegetarian recipes (as well as there are very good carnivorous recipes: I like my magret alone in its plate). It’s sticking to just one or the other that I don’t approve of.
Also, I admit that I have a higher tolerance for vegetarians that accept that they’re weirdos that adapt themselves to normal people and don’t ask for normal people to adapt to them. Your friend seems to be the good kind. (I have a secret to share, I have a few vegetarian friends… they’re not French… one gives up on being a vegetarian when he visits France to not miss on the good food… smart guy.)
I’m latinamerican trying to spend a good time in France, and food is FABULOUS!! you don’t want to miss it, trust me!
So Lilliem, even if you manage your host family to get you vegetarian food, don’t go around saying things like they shouldn’t rabbit because they’re cute animals. That’s a pain in the ass!
Eli, when vegetarians to make me feel guilty or something with their “you’re eating little cute animals” diatribes, I usually respond by giving as many graphic details as I can about eating those cute little bunnies (in France, you cook them with the head still on by the way).
Ahem, Mexico got honoured too. We didn’t hear much about that in France did we?
If I had to choose one single thing that I love above all else about France, well, French people - they never pick their noses up at what’s being served. At ALL. Ever. If I had to eat tongue at my mother in laws so will you and you will say thank you and mean it. Lots of fun!
Great post, as ever.
Well, I thought about mentioning all of the almost 300 other “intangible cultural heritages of humanity” from the UNESCO, but I thought it would be a little counterproductive, wouldn’t it?
So sure, this one is about food too. However -and I could be wrong- it is my understanding that this one covers “traditional cuisine” from one State of Mexico. Not exactly the same thing as the one for French, as it honors the whole cultural thing that is “eating in France”, the food, the dishes, all of them, traditional and non-traditional, but also the act of getting together and share a meal, etc.
I can’t say I’m a vegetarian (I love food too much for that) even if most time, I eat quite like one. Still, from time to time, I get my share of meat and fish etc, and they’re fabulous. Nonetheless, for someone considering transitioning between the two, a stomach that hasn’t been processing meat protein for a while may find themselves with upset tummy for a few days. Each to his/her own
See, it’s kinda my problem with America these days. The whole “to each his own” taking over everything, and that makes people confusing facts and opinions more and more to the point that many people have a perception of reality totally distorted by their ideologies.
Go tell gravity you don’t believe in it while falling from a cliff, if you see what I mean.
well i think those ideologies-driven motivation don’t just involve food - watch the daily show with jon stewart any day and he’ll expose a whole bunch of craziness in US to a whole new level. quite scary really.
i do say, folks there who try to defend vegetarianism that go on and on about how environmentally damaging etc raising meat is, they should look at the farming policies in US. all the intensive industrial corn growing, meat rearing etc are damaging because of the uncontrolled scale of monogenous farming at each site. if they mimic how nature does it best - i.e. good farming practice with a variety of products grown (because let’s face it, everything is interconnected) then animal farming is actually important to maintain soil health and balanced ecosystem.
i highly recommend reading “the omnivore’s dilemma” - plenty of food for thought there.
Oh don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean only with food, but pretty much with everything. Many Americans seem so disconnected with reality these days that I really fear for your country, not even Colbert and Stewart will be able to save it (even though they seem to be the only two public figures addressing the issue).
And agree with you about vegetarians that are for environmentalist reasons. They start with a good point, except that if there were really following through, they should just stop eating. Crops are damaging the environment as much if not more than cattle these days (hence my mention of Monsanto in my post)
Liking your new blog and the layout!
I agree with you to a certain point, about respecting food and being omnivorous. I used to be a vegetarian for a while, but then I felt a bit ridiculous, and stopped. Also, even in my culture it is considered disrespectful to not eat what is provided to you. I felt like I was disrespecting my mum by not eating the food she cooked for me.
But there are also some places, like India, which has a long culinary history too, and lovely dishes, but there are many people who are vegetarian due to religion.
But then I guess you could say that most of the most famous & delicious Indian dishes are given to us by a mixture of Persian/Turkish/Mughal/etc cultures, which are more recent things (comparatively) than the ancient vedic values, etc….hmnn….
Thanks for liking the new layout.
Yes, I thought about talking about India, but that would have led us to talk about the issue of food and religion and I was afraid to stray too far from the original topic.
Also, I’m not that knowledgeable about Indian food, the only one I have ever had was in Paris, I didn’t find it that great (while I always hear a lot of people raving about it), not bad either, don’t get me wrong, and it had meat in it anyway…
Oh I think you will like Indian food, but it must be eaten from authentic sources - which is pretty much homemade.
I agree with you - hotel cooked Indian food is not that great. A lot of Westerners tend to really like it, and it tastes good, but not as good as home cooked food, and they have never tasted home cooked Indian food.
In hotels they just add a ton of chili, thinking that Indian food should be very hot and spicy. Well, spicy doesn’t equal chili. Spicy means cooking food slowly in a variety of rich flavours and cooking it till it’s tender and the aroma of the spices is embedded in the food. Cooking slowly in earthen pots or copper utensils is also the best way to cook for Indian food.
Ok, sorry for going on for so long, I just wanted to put that somewhere.
P.S. that mustache in the blog header is so cute!
I was mentioning Indian food in Paris, not in hotels. But I guess that doesn’t change the point, as none is homemade anyway.
Thanks for the mustache, I didn’t do the new logo, my friend did, I’ll tell him.
Frenchman, the word “hotel” is widely used in Indian English to designate what is referred to in the US, UK and most (if not all) other English-speaking countries as a “restaurant”.
I had no idea.
I am vegetarian and travel to France 2 or 3 times a year and have been for 20 years. I do get a lot of questions and concern about how do I stay healthy, but I find most are very accommodating and have no big problem with it. I even worked on a goat farm in southern Burgundy and had no problem at all. Meat is something I just won’t eat. I don’t have to. There are so many options on a typical French dinner table, vegetables, cheese, omelettes, whatever. So many of my friends come here from France and refuse to eat a lot of things we typically eat here in the US, and that’s cool. I’d rather make my guests happy instead of saying this is food. This is reality. Get used to it.
You seem to have a good attitude about it (it’s really vegetarians that are all preachy and need special dishes just for them and things like those that annoy me).
Yet, shame on your friends for not trying new things when they’re abroad.
So what if eating meat makes you ill ?
Well, if somebody has a medical condition that prevents them from processing meat, this is a different issue.
I’m talking people that are vegetarians by choice, those who think they’re doing something for the environment this way, or those who don’t want to eat those little fuzzy creatures because they’re so cute (so if they’re ugly, is it ok to eat them?)
I agree, generally speaking, with your ideas about the obvious correlation between the absence of taste and culture about food in a country and the number of vegs . Germany ans Scandinavian countries follow the Anglos in that point .
But it’s not an absolute truth . I wanted to write about India, whose cuisine is highly refined and cultured, and where you meet many vegetarians , not only for religious reasons but also because of their unversal medicine, ayurvedic . They keep their good health from what they eat, and it works for a veg if there’s a high knowledge underneath . Of course this kind of real millenary knowledge isn’t found in western childish groups . But some people already spoke of India.
In my other travels, I had the surprise of discovering a cuisine whose written recipes were as elaborated and refined as French ones, and heavilly vegetarian based ( maybe because of money ) . I mean Bahianese cuisine . Not Brazilian, specifically Bahianese . I was amazed when I discovered that, and few people seem to have heard about it . Here again you find the combination of a real taste and culture with vegetarianism .
This leads me to the second point : weirdos . I agree most of the time vegs piss me off because of their attitude, not because of their choice . But I have a friend who, from a humanity point of view, is one of the most admirable person I ever heard about, who is a fabulous cook, and who is vegetarian, for her and her kids . ( She’s a splendid cook for meat too when she wants it ) . Of course she’s not intolerant at all, and nobody can be further from weirdo than her .
It’s like for everything : the best ones are the more tolerant ones .
You’re right, Bahianese cuisine is unknown, I had never heard about it.
Concerning “vegetarianism for financial reasons” yes, it exists in many regions, I also didn’t want to get into it here to stick on topic as much as possible.
In my country lots of people are poor but nobody, and I mean NOBODY , would ever give up eating meat. When a Romanian hears of “vegetarianism” he just needs time to adjust to the concept. Time like… for ever. In our culture it is very hard to understand how a healthy man would not eat meat. Women, well, they can pretend just about anything!
Yeah for Romanians…
Although I assume that by “poor” Phildange meant really poor, like the poorest Romanian is still rich compared to those regions in the world.
I am a French vegetarian (actually: vegan) and my family and friends are totally ok with that. Their main concern, at first, was health-related (“where are you getting your protein?!”) but 15 years later, they all have to agree that I am in better shape than many
In restaurants, I usually ask for garnitures/ assiettes de légumes, and, maybe because I am friendly and polite, people look surprised at first but are very accommodating.
I am also a very good cook, and so far no French person ever dissed my cuisine because it was carcass-free (quite the opposite)
France has a lot of beautiful, colorful and delicious plant-based dishes (esp. in the South) and that’s also part of our patrimoine.
See, this is my problem with you Vegans. Your hollier-than-thou attitude. I mean, you’re sick people, we should have pity for you, try to help you, things like this. But no, you have to come and either be preachy or try to disgust your audience with a “carcass” here or a “dead meat” there (guess what, you’re the only one disgusted, we are aware we’re eating dead meat, we’re just fine with it, because this is what the world is made up, living beings eating previously living beings).
Now, one day, I’d like to know why it is wrong to kill animals but not wrong to kill plants (because you’re killing as much as anybody else here, except we don’t hide between fallacies and hypocrisy), if you respect life that much, I don’t really understand why such a difference (I’m being rhetorical, I do understand why, see previous statement, the one mentioning hypocrisy).
Oh well, I won’t waste my time much more with you, been there done that, I won’t convince you, just make you mad if this goes on just a little more.
YOU are the sick on if you believe an individual is “sick” simply for choosing a vegetarian/vegan diet.
YOU were the one who went on the attack against the original poster’s questions in the first place, instituting YOUR holier-than-thou opinions regarding the subject.
I say all this as a regular meat-eater (but I do have a vegetarian other-half)
Your assumptions are truly making an ASS of yourself in this post.
Indeed Kevin, indeed…
What about who just don’t like meat? I know such, they would much rather have a vegetable soup than a steak. And I know people who really despise the taste of meat, there are some who don’t like its smell as well. I see nothing wrong with that. How will they be perceived in France?
I’m not one of these people, I love meat.
How are they perceived in France?
Mmmm… I don’t think they’re a large enough population to have a general reputation in any given country…
Personally, I’d think they’re weirdos or in the closet vegetarians.
I mean, you cannot seriously say “I don’t like the taste of meat” and mean it.
There are as many different flavors in meat as there are animal species, and even more so, as the same animal species will taste different depending on where it’s from, what subspecies not even mentioning the way it is cooked.
One cannot “not like the taste of meat” as there are hundreds if not thousands different “tastes of meat”.
Hello ! Very true indeed. In France vegetarians are not really well-perceived.
But I come from the south of France where we eat much more vegetables, fruit, fish and cereals, and very few products made of cow milk. And I can tell that it is a paradise for me who have grown up in Paris and always had a disgust for red meat. In provence we make complete vegetarian meals (without even really wanting it… it’s just that when it gets really hot, you just cannot do otherwise).
So I want to make everyone remember that it does’nt exist only ONE French cooking (that is to say the one Frenchman is obviously talking about). But a variety of different cooking all over the country (with a common basis that’s true). Having Breton origins I can even tell you that cooking in Brittany is great too… with much salty butter !! (Sans beurre, un breton meurt).
French cooking is so diversified that everyone will find his/her happiness. And even if you meet some rude people (unfortunately it happens that there are some even in France) who will make tactless remarks (but they are not truly French if they are tactless), the French want their guests to be happy and to feel at ease. So they will try their best to satisfy you.
Be clever and open, just tell people what you cannot ABSOLUTELY eat (such as rabbit… because you have a rabbit pet for example, which is my case since I’m 5). But always try to taste everything, you might be surprised. French people like curious persons. And they like to share food (don’t be on a diet, people on a diet are even more annoying than vegetarians… refusing to take the dessert is sacrilegious). And… ask for more vegetable ! Tout simplement ! (twice, three times… so that the cook will be certain that you adore his/her cooking).
Voilà. En France aussi il y a des personnes tout à fait équilibrées qui adorent manger… mais qui refusent de manger leurs animaux de compagnie et ne sont pas fadas de viande.
Should I sense some competition with the nickname you took?
Just one thing: “that it does’nt exist only ONE French cooking (that is to say the one Frenchman is obviously talking about)”
I’d like to know what is “the one I’m obviously talking about” here, because I don’t.
The one that is not mine of course.
(Ok, I was just trying to tease you… but as my Anglo-saxon friends keep on telling me, I should not try to be funny because it is widely recognized that humour is such an un-French thing.)
And no competition (how could that be possible ?). I just like to read comments where people make there origins obvious when it comes to cultural conversations. And I chose “girl”, not “woman”… that was definitely to point out that I was younger, and therefore respecting the wise elder (and intellectual literary person), as any proper French should.
I have to say, I found this entry a little distressing. I’ve been planning to move to France for a while (currently in England, too many English people for my taste), and until I read your blog the issue of vegetarianism made me worry slightly. Now, it makes me fret and bite my nails.
While I am what you would call a ‘by choice” vegetarian, I try my best not to be one of the moralizing, self-righteous windbags that I’ll admit most of us are. No, I have my own reasons for not wanting meat, I see no reason to tell anyone what they are unless I am asked, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to claim any kind of moral superiority. Just as I have reasons for not wanting meat, other people have reasons that they do want it, which I respect. Of course, I would wish for the same respect in return.
I also have to say, with all respect to you, that I do not agree that humans are ‘meant’ to eat meat. Certainly, we are meant to be *able* to eat meat, but what it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do. We’re equally able to survive with or without it, so I do not believe that it is in any way going against our nature to go without it.
I find there’s a great deal of hypocrisy in vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I was talking with someone from South Africa once, and I mentioned that some countries have horse-meat as part of their diet. That disgusted them in the extreme, which frankly baffled me because this same person was quite happy to eat pork, beef and so on. Is a horse any less of an animal than a cow? Horses are very nutritious, I gather. Some Siberian settlements rely on horse-meat to stay alive.
But enough of my prattle. The point of my comment is this: If I were to be invited to someone’s home in France to take a meal with them, would it be so extremely rude of me to ask for meat-free food and to refuse to eat meat? If so, my only course of action must be to avoid being a dinner-guest when I am in France. The last thing I want to do is offend my host, but if I cannot avoid offending my host without eating meat, what am I to do?
Anyway, I enjoy the blog a lot and I hope my long-winded rambling has not bored you.
Yeah, be afraid, be very afraid.
“other people have reasons that they do want it”
Yes, it’s called being an omnivorous animal.
We won’t debate any further the issue about whether human should eat meat or not, the issue has been settled, the verdict given and the vote tallied: you’re wrong. If you’re religious, blame God, if you’re not, it’s a little harder to blame evolution, but you’ll have to.
The fact that some people will eat certain types of meat and not other types of meat depending on their cultures is not hypocrisy (as long as it comes from the culture), some cultures find certain types of food ok and some not ok.
Personally, I base myself only on biology, so I’d eat anything that’s edible if needed (no people “cannibalism” is not part of “edible”, very few animals eat their own, mostly because it’s not healthy), even if I have my own preferences (I admit that it would be hard for me to eat “balut”), but this applies to vegetarians too, I’m sure you won’t eat any edible plant, you will find some gross.
Have you tried “nattô”? Or much less exotic things such as French (European?) wild asparagus?
That being said, horse meat is indeed delicious and one of my favorite, too bad it’s so expensive and so hard to find nowadays.
So, if you get invited in a French home, you’d better tell in advance you don’t eat meat, well in advance (before the groceries are bought), basically at the very moment you’re invited. Then it won’t be considered rude. That doesn’t mean that you should expect something special in your plate, you’ll just get the veggies that were planned for that day, sans meat.
If you don’t warn ahead and wait until you’re sitting at the table, yes, it’ll be considered somewhere in between rude and insulting depending on the people.
I hope this helps.
I think that when I visit France, I’ll give up my vegetarianism, because their slaughter methods are much more contolled and humaine than those in the U.S. (with the exception of fois gras! But I’d still eat fois gras if my host family serves it, because I know it’s expensive, and I don’t want to piss anyone off!) Do you think that’d be the best thing to do? (I’m guessing you do.)
Of course I approve.
The rule of thumb when you are in any country to have th best possible experience is to eat what locals eat.
Food is a major part of a country’s culture and a major part of traveling. And it baffles me when I see foreigners wanting to eat only food they’re used to when they’re abroad.
As far as inhumane ways of killing animals is concerned, and for once, I’ll be totally serious, no vegetarian-bashing, no sarcasm.
I think being a vegetarian for these reasons, while noble, is misguided. Refusing to eat meat because animals are treated badly doesn’t help the cause at all. Intelligent militantism can.
Example: If you say “don’t eat meat, they treat animals badly”, well that will fall into many dead ears, mine included.
If you say “don’t eat that meat, they mistreated the animals, eat this meat, the animals were treated as well as possible” The response will be much different. From customers, but also from meat producers.
Of course, I over simplify the thing here, research must be done on the “how” but you get the idea.
The problem is not eating meat. The problem is industrialization of food. And vegetables are included in the problem.
And as far as foie gras is concerned, don’t believe the lies of PETA and alike (if I had the guy from PETA who’s leading their anti-foie gras campaign in front of me, it wouldn’t be a good moment for him, it’s one thing to have a cause, it’s another to spread lies and propaganda the way they do it on the topic).
Ducks and Geese used for foie gras are treated as humanely as possible, that is more humanely than any chicken in the US.
Sure they’re being overfed, there’s no denying that.
Except that the whole liver becoming fat thing is a totally natural process with these birds, this is how they store reserves. Why do you think it works only with them? Why is there no chicken Foie Gras? Because chicken and all other farm birds don’t have that ability.
Then, their life is a very happy life, they’re free range and they lead a life that many many animals, both domestic and wild would envy.
Yes, another cliché is that domestic animals are “prisonners” and that is against nature.
On the one hand, most domestic animals don’t exist in the wild, they were “created” by human in neolithic times.
And on the other hand, people usually tend to have a rosy and quite unrealistic view of the life of a wild animal is. It’s a life of fear and stress basically. Constant fear and stress of being eaten or of not finding enough food to survive.
One last thing about Foie Gras, I’m from and currently live in “foie gras country” in France, all the things I’m saying and I know about it, I know first hand (I do know some foie gras producers personally)
I have heard of terrible images of ducks being raised in “foie gras factories” like chicken are in the US, where animals can’t move nor breathe, often die and other niceties. I’m not sure where those images are from, but while they’ve been labeled as “French” by the assholes at PETA, they don’t come from France.
I have heard of cheap bad quality foie gras coming from Romania and Bulgaria. That could be it (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is sold as “French” in the US).
Once again, the problem is not the food, it’s its industrialization, capitalism, and the obsession with larger profit.
Thanks so much for the response, and yeah, I completely agree. I just refrain from eating meat because restaurants and grocery stores where I live don’t carry meat that’s been humanely raised and killed. It’s the factory farming and cruelty that I have a problem with.
Thanks also for enlightening me when it comes to French foie gras. I can’t believe that they try to blame France for all problems with foie gras! That’s horrible!
I really hate all of the other clichés, and what you said about domestic animals is true. It’s so stupid of people to think that humans shouldn’t own pets. (Did you hear about Peta saying that pets should now be called “animal companions”? It’s bullshit.)
Well, PETA is bullshit.
They’re just another bunch of lunatics created by the perversion of the “everyone is entitled to their opinion” way of (not) thinking in the US.
I agree with you on the Anglo-cusine aspect. I’m actually Vegan here in the United States, though I’m often tempted by French Food and Mexican Food. However, I do think that the way animals and what not are raised here is totally unsustainable and wrong. I’m speaking as someone from “cattle country,” who grew up around massive dairies and ranches. However, I’m learning French and will study in Paris next Summer. I will not be vegan or even Vegetarian there. The food seems so much better and more sustainable. Here in the United States, everything is radiated and pasteurized and every other unnatural thing someone could do to food. In most other countries, the opposite seems true. The only time I think about eating meat is when I’m among French People. When I’m around my fellow Americans, I have no desire to do so.
I live across the street from one of the best French Restaurants in my city, and am thinking of trying the food there. I think my study of the French Language and French Culture will be the end of my Veganism, especially once I land in France. I will say I agree with the “Spoiled Brat” thing you said as well. One of my good friends made me tea and put milk in it, and I happily drank it without complaint (Which I guess makes me a ‘bad’ vegan). Sometimes I also want to eat cheese, but then I think of how processed it is and I figure I’ll eat cheese in when I’m in Europe or Canada. Alas, I do think you hit the nail on the head with the “Anglo food sucks!!” I don’t think I could say I studied French at all if I didn’t eat the food there. I figure If someone wants to travel and actually loves to travel, they should eat the local food no matter where they are. Since I’d be living in an apartment in Paris, I figure it’d be relatively easy to stay vegan and cook for myself, but where’s the fun in that?! You only live once, might as well taste and see everything you can. Even if that makes me a ‘bad’ vegan.
Amen to that.
And by the way “French Culture will be the end of my Veganism” best phrase I’ve read today!
Concerning being vegetarian or vegan because of the way the American food industry treats food, see what I wrote in another comment, I don’t think it’s the best answer to it, not mentioning the fact that the food industry treats plants (and all that’s linked to plants, I mean, insects, soils and a whole bunch of other things) as badly. Yet you guys still eat the plants.
Oh I agree, there’s a lot wrong with plant farming too. My motivations for being vegan though is more motivated by the local water situation in New Mexico and the way the Dairies play and exploit the system which in turn actually hurts ranchers and farmers, while using tremendous amounts of water. New Mexico is probably the driest of all the American states, so water really does equal life here. It’d be a really long and boring post if I posted all the specifics, but in the end, I have seen the local dairies put family farms out of business, and they use so much water it’s insane. If I was not in New Mexico and water was plentiful, it might be a different story. I’m just very turned off by the lengths the Dairy Industry goes to to escape regulations everyone else lives by. I’m from a ranching and farming family, and so I am deeply troubled by these massive industrial operations that are putting regular people out of work. Coming from a rural farm and ranch area probably gives me a different perspective than the average urbanite vegan who has never been on a ranch, but, I really do not like dairies. I’ve thought of eating meat and not dairy, and I have before. There’s just not a lot of good meat available where I’m living right now. Oh man, I tried to keep this really short, but it still seems long, so I’m going to stop.
I still think it’d be tremendously rude for the original question asker to be vegetarian when someone in France are graciously welcoming them into their home. New Mexico’s water situation does not apply in France, she should just be happy she gets to travel.
Lol. You’re deliberately being provactive
Came across this today…I’m not a vegetarian, I know it’s old, but I just wanted to share something with you:
In France, 3% of the population is vegetarian.
In the US, 3% of the population is vegetarian.
In Italy, 10% of the population is vegetarian.
In India, 40% of the population is vegetarian (this also includes a very large number of complete vegans)
So by your logic, French food and American food are equally good because we have equal rates of vegetarianism, Italian food is really mediocre, and Indian food is complete and total shit.
Hmm…that doesn’t sound right…
I’d also like to say, living in the US and having friends from Germany and Sweden, Americans are carnivores and one of the first things my Swedish and German friends notice whenever they go to the US is the amount of meat we eat, and the frequency at which we eat it.
Also, you list Asian cuisines as some of the best in the world. It’s hard for me not to bias, of course (I’m more into middle eastern food, which, oddly enough, has a lot of vegetarian dishes). I just want to know-has anyone ever been to China? I’ve lived there, and I’ve had friends who have lived there. This is a thing that is known about China-their quality of meat is quite poor, and the food they eat there is nothing like what you will find in the west. That doesn’t mean the food is terrible, they make the best noodles, tofu, and vegetables, but the meat their is nothing to crow about. When I was at a banquet and they came out with a plate of cubes of cooked animal fat with little hairs sticking out of it, I wasn’t exactly thinking about how appetizing it is to be an omnivore…
**the meat THERE. Slow day.