Vegfest 2017: Reality

Interest in fake cheese

I arrived at Olympia around two, and at first sight my worst fears seemed to be realised – long queues of people, many wearing t shirts with vegan slogans, at a food stall selling meals out of mock meat. I had my own lunch with me, and it looked a lot nicer than most of the stuff other people were eating.

Looking at the list of exhibitors I was surprised to see a number of animal charities including Cats’ Protection and Mayhew, and very pleased to see Veggie Pets were there. Ever since I visited Edgar’s Mission in Australia last year I have been keen to find out how possible it is to feed a cat a healthy vegetarian diet. It turns out that taurine, something cats need to be well is now made synthetically and that meat and fish based cat foods use this man made product.

The stall had lots of products for dogs, not so many for cats. Just two types of biscuit. I bought samples for MasterB to try, knowing I would be back again on Sunday and could get a big bag if he liked them. It seems I can buy tinned food online. Well how about that? Continue reading

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VegFest 2017

This weekend I have tickets for VegFest, not a music festival with vegan bands, but a food festival celebrating vegetarian food. I can’t go to the whole thing as I am working parts of the weekend. I’ve been looking forward to it, but last night I saw a programme with a piece about vegetarian food and now I am a bit worried.

All the food they featured mimicked meat. There was the line about vegetarian food that could tempt meat eaters; a comment, based on the fact that so much of the meat mimicking stuff would have passed the blindfold test, that vegetarian food has come a long way. I wasn’t giving the programme my full attention, but my expectations of the weekend’s VegFest have abated. One producer who made veggie burgers that taste like meat listed the various ingredients she uses that give the taste, texture and whatever else of meat. In other words, the things I dislike.

So will VegFest be about what I think of as vegetarianism, or a prosletysing force for people who’d like to cut meat out of their diets but still feel like they eating it? The Linda McCartney form of vegetarianism. Fine if that’s what you want, but I’m beginning to feel it should have another name to distinguish it from vegetarianism that doesn’t have any interest in recreating meat out of vegetables. Continue reading

The Making of a Militant Vegetarian

I’ve been a vegetarian, the ovo lacto variety, for most of my life, since I was twelve years old. So that means quite a few decades.

Mother thought i should be a member of the Vegetarian Society. I don’t know why I resisted, maybe she was expecting me to stump up my own membership fees out of my meagre pocket money. I think that must have been it, or otherwise she would have just signed me up anyway. But whatever the reason, I never joined.

I had a look at their site a while ago and thought it looked quite good, but couldn’t see any advantage in becoming a member. That changed on Saturday evening. I’d been working in Westminster and at the end of the day I was in Parliament Square. So were lots of other people. There had been a demonstration that ended in a rally. Corbynistas, anti-austerity protesters, anti-Theresa May protesters, and probably people who regard themselves as affiliated to other causes and groups were, by the time I was there, singing and dancing along to Bob Marley songs. Good for them. It all seemed very good natured and well behaved. I am all in favour of peaceful protest, of people taking to the streets to express their views. Had I not been working, who knows, I might have been there with them. Continue reading