By Hakeem Jimo
Just last weekend, I had an interesting conversation about vegetarian diet. These conversations come up regularely because, or so I think, whenever I say at a lunch or dinner table that I do not eat meat (and fish etc) a whole (meat) world is at stake. It was lunch time and the usual parade of chicken and fish dishes was tabled – followed by my request for ‘food without eyes which can look at me’.
Not that I am too paranoid yet, I always say that to ease the tension and give practical guidelines for the meal that will now specially prepared for me. I got fantastic plantain and boiled yam with a pepper stew.
It was all well but the conversation about why being a vegetarian went on. There were two questions at the heart of the talk. Firstly, what about the culinary pleasures of a eating when switching to a veg diet? Secondly, as food is playing an essential role in bringing people together, what happens to that social aspect when going veg?
During Christmas time or other festive season, these two topics are becoming more essential than ever. We come together in these times to enjoy the company of family or friends or colleagues and food is always at centre stage. What if that all is disrupted? Well, I can say that I did not bring that lunch gathering to an end last weekend – and I have never done so at any – neither the Christmas party I went afterwards. I always find some food – often the side dishes – get my plate and join the party. Everybody is still happy.
Only that I wish sometimes the variety for vegetarian and vegan options was a bit wider. And there are plenty of options. For any occasion. So I looked around the internet and found so many inspirations for a Veg Christmas.
By the way, I have observed that often the veg platters are the ones first gone even though hardly anyone claimed to live the Veg life. Veg recipes are appealing to everyone who loves food. The internet is flowing over with Veg options for Christmas and each year it is becoming more. Basically major food portals cannot afford anymore not to have put some thoughts in to the Veg lifestyle.
Here just a few I came across: The famous British chef Jamie Oliver features dozens of Christmas meals, deserts http://www.jamieoliver.com/ Equally BBC GoodFood presents 40 or so recipes for a Veg Christmas. The Vegetarian Society (www.vegsoc.org) also has lots of Christmas meal and deserts suggestions. This should be more than you can eventually eat and it is enough to make any festive family, friend, colleague get-together a very special one. I wish you a Merry Christmas!