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Saturday, 17 September 2011

What’s the Point of a Fishless Fish Finger?

This is an old blog post saved as a draft I've just published. I no longer eat quorn as it contains egg.

This week I bought a box of Quorn fishless fish fingers. I also have a packet of Quorn ham in the fridge, veggie sausage mix in the cupboard and soya mince, fake frankfurters, veggie bacon and veggie sausages in the freezer. I know what you’re thinking, “just what sort of vegetarian is this woman”. If you are a vegetarian yourself, you might be disgusted that I am eating these processed foods which are designed to resemble meat and if you eat meat you might be wondering why, if I am prepared to eat something parading itself as meat, don’t I just eat meat itself.

So here’s my answer. I am under no illusion that my veggie sausages are anything like real sausages (having said that a fellow mum didn’t realise the sausage rolls at N’s birthday party were actually vegetarian) and I don’t care. I haven’t eaten ‘real’ meat for 25 years. I know I used to like the taste of meat (I became a vegetarian for ethical and financial reasons not for culinary ones), but I can’t actually remember what meat tastes like. I do know I don’t like the smell of meat now, so I am personally quite glad that ‘fake’ meat isn’t too close to the real thing. Fake meat does however, lend protein and variety to my diet and is sometimes a welcome short cut.

I do like lentils, nuts, rice and beans and curiously, if cooking for non-vegetarians these are the sort of ingredients I’ll stick to. I only very rarely and with extreme caution give them ‘fake’ meat because although I do know some meat eaters who eat vegetarian sausages and mince through choice (it tending to be lower in fat than its meat counterparts), why compete in a losing race – I can choose meatless cuisines from all over the world that were designed to be that way rather than trying to trick people who'll look unfavourably on the imposter.

I am also quite wary of other people offering me 'meaty' alternatives. A few years ago, in Peru, I was served up 'Quorn' while in the jungle by someone who confessed they didn't agree with vegetarianism and had tried to feed me soup with the chicken fished out. I never asked where he managed to purchase such an ingedient in the Amazon. Instead I chose to disbelieve him and discretely passed the 'fake' Quorn to my companion under the table before taking the drastic action of knocking my front teeth out - ok so the last bit wasn't part of the 'not eating his food' plan but it was very effective at getting me out of tricky meal situations.

Anyway, back to the point: S really likes fake meat. He was a confirmed vegetarian long before we met, but he came to it at an older age than me and he’s not keen on cooking; he’d happily eat veggie burger and chips every day if I let him. I don’t, but cooking for a family’s is about compromise, so this week fishless fish fingers are on the menu.

Speaking of which here is the menu this week:

Saturday – Chiara’s mozzarella pasta and tomato, red onion and cucumber salad (with enough for the freezer)

Sunday -Steamed suet pudding (or stuffed marrow if there are any when I go to the allotment) with roast veg (parsnips, potatoes, carrots and beetroot)

Monday – Mixed pepper fajitas and guacamole

Tuesday – Fishless fish fingers, chips and peas

Wednesday – Veggie sausages, mash, veg and onion gravy

Thursday – Baked potatoes with cheese and baked beans

Friday – Pasta with (veggie) herb and meatballs

Crikey, there’s a lot of comfort food in there. I suppose that’s a feature of the nights drawing in!

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