BY ROGER WATSON
While vegans probably produce enough gas to solve the energy crisis, I am not referring to their flatus.
The fact is that the vegan tail is beginning to wag the omnivorous dog. This does not have to be the case.
The repeated reminders that food or drink are ‘suitable for vegans’ is nothing more or less than a subtle form of gaslighting. Just as the lights grew dim in the eponymous film Gaslight, and Ingrid Bergman’s character was convinced that she was wrong about the encircling gloom, efforts are being made to convince us that we are wrong to eat meat. Or businesses and other organisations are so supine that they concede to every whim and fancy of a tiny but vocal minority.
I was travelling between Hull and Manchester Airport recently on a TransPennine train. As I was in first class, and a trolley was wheeled on at Leeds, the trolley lady offered me a snack box. I was flying to Dublin from Manchester later that afternoon (not in first class) and I accepted along with a cup of tea.
Would it be a ham and pickle sandwich along with a few chocolate digestives? Would there be cheese and biscuits, a scone and clotted cream? Would there hell!
Everything was ‘vegan friendly.’
Imagine my disappointment.
There was a bag of crisps, but not proper salty crunchy ones made from potatoes which I thought, last time I checked, were suitable for vegans. There were some ghastly lemon (yes lemon!) and herby flavoured corn chips, a bag of unadulterated peanuts (that one might feed a monkey with) and a flapjack (things were looking up) and a chocolate cookie.
The crisps were truly awful, tastelessness tinged with lemon and mixed herbs. They lacked any kind of satisfying crunch. They just snapped in two and, being salivary enzyme resistant, rolled about in the mouth, before painfully going down the hatch.
The chocolate cookies deserve their own paragraph. I think the mixture was three of sand, one of cement, half of sugar and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. They crumbled, but not in a nice way. Imagine smashing a brick and putting a handful of what results into your mouth. The only difference would be that the crushed brick would taste nicer and be twice (at least) as nutritious.
Why is the strange preference for vegan food among an estimated 3% of the population dictating what the rest of the population increasingly has to suffer? Muslims constitute 6.5% of the population, yet we are not bombarded about halal food. Jews constitute 0.5% and we are not bombarded about kosher food. Coeliacs constitute 1% of the population yet, with the sensible indication that some foods are ‘gluten free’, we are not being forced to eat gluten free food.
The contents of the TransPennine snack box were particularly ghastly. Thankfully the tea came with real milk, and I was able to wash it all down without any lingering aftertaste, but TransPennine are not alone. I attend receptions frequently in my line of business and, increasingly, we are assured on the invitation that all the food served will be ‘suitable for vegans’. Likewise, the alcohol.
It’s gaslighting, plain and simple.
“The flapjack?”, I hear the astute remainder ask.
I thought there was not much that the vegans could do to spoil a flapjack. How wrong I was. A flapjack without butter is just oats and syrup.
One might as well chew one’s smalls.
Roger Watson is a Registered Nurse and Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Education in Practice.