It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a vegetarian in search of a good meal, must be in want of a meagre, greasy stir-fry (sorry Jane Austen). This truth is held, it seems, by the restaurateurs and café owners of Ireland, who presume that non-meat eaters are never hungry and that we relish small portions of oily, tasteless food. Most of them seem to believe that anything that isn’t awash in beef/cream/cheese/eggs/butter is just not worth cooking or eating.
But if the restaurant-going vegetarian is isolated, the vegan is in solitary confinement: they are handed the afore-mentioned stir-fry, or alternatively piles of lettuce with dry bread; sometimes they’re given mounds of mashed spud or sagging tomatoes stuffed with bland veg-o-mix and are expected to jump for joy. The vegan is denied roast potatoes, even when they’re not cooked in meat juices, and has to decline every vegetarian option that is thoughtlessly slathered in cheese. Can it be that chefs feel that vegans and veggies are “just being awkward”, and therefore that they are not worth feeding, and feeding well?
We’re here to tell these restaurateurs – and also the meat-munching friends of all non-meat eaters – that vegans are hungry! That they love food – lots of it – and that they care about what goes into their mouths in a way that carnivores just don’t have to. They relish everything they eat because it’s so hard to find anything to eat at all! And, because vegans need to think about and plan every bite, they have to learn how to cook – and fast! – if they want to eat well.
And so, The Hungry Vegan has a five-fold purpose:
1. to show restaurant and café owners what vegans and veggies would really like to eat when they step outside the safety of their own kitchens
2. to provide recipes for the family and friends of vegans, that they will cook for them, instead of pointing at packets of dried pasta and telling them to help themselves, while they tuck into a fragrant lasagna
3. to welcome converts to vegan- and vegetarianism to the fold, with a wide range of fast, tasty, easy-to-make meals and snacks
4. to take the mysteries out of vegan cookery and bring it into mainstream thought as a healthy lifestyle choice
5. to provide information on veganism, including lists of vegan-friendly products, ingredients, restaurants and shops
One of the authors of this blog is a vegan; the other is a vegetarian who cooks for the vegan, so you can assume that we know what we are talking about. However, never make assumptions: our motives are purely selfish. We merely want to make it easier for ourselves to have a decent meal somewhere (anywhere!) that one of us hasn’t had to cook. And, yes, we love Chinese and Indian restaurants, as well as Cork’s Café Paradiso, Cornucopia, Café Fresh and Govinda’s in Dublin, Galway’s Ard Bia, The Mustard Seed in Limerick, and those few other places that make a huge effort to cater for those who don’t eat meat.
We just hope that anyone who drops by here will try out and enjoy the recipes here, while spreading the word that vegans (and veggies) are hungry too!