Let’s get one thing clear, deciding to give up dead animals from your plate, doesn’t mean that you suddenly develop a cloud of food amnesia.
Making the choice to start living on a plant-based diet quite simply doesn’t mean that you stop enjoying eating delicious, filling and indulgent food.
So stop treating vegetarians like it has.
For whatever reason people have chosen to stop eating meat - whether that be their health, the environment, saving money on their weekly food bill - this dietary decision doesn’t mean you suddenly forget about the existence of meat.
Vegetarians still know what meat looks like, know what meat smells like. In lots of cases those same vegetarians probably even know what meat tastes like.
And yet, supermarkets, restaurants, and the food industry in general seem to cater to them as if they had never seen a ribeye before.
Take exhibit A, beloved high-street retailer Marks & Spencer serving up a sliced cauliflower that had been lightly seasoned and marketing it as a ‘steak’.
No, thank you. That is just a sliced vegetable in an (unnecessary) plastic box.
Or exhibit B, high-street burger chains whose idea of a vegetarian burger is essentially two portobello mushrooms and a bit of grilled red pepper. Do you know how soggy that bad boy is?
What would be so hard about making a delicious bean burger covered in breadcrumbs, maybe a good chunk of halloumi or melted cheddar cheese, and a (shock) bread bun. We could even put some spicy sauce and fried red onions in there for good measure.
Just because we’re opting out of eating the meat component that doesn’t mean that we don’t want the carbohydrates, the dairy, the sugars, the fats. A comprehensive meal that covers more than one food group.
We aren’t signing up to just salad for the rest of our lives, no matter what your grandma might think.
These things aren’t only annoying because they play into the narrative that vegetarians only eat vegetables, so therefore we deserve disappointing meals, but it is just patronising to suggest a cauliflower is a satisfactory substitute for a steak.
Cause let’s face it, a white broccoli covered in salt and pepper and griddled to within an inch of its life, hasn’t got a patch on a medium rare rump with a side of peppercorn sauce, has it?
And besides, if people have given up meat because they don’t like the idea of eating animals, then equating it to a steak seems a bit backwards anyway.
Fundamentally all this marketing of vegetables as burgers and steaks achieves is allowing companies to charge more money for what is essentially just a grilled vegetable that you could buy for 10% of the price in the vegetable aisle.
It’s lazy, and it’s tiresome. So come on, it’s 2018 and we can all do better than a grilled mushroom.