Vegetarianism – a reluctant guide

vegetarianism john Gregory smith

Hopeless carnivore John Gregory-Smith tried his hand at vegetarianism to very mixed results.
Don’t miss out guide to the best vegetarian recipes

So this month was no meat March and I was reluctantly volunteered to go vegetarian.

Vegetarianism for the whole month was simply not possible for me. Not because I had a pressing lunch at Pitt Cue I couldn’t cancel, but just because I love being a carnivore and a whole month would have done my head in too much. So I allocated a week to go veggie.

This started off well. I had a healthy smoothie for breakfast, followed by a strange lunch a halloumi wrap that tasted of sweet air and then a fabulous home-cooked dinner of dal, rice and brinjal bhaji, a smoked aubergine curry that is one of my favourites. This was easy. At this rate I could so do the whole month.

Sadly Tuesday was not such a good day for me. I was mega stressed at work, drank far too much coffee and when it came to lunch a sad cheese sandwich didn’t do it. I wandered the supermarket aisles for ages looking at various options. I found everything to be carb or cheese heavy. Neither of which I eat much of, unless I am hungover on the weekend and put my head into a bucket of cheesy pasta.

vegetarianism john Gregory smith

Well after a hard day in the office I went to the opening of Barnyard, which was amazing. On arrival, with a drink in hand, a plate of sausage rolls went past. Like a bat out of hell I dived and snaffled one and then said loudly: ‘Shit, I’m a veggie.’

This was a gut reaction, like a real vegetarian being made to feast on glorious steaks all week and seeing a glistening piece of organic cauliflower go passed.

Well I learnt my lesson and refused plates of crunchy chicken wings and toast smothered in lard. Instead humbly nibbling on a piece of corn (which was delicious) and downing way too many boozy shakes.

Much like a Slim Fast commercial the rest of the week passed uneventfully. Shakes for breakfast, a light lunch that I never liked and dinner was mainly Indian or something noodley.

I even gave dietary requirements at a fabulous dinner at Moti Mahal.  This time remembering I was vegetarian, I swapped lamb biryani and fish curry for aubergines and silky smooth black dal – heaven, cheers guys!

Friday came and I was ready for the weekend. I had roped in tasters for the Saturday, as I had to recipe test 6 recipes for Sainsbury’s Magazine and one was lamb, and I had even told my hosts for that night I was not eating meat or fish.

Sadly it happened again. At a rather wonderful Ocado summer product showcase event, the lovely Naomi (shame on you!) loaded me up with British charcuterie. It was sealed and I would resist. Sadly not.  A quick call that brought on a host of work problems made me reach for that sweet, sweet cured meat like a smoker reaching for a pack of Marlboros. And like that my week of vegetarianism was over. I had cured ham and salami for a starter and a plate of linguine with British pancetta, broccoli and far too much cream for main, I will get this recipe done as it was just fabulous.

It is odd, as I think I eat more vegetarian food when I am a meat eater, rather than pretending to be a vegetarian. My usual lunch of chicken and salad was replaced with bland soups and never filling salads – like a child, I don’t eat things like sweet potatoes or avocado, so lots of the more filling salads were off the menu for me, and I was never organised enough to make my own lunch.

As always my favourite Indian and SE Asian foods stepped up and came to the rescue, until my primeval carnivorous urges kicked in and got the better of me.

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