Veging out - MCV - Melbourne Community Voice for Gay and Lesbian Readers
Thursday, 28 February 2008 01:55 - Last Updated Thursday, 28 February 2008 01:56
These days, vegetarians are everywhere. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some ofmy best friends are vegetarian.)Naturally, the needs of happy herbivores are now reflected in our better kitchens. At Pearl,Geoff Lindsay has devised a ripper vegetarian degustation. Ezard, Vue de Monde, Circa, andJacques Reymond are a few of the other posh nosheries that cook well beyond the realm offlavourless, meat-free mush. In fact, there are few finer places to blow the equivalent of aweek’s rent on vegetables rendered with love.Often the dishes at these places are so good, carnivores will feel they’re the ones missing out.And, of course, it’s true. When a great chef is forced out of their comfort zone and intomeat-free freefall, the results can be spectacular. I remember sulking all night when my partnerordered the veggie degustation at Daylesford’s Lakehouse restaurant. Who’d have thunk youcould do
with a beetroot?Of course, and as any veggo will readily affirm, it wasn’t always so. Traditionally, chefs hadlittle patience for those who don’t bow before the altar of fat, bone, and flesh. This old-schoolattitude is still surprisingly prevalent, and jokes about our herbivore friends abound (myfavourite being: how many vegans does it take to change a light bulb? Three. One to changethe damn thing and two to check for animal products.).Daring chefs, however, rise to the challenge of undoing their trad French roots. And, similarly,the plucky home cook can now see a meal in the terms of its plant matter.We carnivores need to shift our thinking. As many dieticians have it, meat should only betaken in small portions every other day. And, as many environmentalists have it, meatproduction is simply not sustainable.Yet, popular thinking has it that meat is the mover and shaker of a meal. Ask me what I hadfor dinner last night, and I’d tell you lamb chops. I wouldn’t say: grilled zucchini, tsatsikidressing with chickpea and tomato salad with lamb.
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