Monday, June 21, 2010
A Vegetarian in Paris
We did visit one vegetarian restaurant (Le Potage du Marais) while in Paris, but that was only a partial success. Hurray for the fennel soup, but the seitan burguignon was...well...seitan burguignon.
Having a "different" diet is a pain while traveling. You want to fully experience another place--that's the whole point of traveling. But there are limits to flexibility, and they aren't even necessarily chosen. When in China, I bet even the most avid carnivores have problems eating dog, even if they'd like to "do as the Romans do." Morality seeps down to the gut level, so that having a mouthful of dog is likely to be involuntarily unpleasant (for western dog lovers, whether they eat other meat or don't).
I feel the same way about trying the beef burguignon in France or the prosciutto in Italy. The ethics of eating I normally abide by has worked its way into my taste buds. So I discovered when I attempted to respond flexibility to accidentally ordering pasta with a "pomodoro ragout" in Italy. It turns out a ragout contains ground beef. Over the protestations of my kids, I decided I'd just eat it (it was expensive, and I didn't want to try to explain the problem to an Italian waiter). I soon discovered this was pretty much like eating dog. It was--ewww.
It's a pity that vegetarians can't enjoy all the local specialties (like Tuscan polenta with wild boar). On the other hand, we can be especially appreciative too. Italy and France have the most gorgeous fruit and vegetable stands! For non-vegans, the gelato in Italy is nothing short of incredible.