I pledge my allegiance to SEITAN!

For the last three days I’ve had vegetarian lunches. It wasn’t deliberate, and I’m not trying to make a political point (even though deep down I agree with the vegans arguments – don’t judge me for this please) it’s just that the vegetarian options seemed more appealing. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Tofu when used in well-made, spicy, asian food acts as a flavour-absorbing medium and can provide a variety of textures. From fluffy sauce sponge to an almost hard-cheese like substance. A really rather good veggie Chinese restaurant in Center City has a dish called “Kung Pao Dried Tofu w. peanuts”. It’s very hot and utterly delicious.
  2. Seitan. According to Wikipedia it’s actually called “Wheat gluten”, which sounds disgusting. But it feels and tastes like chicken. So much so that I would now order it over chicken in a restaurant because it tastes better…and also because eating birds goes against the grain a little now that we have such good friends who are birds.

Today for lunch, a friend and I went to a vegan restaurant in Center City. Voluntarily! It actually seemed appealing! The most peculiar aspect of the experience was that it was delicious without caveat. It wasn’t just “really good considering it’s vegan” either – it was something I find myself craving afterwards . There was a cauliflower and truffle-oil soup to start and it would have been worth a trip across the country for that alone; perfect consistency, spiced powerfully and subtly, and the truffle oil was in perfect proportion.
But then came the buffalo “chicken” sandwich. Imagine a massive, delicious buffalo chicken sandwich in a huge Italian roll, but with…well just imagine that. It was like that. But apparently it was vegan.
Yesterday I mentioned contemplating becoming vegetarian to a friend and he gave me some sage advice: don’t tell people, just do what you can. If you tell people you’re vegetarian and one day cave in and have a bacon sandwich you will feel like you have failed and just give up. You also look like a massive twat to the people you’ve castigated for not following your lead during your veggie years.
It reminded me of something I’d heard on Radio 4 (or possibly NPR) where some writers were discussing tips on their chosen profession; one of the writers suggested not telling anyone you know that you are writing a book . People always ask how you’re getting on – and frequently it’s difficult to write at all. So unless your book is about to hit Waterstones on the following Monday – you will sound like a delusional saddo.

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