When a “Top TV Chef” likens vegans to Hezbollah, how was I to know that it would lead me to a new level of self-awareness?
But that’s exactly what happened, and it might do the same for you. Let me explain…
I was reading a blog post by Jason Das on the subject of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s new book Eating Animals and came across a comment by Veganne at Supervegan . This comment lead me to the anti-vegan comments by “celebrity chef” Anthony Bourdain.
In his book, Bourdain apparently stated:
Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.
- Anthony Bourdain, “Kitchen Confidential,” p. 70
What Do Vegans Eat?
Apart from the obvious blind prejudice of Bourdain’s statement, it got me thinking about that perennial question that non-vegans ask us, namely:
What do vegans eat?
My answer varies, depending on the time available and the mood I’m in… that is, the level of irritation I might have at being asked the question. However, I have to admit that I generally respond by going through a list of some of the staple ingredients in my diet.
But I am also often left with the feeling that my answer failed to really deliver anything meaningful… a sense of lost opportunity to make a connection with the questioner.
Asking A Better Question
And then I came across a great blog post on this subject by Philip over at Vegan Sanctuary which provides a very different response to the “What do you vegans eat?” question. Philip totally reframes this question by posing a deeper and more important question:
Why are we vegans never asked what we feel?
The post got me to further examine my own feelings as a vegan. But, more tellingly, it got me to feel my feelings and that opened up new ideas about how I can use that understanding to connect with non-vegans. I’m sure that going beyond just providing a list of vegan ingredients and recipes has got to be more rewarding to both myself and the person asking the question.
As Philip concludes:
Explaining to others we are vegan because of what we feel rather than what we don’t eat allows us to bring the reality of our motivations out into the open and to the rest of the world.
Check out the post for yourself. What feelings come up for you?
Also, what answers do you give to that tired old question, “What do vegans eat?”