OUTSIDE THE BOX
Vegan reflections on barbecue season
Summertime, sun, barbecues – and endless invitations to open-air and garden parties. I love summer: long evenings on one terrace after another, the associated conviviality and, of course, the delicious food, which in my case consists primarily of plant-based delicacies. As a dedicated flexitarian whose diet is roughly 90% plant based, I’m faced with a never-ending dilemma as soon as barbecue fans fire up their grills and sharpen their knives. Okay, sometimes, for special occasions, when spontaneous temptation calls, or simply out of curiosity for a taste of my old life, I treat myself to a morsel of meat or fish, only to discover the following day that, unlike sustainability, the temptation is just a snapshot with a bitter aftertaste.
Yes, the wellbeing of intensively farmed animals is a matter close to my heart, and I am conscious of my ecological footprint and above all my health, but sometimes, when the temptation is too much, my mind eager, the meat weak, I blissfully tuck into a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese – my favourite dish from childhood.
But these days I come prepared for any temptation and pack my Tupperware box shortly before leaving for barbecues with our neighbours. While the host skilfully flips his mooing steaks, grunting sausages and clucking chicken thighs in front of jeering guests, I take out my celeriac steak, beautifully marinated using a recipe from my favourite hip chef du jour. This comes together on the plate with various different toppings & dips, a baked potato and a potpourri of salad, smoked tofu, rainbow-coloured tomatoes and pine nuts to the sound of jealous whispers from the flesh-coloured guests.
The well-done rib-eye steak on the next table gawks with envy. Everyone wants to try some, they all say “Wow, that tastes ridiculously good”…and I lean back and smile, look at the chewing cluster of people and ponder smugly whether the inventor of the insanity around beef was human at all.