I became vegan for two reasons; the first was to get over the hangover of mass consumption called Christmas and the other was to better understand cooking without any animal products, as I am about to cook vegan dishes for a Melbourne Food and Wine event.
Are you tired of meat? No. Would you die without cheese? Obviously, yes, because you’re a human with a pulse and needs, damn it. Great. Now go out and become a vegan for a month. I’ve just come off riding a 730.001-hour long wave (not that I’m counting) of zero animal products in or around my mouth. I decided I’d ice my cake with 31 days of zero alcohol. In the realm of hospitality, giving up alcohol AND animal products simultaneously is not far off announcing you’re moving to the Antarctic with no-one for company but the corpse of your favourite aunt and an elaborate hat. Teetering on the precipice of Stalin-esque paranoia, I swore I’d do my best to keep my new ‘lifestyle choice’ off of YouTube first and out of live of others second. No. The words fling themselves out of your mouth. You’ve turned into a social kamikaze before you realised it. “Would you like some steak?” “I’m a vegan” “Want to come to my fire-pit party and sacrifice prosperity goats?” “I would, but I’m a vegan” “SOMEBODY HELP! MY SON IS BEING MAULED BY A SEAL DRESSED AS A SHARK!” “I can’t, I’m a vegan” You are so worn down by constantly saying no that hyper-morality becomes your sanity’s last bastion. You might be eating the double-cream Brie, but at least you aren’t contributing the evils of mass consumption. Until you realise that you still are. I found myself regularly on the hunt for substitutes. Effectively, your stance against industrial scale farming is severely undercut by your purchase of chemical-packed alternatives. It highlighted the point for me that it isn’t the use of animals that’s the issue, but the complete disregard for everything consumable on an industrial scale. After the fifth day, my body had betrayed me and decided it really enjoyed being vegan. I woke up hangover free for the first time since birth, and dropped 7kg. Bright eyed, I rapidly became a roving seventh circle of hell for my kitchen co-workers. It’s almost as if I was murdered and replaced by some green fundamentalist. Still, it’s slightly creepy when someone you know behaves atypically, it’s borderline terrifying when the person behaving out of character is wearing your shoes and your haircut and looks like you and is you. I actually enjoyed cooking without animal products, having to really think about food again. Exploring other food cultures and alternative ingredients. I think everyone should go vegan for a month. It’s great for the body, the mind, the environment, and it turns fundamentalist vegan bullies into more of a frenzied puppet jerked around by uncontrollable opportunism, kind of like a self-hating dirty bomb. Go vegan for a while and you will appreciate meat a lot more. Who would have thought?