MEAT-eaters usually grudgingly respect veggies’ healthy, ethical lifestyle choice. But not the ones with extremely arbitrary ‘rules’ they think it’s fine to break. Such as these…
Apparently bacon ceases to be an animal product when it’s crisped up and placed between two slices of white bread with ketchup. That’s just a scientific fact – ask any zoologist. And that’s why the dictionary definition of vegetarianism is: ‘The practice of not eating meat, apart from when it smells totally amazing and one little sarnie won’t hurt, will it?’
Genuinely confusing if you avoid meat but also tuck into some grilled chicken now and then. ‘X is wrong, but a small amount of X is fine’ is not a moral standard that anyone has ever applied in history. Arsonists don’t expect to walk free from court if they ‘only burned the one school’. Jack the Ripper is not applauded for just killing five prostitutes and leaving it at that. ‘Good old Jack, he knew not to overdo things’ is not a phrase you tend to hear.
Bingeing on rennet
Vegetarians get some sympathy from meat-eaters here, because if there’s one surefire way to make boring vegetables more palatable it’s covering them in melted cheese. They don’t pump cows’ stomachs to get rennet though, so unless you’re eating slightly strange vegetarian cheese it’s not vegetarian. More to the point, if you’re one of those veggies who has cheese with absolutely everything, maybe you should consider a more accurate name, eg. CathedralCityarian.
Pescetarianism is less a diet than a confusing moral maze centred on the nature of animal consciousness and modern farming methods. Do fish in a net suffer? You can imagine a lamb thinking ‘Shit, this place is starting to creep me out!’ when they rock up at the abbatoir, but it’s hard to get inside the mind of a cod. It does raise the suspicion that cuteness is a factor in your ethical choices, but fish are pretty ugly so f**k them.
Ditching your vegetarianism for a particularly nice meal
Christmas dinner is the obvious example – those pigs in blankets look lovely, and ooh, the smell! You’re sure any pig or turkey would have to agree. However there are other scenarios, like going to a super-posh restaurant where it would be a shame not to enjoy it properly. And you’ve got to eat meat if you want to try, say, the tasting menu at the Fat Duck. The lambs, cows, scallops, etc. were probably thrilled to meet a celebrity like Heston Blumenthal anyway and practically hurled themselves into the saute pan.
Fad meat-free diets
If you’re doing the veggie Palaeolithic diet of nuts and berries, it’s probably not from concern about animal welfare or the environment, it’s because you’re into fad diets first and foremost. You absolutely would try The Endangered Snow Leopard Diet if someone had written a book about it full of vague benefits like ‘having more energy’.
Temporary teenage vegetarians
Not all teenage vegetarians, obviously, just the ones for whom it’s clearly a short-lived fashion choice. Strictness varies – you can either subject your mum to the minor hassle of buying vegetarian ready meals, or go full-on veggie gestapo and demand evidence that your potatoes have not been contaminated by a serving spoon that’s touched a disgusting, pig-murdering sausage. It’s a dreadful teenage cliche, but will provide years of entertainment for sadistic mums and dads gleefully reminding you that your high-minded stance lasted precisely eight-and-a-half days.