Eating out with Vegetarians

Barbara Ellen has a rant in today’s Observer at people who won’t go out with a vegetarian because they are “too picky” and make dining out “nightmare”.

Would you date a vegetarian? I ask, because it’s still evident that there are people who’d prefer not to, because they feel that dining out would be a nightmare and that vegetarians are “too picky”.The cheek of it, yet such judgment is widespread.

Now I have some sympathy with her views, having gone out, indeed been married to a vegetarian for the best part of the last 30 years. Admittedly it does need a bit of reading of menus outside restaurants in France, and (in France) often ends up eating in an Italian or Vietnamese restaurant. But generally, no they are not picky they can’t afford to be.

It’s time to fight back. Vegetarians don’t ruin meals in restaurants – we are angels who meekly accept the one dish (max) we’re offered (these days, either the ubiquitous goat’s cheese tart or dreaded risotto).

It is slightly better than it used to be, when the choice was generally the vegetarian lasagna. Or with one memorable, for all the wrong reasons, meal in a pub on the A303, tagliatelle in “mushroom sauce”. They had boiled the tagliatelle for about an hour and the “mushroom sauce” looked and tasted like Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. An Anglo-Italian family had made the same mistake as us. Their teenage daughter was overheard saying,
“Mama you will not believe what they have done to the pasta”.
My meal wasn’t much better.

We don’t kick off when male omnivores use every pan in the house, lost in a fantasy that they’re Anthony Bourdain.

Yes you do, but we’ll leave that for another day. Anyway in my case the fantasy is that I’m Heston Blumenthal

No, the time when vegetarians are picky and a pain in the backside in restaurants is when you go to a vegetarian restaurant with them. Normally it takes her two seconds to decide what she is having to eat ( because there is only one choice) but take her to Terre à Terre and Grace can take half-an-hour making up her mind what to have.


Terre by the way comes highly recommended by this omnivore. Only the most blinkered carnivore could fail to enjoy their food.

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