One of the new blogs that I visited during Blogging101 course is One Happy Table, a blog with vegan recipes by Lauren. I’m not vegan, I’m not cooking too often, but since I have vegetarian friends, I could use sometimes a bit of inspiration.

Whatever food somebody eats is not my business, as long as nobody is forcing their believes on me or telling me I’m eating “corpses”. I will/can eat whatever I like, without looking at any “labels”. I despise people who force their believes onto others – lately it was a vegan blogger who boasted she provided victim’s girlfriend ideas how to convert him to being vegan (and he did after several months).

But in the whole pro-vegan propaganda, there is something I feel is missing. And I’d like to write about that.

History

Last time I was writing about history, a connection between Indonesia and Poland. History shapes cultures. Food is a part of a country’s culture. If you take two neighbouring countries, you can see the differences in their cuisine. Even in Europe, where the countries are relatively small and close to each other. Of course, there will be some similarities. Ideas, food and recipes have been travelling from country to country, even for a great distance. For example the origin of Japanese tempura is Portuguese.

The core of national cuisine is always based on local products- both plants and animals.

Real taste

The guides, travel blogs and travellers will tell you to eat local food to have a “real taste” of a country. But how can you get a sense of the “real taste” if you’re so picky about the food? You can’t. Even if some of the traditional foods are vegetarian (no-meat), they can still use animal products in the process of cooking. How much a country’s cuisine is accommodating to vegan diet is varied.

A vegan may say that “you can replace the ingredients”. Sure, you can replace Porsche with a compact car – you will still be able to ride and a compact car has some benefits too. But it won’t be the same. You won’t get the real taste, that was a part of history and culture. I talked to a guy who is importing some ingredients from Finland because the replacements available in Poland can’t produce good results. He said, whoever knows the real taste won’t be satisfied with the replacements. Soto (Indonesian soup) I made in Poland wasn’t the same I ate in Indonesia… And so on. Not to mention that replacements (like coconut milk for cow milk) often are more expensive.

Variety

At one point in time I had to stop eating some Polish dishes. I still remember eating jajecznica (scrambled eggs) with mushrooms freshly picked in forest or potato salad (with mayonnaise) which was at that time my favourite. I’m gritting my teeth and eat a bit of (cooked) egg with family for Easter – it’s a tradition to share it along with wishes. Everybody else is eating żurek (sour rye soup) with egg, but not me. I can still enjoy żurek, without egg, but many soups should be served either with noodles or sour cream.

Historically, Polish dishes were based on all wild animals in forests, domestic animals, fish, bees and of course some fruit and vegetables. It’s hard to get a traditional Polish dish that would be vegan. Vegetarian – yes, but hardly vegan. The fasting dishes for Christmas Eve dinner in Poland are vegetarian at best. We eat fish for the dinner. Honey is used as a base for alcohol (miód pitny – drinkable honey) and in treating cold.

Cultural differences

Did you notice cultural differences towards food? Most often it’s towards animals used as food. You can hear about people protesting against eating dogs in China. I find it arrogant. I wouldn’t like to hear Muslims protesting that we eat pork. Nor I would stop eating it.

But it’s not things like that. A way of eating fish is different in Poland and Indonesia. In Poland, all the fishes before frying have their heads cut off. The fish could have tail, but (almost ever) no head. In Indonesia the fish is always served with head.

Plants

The last reason I have against vegans (not pointing to any specific person) is their hypocrisy. I believe plants and animals are the same. I don’t see a reason to think that since “animals can feel” they should be spared as a food source. What makes you think plants can’t feel? Scientific research proves that plants also can feel pain and cry. Yes, let’s stop eating altogether – it would be the best for animals, plants and Earth. Is giving up local food and traditional medicine (also based on animal ingredients) good for people?

What do you think about vegan and travelling? Should we change the local cuisine to vegan?

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