Animal Aid

VEGGIE CHRISTMAS

Posted 1 December 2001
Christmas pudding

The following article by Nigel Slater appeared in the Observer Food Monthly on Sunday 9th December 2001.

Five out of the seven people round my table this Christmas will be vegetarians. I haven't planned it that way. That is just the way that things have worked out.

They know, of course they will be in safe hands; they are aware I feel the vegetarian diet is the long term future for eating on this planet, so they won't exactly have to make do with an omelette, but they also know I'm not there yet. (I haven't exactly ruled out tucking a turkey leg or barbecued spare rib into the cutlery drawer to gnaw at every time I pop into the kitchen.)

To be honest, the great bird, the roast ham and the sausage rolls have been a millstone round this cook's neck for longer than he cares to remember. Perhaps that is why I'm looking forward to this year's feast more than ever before.

The problem is how to make the meals special without descending into that branch of gourmet vegetarian cookery that ends up simply looking precious and soulless. First and foremost we are celebrating the birth of Christ (which is why eating a dead animal seems somehow so inappropriate) and secondly we are supposed to be having a good time.

Towers of individually plated food may impress in a restaurant, but only a fool would try that at home. Rather than try and impress my green and pleasant guests, I will simply serve the sort of food I want to eat myself; that is, big plates of robust meatless cooking, interestingly spiced and generously served. There will be nothing plain about it, the food will be luxurious without appearing unnecessarily extravagant. That way, we will all have a great time, and, best of all, I won't have to do battle with a bird the size of Switzerland.

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