Animal Writes
© sm
23 December 2001 Issue
Top 10 Survival Tips for an English Vegetarian Christmas 

Donít panic a vegetarian Christmas neednít be a headache.
Our top tips will help your Christmas go off with a bang.

Go nuts! Christmas is a great time to get your nuts out. Look out for vegetarian recipes such as Chestnut Bourguigonne Pie, Pine Nut Risotto and Walnut Salads, all great over the festive period, as is of course the vegetarian classic - the nut roast. Nuts are highly nutritious and can provide you with calcium, zinc and essential fatty acids.

Do unusual things to vegetables, they donít mind. Experiment with some seasonal winter veg. Parsnip, turnip, swede, sprouts, leeks, cabbage - slice them, roast Ďem, boil Ďem, fry Ďem, steam Ďem, bake Ďem. Show them who is boss.

Plonk! Christmas is the time to stock your cupboards full of the juices of the vine. Whatever your poison red, white, or a drop of bubbly, the festive period is the perfect occasion to indulge. Vegetarian wine is free from finings such as gelatine and isinglass (the swim bladder of tropical fish), frequently used to clarify wine. Look out for the Vegetarian Societyís ĎVí symbol, guaranteeing a product is 100% vegetarian or ask in your supermarket or off-licence if they have a list of vegetarian wines.

Plink plonk! You donít need a bacon butty to sort your hangover out, the best veggie hangover cure is a banana milkshake, made from soya milk, honey and ground almonds and of course bananas. Throw it in and whisk away.

Lardless. You can still eat mince pies at Christmas, just make sure you get the vegetable suet variety. Traditional suet uses animal fat, thankfully more and more companies are switching to veggie suet. Check the labels before buying.

Looking for the perfect vegetarian Christmas present? What about a vegetarian haggis (MacSweens, Edinburgh) or for your dog some Wafcol vegetarian dog food, feeling porky, try a porkless pie (health food stores), a vegetarian hamper, or membership to the Vegetarian Society.

Misunderstandings. Itís a sad fact that lots of people still donít understand that a vegetarian diet not only provides you with all the essential nutrients you get from eating meat but is also much healthier. You could try explaining to your concerned relatives that vegetarianism is not an eating disorder, failing that the best thing you can do to prove yourself is to glow with good health - and that means lots of scrummy vegetarian food!

Clichťs. Wherever you go there will always be some joker who thinks veggies are sandal wearing hippies who live on bits of old cabbage. If one of these bizarre individuals corners you over the yule log and starts to make turkey noises or asking pointless questions about whether carrots feel pain - just laugh at them, they are a lost cause!

Donít let friends or family roast your vegetables next to the Christmas bird. Cooking vegetarian dishes separately from the meat is essential. The same goes for vegetarian stuffing, cook separately and donít allow it to go anywhere near the anatomy of a turkey.

Donít cry over spilt gravy, vegetarian gravy is great. If you are living in a mixed meat and veggie household, offer to make up the gravy they wonít be disappointed. Vegetarian gravy granules are readily available or pick up a decent vegetarian recipe book.

Leave Santa a veggie mince pie on Christmas Eve, you never know he may be a vegetarian!

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