Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vegetarian haggis

In the lead up to moving, I was frequently asked about being vegetarian in Scotland.

"Won't you have to start eating fish?"

"It's such a meat-and-potatoes place, how will you be vegetarian?"

"Isn't the food there awful?"

"What about haggis?"

I often respond with the simple reality: a) though of course fish & chips and haggis are a thing, food in the UK has dramatically improved in the past 15 or so years, having moved toward a sustainable/local foodie-type culture; b) Edinburgh is one of Europe's most veggie-friendly cities. I can name about five vegetarian or vegan restaurants off the top of my head (that would be 4 more than all of McHenry County, IL), and the vast majority of restaurants in general list their vegetarian things on their own menu section, or they label everything so you can tell what's safe. And there are a lot of options, not just a side salad! Even the local chip shop has falafel! **

I went to one of these vegetarian restaurants just today, in fact.

There's a more foundational point here though, which is:
I've moved here, I'm not vacationing (though there's plenty to make it feel like holidays, including the sunny weather!)...which means that nearly all of my meals will be ones I cook myself. I live in a flat, with a kitchen. I have been stocking it with pots and pans, pantry staples (oil, legumes, rice and pasta, etc), and tons of fresh local veggies. There's a bakery just two blocks away, and a lovely little greengrocer in the high street that gets a variety of veggies and cheeses delivered each day, and a ton of supermarket options ranging from Aldi to Tesco to the (slightly strange but weirdly awesome) frozen food store.

So...yes, it'll be just as easy to be vegetarian here as it was in Crystal Lake. Perhaps easier, even, since when I *do* eat out, there are more choices.

What I have noticed in a week of grocery shopping is this: everything is clearly labeled as to where it comes from, so I also have a much easier time choosing food that doesn't have to travel thousands of miles to my plate. Which is not to say I'll never eat anything that wasn't grown on this island (because hello, avocado is delicious!) but it does make many of my everyday shopping choices more clear, and I'm all about informed decisions, especially where food is concerned!

And now it's time for some pasta with kale and marinara, some wine, and then some Belgian chocolates. Because, well...compared to going all the way to the USA, Belgium - Scotland is basically local, right? ;-)

**Full disclosure: c) there is such a thing as vegetarian haggis, and it's still not good.
And also d) potatoes are my favorite food, so no problem there. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I like vegetarian haggis! Can I just say again so. so. so so jealous. I'm pretending to be you right now! More photos! xx