Recently I wrote a review of LOV, a beautiful restaurant that serves bad food. Many judged it harsh, which is true; it is also honest. To save you the time reading it (it’s quite long), I’ll summarize as follows: decor/design: A+; service: A+; food: F/D. (OMG that’s like, so harsh, bro.)
In any case, someone wrote the above comment (or tried to; I moderate my comments and that one went in the trash, byeeeeee!). As you can see, it’s not very nice. But, there’s often good in bad, and it inspired me to write this post, as it’s something that has been on my mind for some time.
Being vegan is difficult. It’s bad enough that veganism is socially isolating, it’s bad enough that you sometimes are stuck with terrible food (or no food, e.g. when traveling), it’s bad enough that it can be hard on personal relationships. (Not to mention, learning the horrors of industrial food production is basically a life-long depressant.)
On top of all that, vegans deal with hate. They get this partly because of ignorance, i.e. non-vegans don’t know anything about veganism, and people fear what they don’t understand. But they also get it because of people like this commenter: Self-righteous sorts who can’t help but burden others with their bitterness. We all know the stereotype about vegans, and having met and interacted with many, many vegans over the years (and having an ethical vegan for a best friend) I can tell you that it’s untrue and unfair—except for that one-in-one-thousand person, like this one.
Make no mistake: Being mean to people is wrong, as a rule. It’s hurtful. But promoting veganism by being mean is particularly bad, because it does harm to vegans, and veganism in general. It’s why many people will never take veganism seriously, and partly why all vegans have to deal with shit from friends, family and strangers.
So, crabby commenter, please stop being mean. If you want to help the animals, find a better way. You’re making it worse for so many vegans.
And to vegans in general, I have no expectation for you to like my work. But know this: While I’m not on your team, I am in your corner. I’ve done all the homework, I’ve watched all the documentaries, I’ve read the articles. In fact, I might know more about veganism than many vegans (I know damn well I can cook vegan food better than 95% of them; not because I’m a genius, but because I’ve worked hard to become a good cook and also learned from one of the best vegan chefs in town). As well, for a number of years now, nine out if ten meals that I’ve eaten have been strictly vegan. Not expecting a medal for that, but just to let you know.
If I had my way, there’d be standing vegan items on every restaurant menu. People would be eating vegan food all the time, everywhere. Vegan restaurants would be serving stellar food. And, most importantly, the word “vegan” would have no stigma or stereotypes attached. (This is why I use “vegan” as opposed to “plant-based”: to normalize it.)
On this website I’ll be posting vegan recipes, writing about the benefits of veganism (health, the environment, etc.), and I’m fairly certain that my first cookbook will be vegan food for non-vegans (and vegans, obviously). It’s a big part of my mandate.
So, that’s what I’m doing. As for you, curmudgeonly commenter, what are you doing, apart from acting like an asshole?
To non-vegans: Be nice to vegans, please. They’re good people who want nothing more than to avoid the exploitation of animals. If you’re at all curious about veganism or vegan food and want to know more, I’d be happy to help. Feel free to contact me. Or just stay tuned. (And for the love of God, don’t eat “rotting carcasses”. I certainly wouldn’t, it’s probably unhealthy 😉)