In my opening blog I mentioned my business life which involves me going to a number of corporate dinners at some of the glitziest hotels going. I thought that these would be a BIG problem for a determined-to-be Vegan but so far I have been very pleasantly surprised and all but one of the 6 dinner nights I have attended in the last 3 weeks have been very pleasant experiences indeed.I will come back to the bad experience later but let me use this blog entry to feature one of the most fantastic experiences I could have wished for.
One of my favourite places to dine is the Trades Hall of Glasgow. It is the home of most of Glasgow’s most ancient institutions and is in almost constant use as a function venue. As a regular visitor – and occasional dinner night organiser – the caterers have always looked after me very well indeed. In my pre-vegan days that involved knowing exactly the way in which I liked my food prepared and presented – and they know that I have spent most of my adult life firmly convinced that vegetables are what food eats.
If I was going to experience any difficulty in making the change it was going to be with people who knew me well but couldn’t begin to understand why I was so determined to change. I should not have worried at all.
Once I had convinced them that my reason for change was ethical choice rather than for any health reasons (although my ethical choice does seem to be the healthy choice anyway) they simply said, have a look at our Vegan menu and tell us what you want. If it isn’t on the menu, tell us what it is and we will make it anyway.
Here is the menu, tell me what you think:
VEGAN MENU SUGGESTIONS
Grilled Grapefruit and Zucchini Salad
- Roast garlic marinated mushrooms & pepper salad with ciabatta bread
- Portobello Mushroom stuffed with artichoke, red onion and thyme, set on pearl barley with gremolata oil [starter or main]
- Mesclun and Mango Salad with Ginger Carrot Dressing
- Marinated Mixed Olives with Organic Bread
- Roast Beet Salad served with Mixed Greens, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Candied Fennel
- Cous Cous Stuffed Peppers
- Leafy Green Salad with light dressing
- Caesar Salad with Smoked Tofu, Croutons, Olives and Home-made Dressing
- Mushroom Pate with Ciabatta Bread
Roast Garlic & Sweet Potato Soup
- Lentil, Carrot & Cumin Soup
- Mushroom & Tarragon Soup
- Beetroot Soup
- Chick Pea Gazpachio
- Carrot and Chickpea Soup
MAIN COURSES – SHOULD YOU WISH A BUFFET STYLE MAIN COURSE – PLEASE CHOOSE 3 OPTIONS AND 2 SIDES
Aubergine & Butterbean Biryani & curry sauce
- Vegetable Stir fry with Rice Noodles
- Vegan Lasagne
- Italian Spiced Polenta Cake with Ratatouille and Vegan Cheese
- Penne Pasta with warm Sun blush Tomato and Black Olive Salad
- Butternut Squash Risotto Cake
- Wild Mushroom Risotto
- Oven baked pepper filled with a chick pea curry served with spiced couscous
- Fennel, Flageolet & Mushroom Goulash
- Chickpea Chilli with Vegan Sour Cream, Bulgar Rice, Pitta Bread and Guacamole
- Cauliflower and Chickpea Tagine
- Ratatouille: Onions, Aubergine, Peppers, Courgettes and Tomatoes
- Butternut Squash Curry served with Rice
- Chilli Bean Casserole: Red Kidney Beans, Onion, Celery, Peppers, Carrot and Tomatoes with Bulger Wheat Rice
- Aubergine, Butterbean and Chickpea Casserole
Potato wedges with tomato salsa and hummus dips
- Mixed Leaf salad
- Broccoli & Oven Roast Mushroom Salad
- Herb Roast Potatoes
- Garlic and herb roast root vegetables
- Roast Root Vegetables
- Steam Seasonal Greens
- Aromatic Rice
- Jewelled Couscous
- Potato Boulangerie (with vegan stock)
- Baby Boiled Potatoes with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
- Crusty bread & vegan margarine
Chocolate Rum Cheesecake
- Banana Cake with compote of fresh seasonal berries
- Seared Pineapple with Rum Glaze
- Exotic Fresh Fruit Salad
- Dark Chocolate & Coconut Pudding
- Poached Peaches with Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream
- Fruit Salad with Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream
- Frozen Ginger Mango
I had the Caesar Salad starter followed by the Portobello Mushrooms as a main with a plain fruit salad for my pudding. And the meat eaters on either side were extremely jealous.
But I remain simply amazed at how easy it was to get probably the best meal I have had at a corporate dinner – EVER – just by having the nerve to “confess” to wanting to be a Vegan and asking for a Vegan meal.
Which brings me onto the bad experience. Or it would have done, but…
I really thought I would use this blog to “Right Wrongs” and expose the bad guys. And I did have one terrible experience. But the more I thought about it, and the more I have good experiences, the more I realised that this was an exception rather than the rule. If I blog about bad experiences then people will continue to think – as I did – that making the change is too difficult and veg is best left to our four-legged friends.
But it isn’t difficult. It is as easy as asking – and I have not met anyone yet who has said no. So I will continue posting good experiences and hope that anyone wondering whether they should go vegan as well is inspired to ask by seeing that there are genuinely lots of people out there doing the best they can.
Have a fabulous (Vegan) week.