Catering for vegans for a week can't be that hard, right?
Catering for vegans for a week can't be that hard, right? Mizina

The horror of having a vegan stay for a week: OPINION

THE NEWS that my bestie and her partner are flying from her native US in November to visit me came as a welcome surprise a few weeks ago.

She hasn't seen my new home and, apart from the fact I've not seen her in four years, she's a whizz-bang kitchen designer and I own the Kitchen From Hell.

Orange knotty-pine laminate cupboards, a Granny Smith green benchtop and yet another fake wood-grain on the floor. Yikes.

A few handy tips on how to disguise all of the above on a budget of about a hundred bucks wouldn't go astray.

My sense of pleasurable anticipation was downgraded a notch when, in a subsequent phone call, she mentioned casually that they have just become vegans.

So now I'm racking my brains thinking of recipes I can cook for a week - a week! - that contain no animal products whatsoever.

No eggs, cheese, pasta, seafood, meat, wine. Yes, wine; dedicated vegans don't drink the stuff because egg whites or casein (a milk by-product) are used in the production process.

And of course, there are all the pantry items I'll have to buy that I won't finish in a million years - I don't eat margarine since I found out what is involved in making it and presumably that's what they spread on their toast and Vegemite (which I also don't eat).

And almond milk for their tea...

While contemplating the horror of it all, it occurred to me that I am constantly catering for the diets of others when I have visitors, but as a dedicated omnivore, my needs are never met when I visit their homes.

One food-Nazi friend recently announced that her vegetarian state now requires her to not eat eggs that are recognisable as eggs as they exacerbate an old ankle injury - but here's the thing; she can, and does, eat eggs disguised in cakes, pasta and pancakes with no apparent ill effect. How can that be?

Another vegetarian friend spent a very expensive sailing holiday demanding the on-board chef feed her gluten-free bread, a charmless product that could double as a house brick, despite the fact she is not gluten intolerant and queued up cheerfully each day for the afternoon tea treats that, for all I know, contained all the extra gluten extracted from the bloody bread.

Never once when I've visited any of my vegetarian friends have they offered me meat or seafood.

There I sit, in their houses or mine when they visit, bravely chewing tofu with the taste and consistency of a dirty Wettex, dreaming of slow-roasted pork belly or a king prawn laksa.

No T-bone on the barbie, no chicken curry, just nut-meat cutlets, dairy-free (fake) yoghurt and quinoa.

It's really starting to cheese me off.

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