Tag Archives: holidays
You may have noticed that I didn’t post at all on the blog last week, but I do have an excuse. My in-laws moved nearby Hastings recently and we made the most of half term to visit them as well as some of the nearby countryside and towns. The weather was kinder to us than we expected, with only a few droplets of rain to contend with.
We spent some time in Lewes (which was very close to where I will be walking 100km shortly for Trailwalker – there are some very sobering hills there…) and a lot of time in Brighton, where we almost ended up on TV when walking past the anti monarchy protestors over the Jubilee weekend! Continue reading
This will be the first Christmas that I won’t be cooking any meat at all for anyone in the family. My parents will be joining us but are bringing their own small turkey portion for themselves, so I can make everything completely vegetarian.
The problem is that I don’t know what to choose. It’s not that there aren’t any great vegetarian Christmas recipes – it’s that there are too many! Current contenders for the main include:
- Classic nut roast
- Cashew nut roast with a choice of two stuffings
- Falafel nutty roast with rich wine sauce
- Raised Christmas pie (Vegetarian Living – Dec issue)
If I was the organised type I would have started testing them out on the family beforehand, to make sure they were ok and that everyone liked the one we sprung for. Sadly I’m not, and we’re running out of time, so it’s probably going to be a case of eeny meeny miny mo or whichever one it’s easiest to get the ingredients for… Continue reading
I received an email yesterday to say that tibits, the vegetarian restaurant in Heddon Street, London, is holding a storytelling session with Santa for kids on Saturday 17 December 2011. Sadly my own children are a bit old for this now, but I thought I’d pass the information on for those who might be interested.
Children will be able to listen to Father Christmas sharing classic Christmas stories like The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and The Night Before Christmas. It will take place in the Kids Lounge downstairs at the restaurant which you can read about in my previous review of tibits. There will be three different half hour sessions, at 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Afterwards, children will have the chance to chat to Santa and let him know what they want for Christmas. Continue reading
This will be the first year that both of our children are vegetarian for Halloween, as previously only one of them was. This has got me thinking about how we’re going to deal with the whole vegetarian sweets issue…
For various reasons I’m not a fan of trick or treating, but my boys love it and so a friend and I usually join up for moral support and take our children out together. Trick or treating is huge where we live, with kids (including teenagers) knocking on doors until long after our own children’s bedtime.
Luckily there seems to be an unwritten rule that only houses that have Halloween decorations up should be bothered, so a) no one who doesn’t believe in Halloween is too badly affected, b) it makes you feel less guilty about knocking on doors as you know those people’s kids will probably be knocking on yours too, and c) you can take your decorations down at bedtime so that the doorbell doesn’t keep waking everyone up!
As you’re no doubt aware though, many of the sweets received aren’t vegetarian. Last year our one son swapped these with his brother for vegetarian ones, but this year that won’t be an option. As far as I can tell, our alternatives are:
- not going trick or treating (my preference but my boys will not see this as a viable option!)
- throwing away all the non vegetarian sweets (I have a particular hatred of waste, so not keen on this myself)
- trying to get rid of as many of them as possible with the trick or treaters that knock on our door afterwards
- giving any still left over to friends
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we are very proud of our boys’ convictions regarding eating vegetarian sweets, as we have in no way forced them to make this decision. I do therefore think it’s important that they miss out as little as possible, so we will make sure there are plenty of vegetarian treats in our house for them. Luckily this isn’t too difficult these days, with vegetarian gummy sweets and even vegan marshmallows becoming more easily available.
How do you feel about Halloween? Do you join in enthusiastically, boycott it entirely or, like me, are you somewhere in the middle?
Coming back on the long drive from the Lake District after a very wet and muddy camping trip over the August long weekend, we popped into a service station café for a bite to eat. It was a bit wet and chilly and so we all really fancied something hot and tasty.
Finding something hot and tasty wasn’t as easy as you’d think though, once you excluded the bacon, sausage roll, chicken nugget and steak pie options from the menu. Of the fifteen or so items on offer, only two were in any way suitable for vegetarians: a toasted cheese and tomato pannini and a cheese and onion pasty – vegans were completely out of luck. My wife and I settled for the former and our children ended up with some cold snacks as neither of these options appealed to them at all.
Now for many years I wouldn’t have even noticed something like this so I am not about to get on my high horse about it (well ok… maybe a little bit), but these days, due to the increasing influence of my vegetarian children and the general change in our household diet, I am very much more conscious about what we all eat.
The vast majority of people do eat meat and, fair enough, the café as a roadside commercial enterprise needs to cater for the preferences of the majority and is not claiming to be vegetarian. But even if we put vegetarianism aside, with all the newspaper and television stories about an obese and unhealthy general population, do we really need menus filled with this much processed junk and saturated fat?
One of the many arguments put forward by those who oppose vegetarianism is that we evolved to eat meat in our diet. Even if you accept this argument, you can’t possibly believe that it formed 80% of our meals and it certainly wasn’t the kind of processed rubbish served in this café. Yuck! More fresh fruit and veg options please!
As I mentioned before, we’ve just returned from a two week holiday in Lanzarote, where some friends of ours have a villa. I won’t bore you with the details of the holiday itself, except to say that we had a great time, but wanted to share some of the challenges we faced feeding our vegetarian kids.
As we were self catering, eating at the villa wasn’t a problem. We bought groceries at the local Spar and so, although there were no veggie meats sold, we managed to ensure that our children got some nutrition in between the ridiculous amounts of ice cream, waffles, cake, etc that they (and we) managed to consume (it was a holiday after all!)
Problems arose, however, when we tried to eat out. The majority of restaurants specialised in fish dishes and sometimes the only vegetarian food available was garlic bread or chips. There were several restaurants serving pizza, but my boys were concerned that the cheese used might not be vegetarian. We tried to ask at one Italian restaurant but it was obvious that the waiter didn’t understand what we were asking, which is understandable, as we didn’t know the Spanish or Italian for vegetarian either!
To complicated matters, a frozen cheese and tomato pizza we bought at the Spare for our boys also turned out not to be vegetarian, so ended up in the bin.
I think that vegetarianism is still a bit of a mystery in Europe outside of the UK. I know someone who lived in France for a while and she says her vegetarian son was regarded with extreme suspicion. At school they assumed he was being fussy, rather than seeing it as a belief he was adhering to.
It’s probably similar in places like Lanzarote. Unfortunately in this case it’s not possible to just do as the locals do, as our vegetarian children do feel very strongly about not eating meat. Perhaps in future we’ll just have to limit our European holidays to a week at a time so we don’t have to worry about them living on chips and garlic bread!
Has anyone else had similar problems? If so, how did you handle it? We’d love to hear any suggestions and tips you have for us about feeding vegetarian kids abroad.