When Things Go Bad

The Vegetarian's Guide To The World

Forking Off

When Things Go Bad

Rule No. 1:


Keep your sense of perspective. There will be times when it goes wrong; when you get half way through a bowl of soup only to find a big joint of meat in the bottom of your bowl, or when you spend a long time painstakingly trying to order something in a foreign language only to have it appear in front of you covered in shredded bacon. It’s up to you whether you want to pick the bacon off and eat it anyway, but don’t lose sight of the point. If you make a mistake or something goes wrong, take a deep breath, brush your teeth, and start again. Your values are still intact and that’s what really matters so relax. Sometimes you will cock up. Sometimes you will have to eat food that has been on a plate which once touched meat. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this.

"Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.


Except when you don't.

Because, sometimes, you won't.


I'm sorry to say so

but, sadly, it's true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you."


- Dr Seuss

Rule No. 2:


Resign yourself to the fact that sometimes it’s going to be a bit shit. Once I was in a restaurant that only had a menu in Thai script which I couldn’t read. I asked for something vegetarian and the cook pointed to rice and vegetables. “Yes please,” I said. He pointed to chicken. “No thank-you. No chicken, no pig, no cow, no fish,” I said in Thai, smiling. He brought me chicken and pork and beef and fish. I spent a fortune and ate nothing. My friends were happy. Sometimes you might go hungry, not often, but it might happen. It will never happen for long and you may even feel better after a little fast, unless you drink. At a festival in France there was nothing I could eat but there was an awful lot of wine. Queue vomit. Careful with that. What I should have done was stock up on provisions at the local shop earlier in the day.


Worse than being hungry is that sometimes your food will be painfully boring and repetitive for long periods, the only thing I ate in Spain for some time was MacDonalds’ chips as that was all I could find. Keep your sense of perspective and remember that the next time you do find something it will taste extra specially good after so much boring food.


Rule No. 3:


Don’t blame people. The worst thing you can do is get all angsty and hate-filled when you’ve told a waiter a hundred times that you don’t eat meat and then he brings you out your vegetarian option liberally covered with pulled pork. It’s tempting, sometimes it almost seems like people are wilfully misunderstanding you, but you have to keep in mind that for some cultures the concept is just bizarre. Deep breath, happy thoughts, it’s all part of the experience.