HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

"Ask Aida" fiasco

Anyone catch her show yesterday where she touted her "vegetarian" soup? Made with chicken stock and fish sauce. Pretty lame. I won't be asking her any questions.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Guess it depends on your definition of "vegetarian" ... Maybe for Aida it just means no meat.

    Sort of like vegetarians who will eat cheese, drink milk, and indulge in butter.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      It will pass the Lenten Friday muster. That's "vegetarian" enough for me.

      1. re: JohnE O

        No it won't. The general prohibition is "all things flesh and of the flesh". Which includes chicken, milk and eggs. Unless you pay the pope some money. In Rouen, the cathedral's Tour de Beurre was financed by people who paid to be allowed to eat butter during lent. I'll bet somewhere there's a church with a chicken tower on it ...

        The usual name for a soup with a meat stock and vegetables is "vegetable soup". I'm not sure why she would go for the adjective -- but otherwise, how did it taste?

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          From Catholic Answers Forum (not meaning to thread-jack):

          "Although a dish containing meat or chicken broth should not be considered "vegetarian for Lent," it could still be offered to a Latin-rite Catholic as appropriate for Friday abstinence. The Church allows Latin-rite Catholics to eat dishes made from meat broth or containing trace amounts of meat (e.g., bits of chicken in chicken-noodle soup) on the days of abstinence. Strict vegetarians though would not consider it appropriate to eat either meat broth or small pieces of meat.

          The dishes (should) be advertised as "Lenten friendly" instead of "vegetarian for Lent."

          There are additional links that go into all sorts of Canon Law, but probably outside the realm of this thread.

          1. re: JohnE O

            As a kid growing up, we ate vegatables and fish ,not just during Lent,but every Friday. My parents really didn't go to to mass except for weddings and funerals, but they always insisted we not eat meat on Fridays.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Ya but that's a pretty loose definition of vegetarian. I have plenty of friends who are vegetarian and eat cheese and other dairy products but they certainly wouldn't eat anything made with chicken or beef broth/stock.

        She didn't say it was vegan (meaning NO animal products). But vegetarian usually indicates that meat (chicken, beef, pork, seafood) isn't used.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I think the standard definition of "vegetarian" these days is lacto-ovo vegetarian, while "vegan" implies you don't eat any animal products whatsoever. I don't think any of the common definitions would allow something made with chicken stock and fish sauce.

        2. There are people who call themselves vegetarians as long as they don't eat red meat. For some reason, chicken and seafood are okay.

          However, in my book, a vegetarian soup would imply no meat stock or fish sauce.
          I agree pretty lame.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dave_c

            ...leading the the observation by the late Laurie Colwin that apparently, "to some people, at least, chicken is a vegetable."

          2. Hahahaha that's pretty funny!

            1. fish might be forgivable when touting "vegetarian", but definitely not chicken.

              20 Replies
              1. re: Icantread

                If you eat fish, you are not a vegetarian.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Sorry there, but the common interpretation of "vegetarian", whether technically correct or not may or may not include the consumption of fish and shellfish. Since FN has become little more than pop-culture TV, I could see them calling something vegetarian and having fish sauce or fish stock or some similar accent to their dishes. As long as there are that many "vegetarians" eating seafood or dairy, it's a moot point. It's the only reason the word vegan or the phrase "strict vegetarian" exists.

                  1. re: Icantread

                    It may be a moot point, the way a words meaning can be eroded over time by misuse. My point was that if someone interprets 'vegetarian' in such a way that it allows them to eat fish and shellfish flesh, their interpretation is wrong, they aren't a vegetarian, they are just saying they are for whatever self-serving reason. 'Pescetarian' is a perfectly good word they could use instead. I think some people just think it's easier to say they're vegetarian rather than listing exactly what they will and will not eat, which just makes the term more ambiguous.

                    Dairy is debatable, since it doesn't necessarily involve killing (or even harming) the animal. Eggs are less debatable since they are unborn animals, but if they are not fertilized, they would never become an adult animal anyway. But if you are eating the flesh of an animal, you are not a vegetarian. The fact that the animal in question swims in the water rather than flying through the air or walking on land makes no difference whatsoever. As I understand the words, they mean the following:

                    Vegan: Eats nothing that comes from an animal source of any kind. No dairy, no eggs, obviously no flesh of any kind.

                    Vegetarian: Eats nothing that involves the death of an actual living, breathing animal. Dairy and eggs OK, but not cheese made with real rennet (though most vegetarians seem ignorant of the existence of rennet, and there are ways to make cheese without animal rennet), obviously no flesh of any kind. Worcestershire sauce not OK.

                    Pescetarian: Vegetarian-ish who has for some reason decided that eating fish is not bad, but eating mammals and birds is, maybe because fish aren't as easy to empathize with? I have no idea.

                    1. re: Buckethead

                      Unfertilized chicken eggs aren't living things. Chickens lay eggs regardless.

                      Cheese usually has renant, which isn't vegetarian.

                      My boyfriend is a vegetarian, but eats salmon when that is his only option. why? he's a US Marine. You try to be a Marine and not eat meat. You know what that gets you? Fat from pizza and pasta. Some people have reasons behind their eating practices, not everything needs a label.

                      That said, I do not make "vegetarian" soups, as a vegetarian, with anything but veggie/mushroom stock. We also eat free range eggs.

                      I guess that makes us ovotarians.

                      1. re: Jeserf

                        1. It's rennet.
                        2. Then he's not a vegetarian.
                        3. Plants contain protein and amino acids.

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          "not everything needs a label."

                          Indeed. I am puzzled, however, that you say this while appearing to argue that someone should be able to call himself vegetarian and still eat animal flesh.

                          If someone says he's vegetarian, I assume he is ovo-lacto vegetarian unless informed otherwise, but I will inquire if I'm going to feed him. Vegans call themselves vegans because they understand that it's a meaningful label. Every person who eats fish or poultry or other animal flesh who calls himself a vegetarian makes life more difficult for actual vegetarians, because people assume that "vegetarian" actually means "eats fish" and so on.

                          Don't use a label if it doesn't apply to you - it just makes the label meaningless. I haven't eaten red meat in over 20 years, and the vast majority of my meals are vegetarian (most vegan, in fact), but I have never called myself a vegetarian, because I do eat animal flesh (fish, seafood, poultry) occasionally.

                          The fact that your boyfriend eats salmon is no demerit against him. What is he? Someone who eats a vegetarian diet as much as is practical for him, and otherwise eats fish.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Because when you go over to a friend's house for dinner, or have some dietary restrictions that you want restaurants to be able to accommodate, saying "I'm a vegetarian" takes away a lot of the problems with being a polite diner and guest. My boyfriend is kosher, but when you're in the military, guess what...its easier to say vegetarian. no arguments.

                            I'm a vegetarian. I do not eat meat. I do not eat fertilized chicken eggs. Though, being pro-choice, is that hypocritical? I guess I can't call myself that, either!

                        2. re: Buckethead

                          You're being a little harsh. I am a "pescetarian" as you say, but when talking to people, I generally refer to myself as a vegetarian. This is not for self-serving or prideful reasons but because it's easiest and seriously, when you say pescetarian, you get looked at like a crazy and have to answer a ton of questions. Also linguistically speaking, it's sort of a misnomer. By that logic, vegetarians should be called... i don't know... meat or flesh-atarians. anyway, I say vegetarian, and usually follow up by saying "although I still eat fish occasionally."

                          I have to say, I get a little resentful of vegetarians who find out that I have made a serious effort to change my lifestyle for environmental and humane reasons and choose to instead focus on "you're not a real vegetarian." I come from a family of fisherman. I would be seriously offending the people I love, not to mention choosing to starve myself at all family functions (as well as starve myself of my heritage) if I ever fully cut fish out of my life. Also it allows my boyfriend and I to share meals together. I'm doing the best I can. I also eliminated dairy from my diet. Anyway, I guess my point is that I would appreciate a little more positivity rather than exclusivity from the vegetarian community.

                          1. re: CoryKatherine

                            You're not a vegetarian. You're a girl who has cut down on meat, but still eats fish. That's cool. Every little bit helps!

                            Vegetarians don't care about whether or not they're offending their families by not eating meat (bizarre, by the way- why should they care what you do/don't eat?)

                            We vegetarians get resentful right back because of people like you (no offense meant). This is why people like Aida think it's okay to put fish/chicken stock in a "vegetarian" soup. This is why I sometimes call restaurants and ask if they offer vegetarian options, get told yes, and then find out there's only a fish/chicken option. It causes too much confusion.

                            Please stop calling yourself a vegetarian. Notice I didn't say a "real" vegetarian. I don't believe there's such thing. You're a vegetarian or you're not. You're not. You'd probably get less exclusivity from the veggie community if you stopped calling yourself such.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              although on the other hand when i was sometimes eating both chicken and fish it caused a remarkable amount of stress with my husband's family (he was then my fiance) about what i would/wouldn't eat. just saying i was vegetarian and sticking to that made it easier for them than trying to explain what i did and didn't eat. especially when i was in the early stage of a relationship with them and didn't want to offend them with trying to fix me something special. so while i wasn't technically a vegetarian - to them i was and it just made it easier. sorry if that would've offended you.

                              1. re: AMFM

                                You're missing my point.

                                It wouldn't offend me, it just creates unnecessary confusion about what vegetarians do and don't eat. You ate chicken and fish. You didn't eat red meat. I think that's awesome. As I stated someplace else here, every little bit helps.

                                But you certainly weren't a vegetarian, and you did, in fact, add to the confusion about what one eats. As far as his family is probably concerned, vegetarians eat fish and chicken, since they know you as a "vegetarian", but have probably seen you eat both over the years.

                                I'm kind of confused how telling your future inlaws you don't eat red meat but you eat chicken and fish would confuse them. They're grownups. I'm assuming they understand basic English (or a language you both share).

                                "Hi, I'm AMFM. I don't eat red meat, but I eat chicken and fish" really doesn't seem too stressful or difficult.

                                Also, you mentioned you didn't want them to have to prepare you something special. Wouldn't they have to do the same thing once you told them you were a "vegetarian"? Your logic is backwards.

                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  I am with you on this, I swear, but I understand AMFM's point. I sometimes call myself a vegetarian-who-eats-seafood. Yes, it's a misnomer. But it also shuts down some annoying lines of questioning, which go like this:

                                  small h: I don't eat mammals or birds.
                                  irritating person: how about reptiles and amphibians? or marsupials?
                                  small h: no, I don't eat those either. I don't eat anything that walks on land.
                                  irritating person: what about crabs? crabs walk on land sometimes.
                                  small h: ok, whatever. I'm a vegetarian who eats seafood. also? go away.

                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                    small h: thank you for that sample conversation.
                                    invinotheresverde: why do you care so much about what people think being a vegetarian is? I don't honestly believe that there are any (decent) restaurants out there who would offer chicken or fish to someone asking for a vegetarian option. I'm telling you, the pride issue is directed the wrong way on this one. It seems to me like you're upset because slightly imperfect general non-meat eaters are taking away from your saintly-ness as a perfect vegetarian.
                                    the reason it would offend my family, as my grandfather told me once, is that i would basically be proffering the people I love the judgement that their way of life is wrong. In the end, it may be. But they are good people, and it would hurt them to know that I was contributing to a movement that would one day steal them of their livelihood. I don't think that is bizarre.

                                    But I will make more of an effort to tell anyone who is cooking for me that I am a person who prefers not to eat meat but who will eat fish if that is what is being cooked.

                                    1. re: CoryKatherine

                                      "invinotheresverde: why do you care so much about what people think being a vegetarian is? I don't honestly believe that there are any (decent) restaurants out there who would offer chicken or fish to someone asking for a vegetarian option. I'm telling you, the pride issue is directed the wrong way on this one. It seems to me like you're upset because slightly imperfect general non-meat eaters are taking away from your saintly-ness as a perfect vegetarian."

                                      No, the reason it bothers me is the very same reason this thread exists. It creates confusion. It means some places use lard/fish stock/chicken stock in their "vegetarian" entrees and don't give it a second thought.

                                      "the reason it would offend my family, as my grandfather told me once, is that i would basically be proffering the people I love the judgement that their way of life is wrong. In the end, it may be. "

                                      I don't believe anyone who eats meat is wrong or bad. It's totally their choice. Similarly, many people who wait tables/bartend/etc. don't drink (for example) but still profit because they sell it. There's no judgement involved unless you create that judgement. Do you, as a "vegetarian", believe what your family does is wrong for them? Of course not. But if you were a vegetarian, you'd think it was wrong for you.

                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                      no you misunderstand me. i didn't think the Hi I'm AMFM line you stated was difficult either. but it STRESSED them out to no end. seriously. they just couldn't seem to figure out what i ate. i don't get it either. so i "played" a vegetarian with them.

                                      because beef broth and stuff would literally make me ill (and they, apparently like aida, didn't get that). or bacon. and they didn't understand why i couldn't eat the gross processed twice baked potatoes so with them i just ate stricter vegetarian and didn't eat ANY meat. because they just couldn't figure it out.
                                      but i wasn't/am not a true vegetarian. so i lie about it. but it was easier than explaining. but in those cases i did eat to back it up.

                                      also many times i'll order a vegetarian meal at a wedding or on a plane (back when you used to be able to eat on them) for the same reason. because then i was certain there was nothing in it i didn't eat. but i've never been a true vegetarian. does that make any sense?

                                      1. re: AMFM

                                        "because beef broth and stuff would literally make me ill (and they, apparently like aida, didn't get that). or bacon."

                                        You know why this is? Because people call themselves vegetarian when they're not, and eat that stuff. Or they eat fish. Or chicken. Confusion!

                                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                                    The new term, though not that new anymore, that people have adopted is "flexitarian" for someone who has cut back on animal products but still eats them on occasion. But, that opens up a whole host of questions on what the limits are since none (few?) of us are carnivores. From what I'd read, people who use are are those who make a conscious effort to cut back, FWIW. People who use the term "vegetarian" but eat some sort of meat make it confusing for everyone. If someone comes to my house and is a vegetarian, now I have to ask what that means. It would be much easier if I were just told he doesn't eat red meat, or whatever. I knew someone who was a vegetarian, if the animal was "cute". That clears it up.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      chowser that made me laugh. at about 15 i pretty much started being a "vegetarian if the animal was cute" - ducks & bunnies & lamb were totally first to go! that is a great line!

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        "People who use the term "vegetarian" but eat some sort of meat make it confusing for everyone. If someone comes to my house and is a vegetarian, now I have to ask what that means. It would be much easier if I were just told he doesn't eat red meat, or whatever. I knew someone who was a vegetarian, if the animal was "cute". That clears it up."

                                        Exactly!

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Yeah, I've heard the term, but why does it exist? If you sometimes eat meat/fish/chicken, you're an omnivore. Why is that a big deal?

                            2. Maybe a stupid question, but this is media news so is this about her and what she was making and how she described her dish or "About the definition of a vegetarian?"

                              To me some vegetarians I know eat fish and cheese, are they true, well, that is beyond my knowledge of all the small differences and personal beliefs but the the fact that there is chicken stock to me is not vegetarian. However, I couldn't play the show, but I did catch a few minutes of it. Didn't she say chicken or vegetarian or am I thinking of another show. Just a thought to double check but I could be completely wrong, I was in and out all day so I may of just misheard or thought of something else.

                              Anyways, I personally don't like the show, she rarely answers any of the questions asked, just a short somewhat of an answer and then side steps to something else.

                              Someone asked her Sat the differences between paprikas, she said well there is sweet, smoky, this and that and then went on to something else. And never explained anything about what the person asked.

                              To me I don't like her. Just personally, but back to the point. fish stock ... maybe, chicken no I wouldn't think so. But maybe she did say vegetable or chicken I can't remember.

                              Just a thought.