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Vegans and Vegetarians: How Would You Feel About This?

cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 07:38 AM

I had a discussion recently with a friend in the restaurant business. And the following scenario came up. Neither of us really know how Kosher this type of thing is with vegans and vegetarians. So I submit it to you, CH:

You go to eat at a small, unfussy restaurant/bar type thing. It's not a place that is specifically catering to vegans/vegetarians (as in all-vegan menu, etc). You see a vegan option for fried seitan bites, maybe in some kind of sauce or on a tortilla - whatever. You order it, eat it, delicious.

Would it bother you if the fried seitan bites were cooked in the same deep fryer - same oil - as chicken wings, or some other meat? Does that un-veganize the dish?

Would it make a difference if the dish was or was not specifically listed as 'vegan' or 'vegetarian' on the menu?

I ask because I'm curious. I won't put down anybody's opinion or beliefs. I just want to know if this is one of the accepted realities of vegan and vegetarian culture, or if people expect that when a dish is presented as vegan/veg that it is completely 100% untainted by meat or meat byproduct.

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  1. s
    smartie RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 08:41 AM

    I think it's entirely up to you how far you take being vegan, vegetarian or kosher. I was brought up kosher and know plenty of Jews who go from one end of the scale to the other in terms of what is considered kosher to them. Some Jews will not even eat outside of their own or family's home, others will eat fish or vegetarian/dairy at any restaurant but still consider themselves kosher. Vegetarians that eat cheese but don't mind it made with rennet, others call themselves vegetarians but eat fish, others not.
    I did switch to vegetarian in my teens for 8 years, I was fussy about a spoon going into the gravy and then into the vegetables. I think unless you cook for yourself you cannot be sure what is tainted or not but it depends how difficult you want to make life or whether your beliefs/desires are worth going in the direction you want.
    I am neither kosher nor vegetarian now, but don't eat pork or shellfish and don't eat anything that's cooked in either so I wouldn't pick bacon out of a quiche or eat gumbo and not the shrimp. I guess I have leftover psychosis!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: smartie
      Bill Hunt RE: smartie Mar 15, 2012 09:13 PM

      No, you just know what you like. Nothing more, and likely nothing less.

      I too am Jewish, but where I grew up, we barely had a Temple, and no Hebrew School. My family was very, very mixed, as as we lived in the Deep South, there was just no holding Kosher - no way.

      Still, my wife, a devout Catholic, cannot eat shell fish, but that is not due to any religious dietary doctrine, but just an allergy, that she developed later in life. We do watch out for that, and talk to the chefs, regarding her needs. I, on the other hand, can eat almost anything, though there ARE some things, that I choose to not eat, but only because I do not enjoy them.

      Now, we are both omnivores, and I border on being a carnivore. We do not get THAT hung up on foods, or their preps, beyond wife's allergies, or my preferences. We leave that to others.

      We host many, who have made dietary decisions in their lives, and try to accommodate them, as closely, as we can. That is their choice, and when our guests, we respect that, and work very hard to accommodate. Now, Level Five Veganism does pose a few extra problems, but still, we try.

      Relax, do not really think about the food that much, and most of all, enjoy!

      Hunt

    2. m
      maxie RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 09:05 AM

      I definitely wouldn't designate it as vegan. I would just put it on the menu. There are those who realize they are possibly eating "tainted" food, and accept it due to convenience and practicality, there are others who will feel duped.

      1. onceadaylily RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 09:42 AM

        I think Maxie has it right. It should be put it on the menu without that designation, and if someone *asks* if it is a vegetarian/vegan dish, it would be nice if the waitperson gave full disclosure about the oil. One of the local Chinese places changed their menu this year: their 'vegetarian' selection was replaced with a 'vegetable' selection, which then made me wonder if someone approached the restaurant over an issue similar to this. Personally, I wouldn't care terribly much if it was cooked in the same oil as meat, but there are plenty of vegans and vegetarians who very much do care.

        1 Reply
        1. re: onceadaylily
          Bill Hunt RE: onceadaylily Mar 15, 2012 09:21 PM

          Disclosure can be very important.

          With a bi-valve allergy in the family, we do that with many seafood dishes - we ask. Provided that the restaurant is up front and honest, it should be the same with vegan fare. They should just tell it, like it is. When we explain wife's problems, all have come forth, and explained about broths, etc., and we have ordered, based on that. Luckily, wife can to a tiny bit, going so far as to take a taste of one of my Seared Scallops, but cannot do much. Same for her lactose intolerance - a little, and all is OK, but give her a cream broth, then some bi-valves, and finally a cheesecake, and I have one sick puppy on my hands.

          Though I am anything BUT a vegan, I can understand, and can relate, based on wife's issues, though they are slightly different.

          I think that any considerate restaurant should be open, honest and caring, even if it means that the diner might need/require something else. After all, it should be about the diner's satisfaction.

          Hunt

        2. Jetgirly RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 12:39 PM

          I am a seven-year "vegetarian" (no chicken, fish or "meat", but I do eat dairy products like eggs, cheese and yogurt) and shared oil doesn't bother me. Oddly, I don't care if my soup was prepared with chicken stock either (I eat soup out so rarely that the "issue" might only come up once or twice a year anyways). However, my vegetarianism is solely a matter of personal taste and has nothing to do with my ethics. I guess this means the shared oil might bother me if, for example, my food took on a "meaty" taste. I could see this happening with fish, maybe? I can speak only for myself though, every vegetarian is different.

          1. Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 01:39 PM

            In terms of expectations, I would expect most vegetarians (and even more vegans) would consider that disqualifying from being labeled as vegetarian or vegan. And many might consider it sneaky or unethical if there's an ingredient list but that omits to clarify this; as they say in the securities business, it would be considered a material omission.

            To use a graphic illustration within the carnivorous side of things: imagine you are eating a dish and you are told that it was fried in animal fat, but failed to tell you the fat came from your recently deceased dog, Sparky.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Karl S
              cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 24, 2011 02:26 PM

              How'd you know about Sparky? Man, that is some cold Titus Andronicus style s***.

              In my mind (as an admitted omnivore), there would seem to be one major distinction between your example and my scenario: how unexpected such a thing would be.

              I realize that many people don't have any intimate knowledge of professional kitchens. But to use an example I feel is more apt, I get the impression that if a vegetarian goes to a restaurant that doesn't largely cater to vegetarians and orders something grilled or cooked on the griddle, that they understand that food is likely cooked on the same surface where meat was recently cooked, and that said cooking surface wasn't scrubbed shiny in between. I could be wrong.

              I also suspect that a lot of vegetarians find that a little less troubling than their food being cooked in oil where meat was recently cooked. I'm not sure why or how to quantify the difference; it's just my sense. But is it that much more surprising? I would say it's certainly a heck of a lot less surprising than being served food tainted with the flesh of a beloved family pet, anyway. It would seem to me to be the type of thing that even a person who's not too familiar with professional kitchens could figure out on their own.

              I hesitate to even post this response - I'm trying not to steer this conversation, and I appreciate opposing opinions and retorts. Especially the 'gut reaction' type responses. No justification is necessary.

              1. re: cowboyardee
                f
                ferret RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 02:46 PM

                Someone who is vegan as a lifestyle choice would not put themselves in that situation. Anyone who's vegetarian but doesn't probe too deeply into how the food is prepared is assuming the risk that there's a possibility of cross-contamination.

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  tracylee RE: cowboyardee Sep 28, 2011 10:08 AM

                  I've been wondered about the griddle issue in small restaurants that serve both meat and vegetarian items. I'm not vegetarian, but I've seen busy small places with what appears to be only one cooking area on TV that say they have both vegetarian and meat items. Reading through the responses, it appears that it's at the diner's discretion how much of a difference that makes.

              2. m
                Muchlove RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 02:56 PM

                As a vegetarian I would really rather not eat a vegetarian item that had been fried in oil that meat or fish had been fried in. However, other vegetarians may feel differently. For instance, some vegetarians eat non-vegetarian cheese, some don't mind picking bacon out of a salad and eating the rest, etc.

                But basically I would rather a restaurant specifies on the menu that it does not keep separate oil for frying vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. I won't get upset and make a fuss, I'll just order differently.

                One thing that should be pointed out though is that if you are a vegetarian dining out at restaurant that also caters to non-vegetarians, I think you have to be prepared for the fact that occasionally you are pretty much certain to be getting a little..er..essence of meat with your vegetarian meal. Pans are shared, not always after being cleaned so well, oil is shared, etc.

                I remember when I worked in a pub in the UK I watched one of the chefs cutting up cooked ham for one woman's ham salad, and then when he moved on to her vegetarian dining partner's goat cheese salad he just went right ahead and chopped up stuff with the same knife. Not sure of the food safety aspect of that one either btw! But the point is that I'm pretty sure the vegetarian would have preferred a non-hammy knife!

                Another not-very-veggie story: I once ordered a mozzarella and tomato panini at a cafe (again in the UK) right after a guy ordered some kind of chicken-pesto panini thing. Mine got put on the press next to the non-veg one and at the same time, before I could say anything, the server gave the non-veg panini a smoosh with a spatula to press it down some more and a load of juicy-chicken-pesto goodness spewed out on to my panini. I immediately realised that this sort of thing must happen all the time because most places don't seem to have a dedicated press for veggie paninis, but somehow seeing it happen was a bit too much. I didn't eat my panini - I just quietly got the servers attention and explained that I was vegetarian and actually wasn't feeling so hungry anymore so I would just take my drink to go. I was prepared to pay for the wasted panini (after all, even though it seemed "wrong" to me, it wasn't like the cafe had made any claims to be vegetarian friendly) but actually the server was a bit embarassed and just charged for the drink.

                Good news is that in India it's not uncommon for a restaurant to have separate staff, equipment and even kitchens for veg and non-veg food. Good news for me :)

                1. lilgi RE: cowboyardee Sep 24, 2011 03:14 PM

                  It shouldn't be labeled as such because the vegan/vegetarian should make the choice. Some would probably ask in this case how the dish is prepared so that at least they can make an informed decision. Not everyone follows the same reasoning for choosing the way that they eat.

                  1. PotatoHouse RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 04:59 AM

                    If you were to do this, you best be prepared for some ultra-Vegan to raise holy hell in your restaurant. There are always some nutjobs out there just WAITING to be offended and to let everybody know about it in the loudest manor possible.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PotatoHouse
                      Bill Hunt RE: PotatoHouse Mar 15, 2012 09:28 PM

                      Yeah, the Level Five Vegans, could have a field day with many restaurants, and if they were in San Francisco, Seattle, or some areas of Los Angles, maybe even gather media attention.

                      Hunt

                    2. cowboyardee RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:18 PM

                      So far, it would seem that a mixed majority would consider this type of thing problematic. So what's the better strategy?

                      - A simple description of the dish on the menu WITHOUT the words 'vegan' or 'vegetarian.' As is common on menus, the important components would be listed, and these would probably lead people to understand that the dish is meant as a vegan/veg offering. People can assume what they want. If and when anyone asks, their server would freely provide the disclaimer that the restaurant has no separate deep fryer.

                      - On the menu, the dish is listed as something like 'Vegan Crispy Fried Seitan Bites' (or whatever, you get the idea). In small print at the end of the menu would be a disclaimer that the kitchen does not have separate facilities for the preparation of vegan/veg foods. This would also cover ambiguities of other vegan/veg offerings like the shared grill I mention above.

                      Or do you think anything shy of full disclosure right there and plainly obvious in the menu's description of the dish amounts to unforgivable trickery?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        ipsedixit RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:24 PM

                        How about a disclaimer like "made with vegan ingredients, but not in a vegan-free environment"?

                        The last part may be redundant esp. if you are dining in a regular (i.e. non-vegan) restaurant.

                        Or maybe a disclaimer like "vegan-friendly"?

                        I think if you are care, and you are dining in any place that is not totally vegan, the onus is on you (i.e. the diner) to inquire.

                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:33 PM

                          Unforgivable trickery. Under no circumstances describe it as vegan or vegetarian.

                          Put it this way: if a single customer would not order it if given the disclosure that there's no separate deep fryer or that a common deep fryer, it's unethical to withhold the info.

                          1. re: Karl S
                            cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 25, 2011 02:37 PM

                            I must also ask, Karl (though you have no obligation to answer if you don't want to) - are you yourself vegan/vegetarian, or are you answering from a general ethical perspective?

                            1. re: cowboyardee
                              Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:42 PM

                              Utter omnivore. I am answering from a general ethical and business perspective.

                              Put it another way: what are you gaining by avoiding the disclosure? A less cluttered menu? Not worth it. (And I run my own business, too.) That fact that you worry there is a problem is a good flag that there is indeed a problem. Trust that worry, instead of the rationalization to avoid the worry.

                            2. re: Karl S
                              PotatoHouse RE: Karl S Sep 25, 2011 05:13 PM

                              [Quote] Put it this way: if a single customer would not order it if given the disclosure that there's no separate deep fryer or that a common deep fryer, it's unethical to withhold the info. [/Quote]

                              Especially when the customer may order the "vegetarian" dish for religious reasons. You could cause severe personal anguish for a devout Buddhist or Jew or Hindi or Islamist.

                            3. re: cowboyardee
                              Bill Hunt RE: cowboyardee Mar 15, 2012 09:30 PM

                              Personally, I think that talking frankly with the server, and then maybe the chef, should yield the full disclosure of all aspects of the dish(s) in question. I hope that they are forth coming, and honest.

                              Hunt

                            4. mcf RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:23 PM

                              My friend has been a vegetarian for reasons of conscience for decades and he'd become involuntarily ill if/when he found out something he'd eaten had been cooked that way. Even if he tried, knowing it wasn't doing harm, he just couldn't tolerate it. Visceral reaction. Literally.

                              1. biggreenmatt RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:30 PM

                                Yeah, I'm vegan and frankly couldn't care less about the "cross-contamination".

                                My reasons for not caring are two: first, I'm lazy. Veganism, especially when eating out at the bar with the mates, is tough enough without getting into issues of iotas of animal products on the molecular level. Second and more importantly, I'm neither an "ethical vegan" nor a "health vegan". I see nothing unethical with raising, killing and eating animals (especially the tasty ones), though as a former (and very likely future) consumer of animal products, I like to think that animals that are treated better, are fed better and have better lives tend to taste better, so there's a self-interest argument to raise and slaughter animals "ethically", whatever that means.

                                That said, there's no Official Vegan Rulebook when it comes to this kind of thing: it all depends on the individual person.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: biggreenmatt
                                  chowser RE: biggreenmatt Sep 28, 2011 06:40 AM

                                  "That said, there's no Official Vegan Rulebook when it comes to this kind of thing: it all depends on the individual person."

                                  As shown by this thread alone. It is interesting to read the diverse responses.

                                2. rworange RE: cowboyardee Sep 25, 2011 02:52 PM

                                  As someone who is going to test drive being a vegan next month, if something was labeled vegan but fried in oil with animal fats, that would bother me.

                                  However, a dish that looked vagan and is not labeled as such, I would think it was up to me to ask the details of how it was prepared.

                                  For me, it is a health thing. I try to avoid sugar and HFCS. Those two things throw me off. I get hungrier when foods have those in them.

                                  So, I want to see how being a total vegan impacts the way I feel. If something is fried in the same fat as meat products that might change how I am feeling in general. So I might not know something had touched animal products, but come to the incorrect conclusion that I'm not feeling any better as a vegan.

                                  I doubt I'll be eating out during that time to be sure I can control what I'm eating. On the other hand I might just take the opportunity to do a vegan menu crawl.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rworange
                                    linguafood RE: rworange Sep 25, 2011 03:07 PM

                                    As an avid chain food fan, how do you manage to avoid sugar and HFCS? Isn't that practically in all the products you like to eat?

                                    1. re: linguafood
                                      rworange RE: linguafood Sep 25, 2011 05:03 PM

                                      Well, I said I try to avoid it.

                                      I don't buy soda, only coffee or water usually. Yes, mayo, catsup and the roll has either HFCS or sugar in it. So I know whatever sandwich I get isn't going to fill me up long. Fast food isn't a major part of my diet.

                                      Since I returned to the US in June, I've had about 25 fast food meals. THe only thing is I post about most of them so it might seem I eat it more than I do ... which is why I know how many fast food meals I've had.

                                      http://www.chow.com/search?search_boa...

                                      It aveages out to about 7 fast food meals per month. That was even more than usual.

                                      Anyway, trying to recalibrate doing the vegan thing for a while.

                                  2. k
                                    khuzdul RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 09:02 AM

                                    Regardless of if some vegetarians are fine with it or not (I am pretty sure that no vegan will be fine with it and this would violate the European legal standard for labeling an item as vegan which doesn't much matter if you are not in Europe except for what a "reasonable person" might think), if you advertise the item as either or both vegan/vegetarian, you are making an "express warranty". An express warranty claim is much harder to defend against potential liability including potentially significant monetary claims from people who are vegetarian for religious reasons (for part of the cost for religious purification) when the establishment cooks it in oil that was used to cook meat. The establishment very well may win the case and in the end pay nothing but at the very least it might tie up both the establishment and a considerable amount of capital in the court system for months/years.

                                    See the McDonalds case brought by Harish Bharti vs McDonalds and Wayne Andrews vs Pasta Jay’s or the recent lawsuit currently in progress against Moghul Express in NJ.

                                    It is not worth the potential liability to surf the grey area and label it outright as vegetarian or vegan. I would put it on the menu listing the ingredients and let the customer decide if it is vegetarian/vegan, then there is no "express warranty" issues. As a non-vegetarian/vegan establishment there would be a easy assertion, should it arise, that there was no "implied warranty" either.

                                    On a side note, Pasta Jay's did not change their recipe for their vegetarian marinara sauce (nor I believe their menu listing for a long time), but instructed their servers to specify that there were anchovies in the sauce. They currently do not advertise the dish as vegetarian.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: khuzdul
                                      cowboyardee RE: khuzdul Sep 26, 2011 02:10 PM

                                      "I would put it on the menu listing the ingredients and let the customer decide if it is vegetarian/vegan, then there is no "express warranty" issues."
                                      ______
                                      I guess that's sort of the issue. If it were fried in duck fat, that would seem a reasonable detail to put in the menu description. In a situation like this though, calling, say, chicken wings an ingredient is quite a stretch. It would also be a pretty inelegant way write a menu.

                                      I mentioned in a post above - if the menu description had an asterisk with a footnote below that the restaurant does not have separate facilities for the cooking of vegetarian or vegan options, would that be sufficient to avoid both liability and ethical wonkiness?

                                      Also, just to clarify - I'm not in the restaurant business, and this situation is hypothetical.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                        k
                                        khuzdul RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 09:24 PM

                                        "I mentioned in a post above - if the menu description had an asterisk with a footnote below that the restaurant does not have separate facilities for the cooking of vegetarian or vegan options, would that be sufficient to avoid both liability and ethical wonkiness?"

                                        Essentially you are asking if saying one thing in the name/description of the dish, then putting an asterisk with a disclaimer somewhere else in the menu that essentially says that the "hey you know what, name/description of the dish may or may not be true" is sufficient to avoid liability and ethical wonkiness…

                                        Personally, if a menu goes out of the way to advertise something as special in some way (vegan/vegetarian), than I expect it to be "special" in the advertised way. If something is advertised as vegan or vegetarian, e.g. "vegan potato croquets", I think that it is reasonable for a consumer to think that it is somehow different than "potato croquets" - putting a star next to it with a disclaimer somewhere else on the menu saying that it is in fact just potato croquets cooked in a deep fryer that may or may not have cooked chicken fingers/fish sticks/wings is not very "special". Accordingly, a vegan/vegetarian deep fried seitan should be more than just deep fried seitan cooked in a fryer that just cooked the same fingers/sticks/wings. A "Lent Special" breakfast egg sandwich probably should have some special effort to not have been cooked bacon drippings vs someone coming up and ordering two eggs and cheese on a roll. Something that is advertised as "nut allergy friendly" with a astrick disclaimer footnoting that you don't have separate facilities for your deep fried peanuts probably would not be legally defensible if you caused a deadly anaphylaxis, even if the deep fryer was originally filled with pure canola oil and some peanut oil just happened to leach into it from the earlier batch of peanuts and also regardless of what fry station practice is in restaurants which do not advertise nut allergy friendly dishes.

                                        Saying that something is a vegetable XYZ is simply stating the ingredients (e.g. vegetable tempura, vegetable pakora, grilled peppers/eggplant, home fries) which to me is not a claim of special status, and thus "buyer beware" for any vegetarians and vegans who order it without inquiring more deeply into the preparation.

                                        If you were in the EU, if you labeled such a product as vegan, I believe that the theoretical establishment WOULD be in violation of food labeling laws.

                                        1. re: khuzdul
                                          m
                                          Muchlove RE: khuzdul Sep 27, 2011 01:11 AM

                                          Not sure why people are making such a difference between vegetarians and vegans - only difference is dairy and eggs. A vegetarian is just as likely to object to meaty oil as a vegan is.

                                          Btw I will mention that restaurants here (India) do sometimes specify on the menu or a sign in the restaurant that they don't have a separate kitchen for vegetarian preparations. This doesn't necessarily mean stuff is fried in the same oil, it just means that the pan being used to make your kadhai paneer will probably have once been used to make something...less veggie. For certain vegetarians here, even the fact that pan once touched meat (even if it was scrubbed well afterwards) will be too much.

                                          1. re: khuzdul
                                            cowboyardee RE: khuzdul Sep 27, 2011 06:43 AM

                                            "Essentially you are asking if saying one thing in the name/description of the dish, then putting an asterisk with a disclaimer somewhere else in the menu that essentially says that the "hey you know what, name/description of the dish may or may not be true" is sufficient to avoid liability and ethical wonkiness…"
                                            ______
                                            That would be one way of looking at it.

                                            Another way of looking at it is to ask the question of to what extent something like this changes the essential 'trueness' of the vegan/vegetarian label for someone who knows they are eating at a non-vegan restaurant in the first place. If we define vegan or vegetarian food strictly as food which has been completely untainted by meat particulate matter, then preparing and serving 'vegan' food in a non vegan restaurant is essentially impossible. Much like serving 'peanut-free' food from any real working kitchen that prepares peanuts - it simply cannot be guaranteed.

                                            So another way to frame the question is this: exactly when does it become unreasonable to call food vegan/veg. If it has been cooked in the same oil? If it has been grilled on the same surface or cut with the same knife (neither more than wiped/scraped)? If it has been grilled nearby on a dedicated grill but flavored with smoke from juices dripping from the meat grill/section nearby? Or just if it has been prepared in the same kitchen as meat, where it can be assumed that some small degree of contamination happens pretty much regardless of how careful people are in a real working environment?

                                            I think you're onto something when you say that labeling food as vegan or vegetarian means at least that some extra steps and care was taken. But to what extent exactly? I just think this line is a lot blurrier than other people seem to think.

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                              s
                                              sandylc RE: Bill Hunt Mar 16, 2012 01:14 PM

                                              Including the names of the animals...heehee.

                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                Bill Hunt RE: sandylc Mar 16, 2012 09:55 PM

                                                And their photographs on the menu...

                                                Hunt

                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                  s
                                                  sandylc RE: Bill Hunt Mar 17, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                  Hollywood style, with hats and jewelry.

                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                    Bill Hunt RE: sandylc Mar 17, 2012 08:28 PM

                                                    You know, that would probably work quite well.

                                                    Hunt

                                        2. cowboyardee RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 02:23 PM

                                          Here is another question for people -

                                          Do vegetarians and vegans eating at a place that also serves meat object if their food is grilled on the same grill or cooked on the same griddle where meat was recently cooked?

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                            Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 02:37 PM

                                            They might well if they are not thoroughly cleaned (not just scraped down, for example).

                                            1. re: Karl S
                                              cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 26, 2011 02:43 PM

                                              I would think in most cases, restaurants aren't doing a lot more than scraping down their griddles and grills during service. End of the night, most probably get a more thorough cleaning. Maybe also in between lunch and dinner some places.

                                              I think they're usually kept pretty hot during service, which would make em hard to clean beyond a good scraping.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                Well, you asked for opinions. I didn't say the opinions would make you more comfortable with your idea. I think there would be plenty of people who'd expect a clean pan to be used for a dish presented as vegetarian or vegan, instead of the mixed griddle, even if it takes longer to wait for a spot over the burners.

                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                  cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 26, 2011 05:32 PM

                                                  I'm not attacking your opinion. Just pointing out that AFAIK cleaning a grill well midservice isn't especially feasible for a restaurant, just in case that influences anyone's answer, and also as a point of general interest.

                                                  You opined that such a thing would make you uncomfortable -- or at least that you think it would make some vegetarians uncomfortable. That's fine, and thank you for the input.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                                    Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                    Just to clarify: it wouldn't make me uncomfortable. But I feel a restaurant the presented food as vegan/vegetarian with such a practice without disclosure would be asking for it from vegans/vegetarians.

                                                    1. re: Karl S
                                                      cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 26, 2011 05:56 PM

                                                      Fair nuff. I don't honestly know whether restaurants of this type grill 'vegetarian' items on the same surface they use to cook meat or if they maybe designate one area of the grill for vegetarian only. But like I said, cleaning the grill thoroughly during service strikes me as implausible.

                                                      If I had to bet, I'd guess that grilling on the same surface is a fairly common practice. But I could be wrong,

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                                        onceadaylily RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                        If I made an issue of this, it would be at the expense of my 'easy' menu options (particularly at breakfast and brunch), but Karl S has a point. I worked at a cafe that transitioned into advertising vegetarian and vegan options, and, after a short time, we did have to invest in extra equipment. It was an open kitchen, and we quickly began to receive complaints based not only on what the customers saw, but what some could taste. Animal fat is used in cooking for its very distinct and noticeable flavor, and easily detected by the same.

                                                        1. re: onceadaylily
                                                          cowboyardee RE: onceadaylily Sep 27, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                          Interesting point. I'm not sure I could tell the difference between food fried in oil that has contained meat and oil that has only contained vegetable matter. But I've never had to be especially sensitive to that kind of thing.

                                            2. re: cowboyardee
                                              Bill Hunt RE: cowboyardee Mar 15, 2012 09:40 PM

                                              Well, that is a great question.

                                              What about a chef, who just grilled meat on one area of the grill, but still had that on their mind? I mean those mental vibes might be an issue, even if the grill surface had ONLY been used for Vegan fare.

                                              Should the grill surface be sterilized daily, or maybe between each service?

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                mcf RE: Bill Hunt Mar 16, 2012 06:39 AM

                                                Doesn't it require sterilizing the chef? Or, minimally, brainwashing?

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  Bill Hunt RE: mcf Mar 16, 2012 09:56 PM

                                                  Now, I am not a proponent of forced sterilization of any chef, but that might just be me.

                                                  Hunt

                                                2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                  s
                                                  sandylc RE: Bill Hunt Mar 16, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                  I don't know much about keeping Kosher, but have seen enough in my life to have some idea about what a commercial kitchen that is not Kosher has to go through to prepare Kosher food. This is based upon religion. If the demands of the vegan population extend into the fat in the fryers and the grease on the griddle, then I would venture a guess that very few restaurants are acceptable to most vegans. Forgot my point here, but I guess it has something to do with should vegans be given the same courtesy as those who keep Kosher?

                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                    Bill Hunt RE: sandylc Mar 16, 2012 09:59 PM

                                                    Well, the "religious concept" of Kosher was based on the food of the day. Much has changed. However, there is still a basis for some of it. For instance, beef and milk do not digest in the human stomach that well. I always drink a nice Cab Sauvignon with my beef, and never any milk.

                                                    With proper processing, many food items, that were once considered "unclean," are not just fine - though not all of them

                                                    Many dietary "laws," had a strong basis, way back when, and in some cases, even today, might carry some weight. It just depends.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                      hill food RE: Bill Hunt Mar 17, 2012 01:06 AM

                                                      well yeah, shellfish in the desert just doesn't keep well. (not that I've tried)

                                              2. b
                                                Breezychow RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                I think it would depend on your reason for being vegetarian/vegan. If you're doing it for ethical reasons, then yes I think there would be a problem using a mixed-use fryer; but if you're doing it for health, then I can't see where there would be big difference.

                                                Now for those really dedicated to the veg lifestyle, I hate to break it to them, but very few restaurants (unless they do a LOT of fried potatoes) have a deep fryer they can completely dedicate to vegetables only, unless they're a mainline vegetarian restaurant.

                                                1. linguafood RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                  God I'm so happy I'm an omnivore. So many things NOT to worry about :-D

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: linguafood
                                                    onceadaylily RE: linguafood Sep 26, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                    Oh, shuddup. ;)

                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                      ipsedixit RE: linguafood Sep 26, 2011 09:27 PM

                                                      I'm just happier I don't have any vegan or vegetarian friends or, more precisely, anal vegan or vegetarian friends.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        onceadaylily RE: ipsedixit Sep 26, 2011 09:56 PM

                                                        This doesn't have to be that kind of conversation . . . though there was that ticking countdown noise in the background, huh? Too bad.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          linguafood RE: ipsedixit Sep 27, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                          I have vegan and vegetarian friends, and neither of them expect me to use a separate stove/pan/oven to prepare foods for them. I admit it's easier to cook for our "vegetarian" friend (he, ahem, eats fish...) than our vegans, but then pasta is always an option, as are rice dishes.

                                                          I am just genuinely happy that I don't have any restrictions or religious beliefs that would make eating out or eating elsewhere ridiculously complicated.

                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                            hill food RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2011 12:34 AM

                                                            yup. I'll happily eat vegan/vegetarian, but if it's my house? I'll use the pan of choice.

                                                            but a restaurant should just list the ingredients and make no claims of V/V if they can't follow through.

                                                        2. re: linguafood
                                                          Bill Hunt RE: linguafood Mar 15, 2012 09:44 PM

                                                          Just wait. The next thread that you read will give you something else to worry about. You are NOT home free, even as an omnivore. There will definitely be something lurking, to blindside you.

                                                          If the CH threads do not shake you up, then look at FoxNews, and see what is now bad for you - likely something that was good for you, just a week before - depending on the study du jour.

                                                          Enjoy,

                                                          Hunt

                                                        3. j
                                                          jennymoon RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                          I'm a vegetarian and would probably still order the seitan bites, given that I am aware that most restaurant food fried on a griddle or in a deep-fryer is contaminated with meat particles.

                                                          I recommend not specifically labeling the seitan bites as vegan. The picky ones will ask and the waiters should be trained to inform them that the fryer is shared with meat items. Perhaps a small note at the bottom of the menu urging customers to ask about ingredients if they have an allergy or dietary preference.

                                                          1. a
                                                            AverageJo RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 06:14 PM

                                                            I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for about 20 years. I'd prefer to know if the fryer oil is used for meat as well as veg. The first few years I was veggie, I was extremely fussy about such things. I also was scrupulous about only eating rennet-free cheese. The older I get, the less stressed I get about these details. So yes, I'm being inconsistent: I'd prefer to know about the shared oil, but I might still eat the dish.

                                                            RE: the shared grill -- that would be off-putting too. However, I can't think of many vegetarian items (apart from eggs) that would be cooked on the grill. At mainstream restaurants I usually order pasta, pizza, or salad, none of which require a grill, do they? Here in Toronto there's a burger joint that specifically *does* use a separate grill and separate tongs to handle the veggie burgers. I appreciate that.

                                                            1. c
                                                              Chipizzadude RE: cowboyardee Sep 26, 2011 09:26 PM

                                                              This style of eating is for ones health. If it is deep fried it's going to be against your health. Don't fry the food even if it is all vegan, kosher or whatever, lightly steam it. Choose a meal that would resonate with Mother Nature and it will sell. Prepare vegetables with love, don't beat the crap out of them with your fryer! Try a vegan ruben sandwich with tempe. Or try a raw red cabbage wrap with avocado, pickled veggies and some mustard. Put any veggies you have in the kitchen with the wrap and they will love this. Put some Raw apple pie on the menu. It is a meal and desert in one.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Chipizzadude
                                                                m
                                                                Muchlove RE: Chipizzadude Sep 27, 2011 01:08 AM

                                                                What utter utter nonsense.

                                                                ETA: Sorry if you feel this is a little harsh. I just feel like you have made huge generalisations about vegetarianism based on your experiences. Not everyone is vegetarian for health reasons. Some are animal lovers, some care about the environment, some want to save money, some care about their souls (according to the particular religious strand they follow), some just don't care for meat. Please don't speak for all vegetarians - or at least don't speak for me.

                                                                1. re: Chipizzadude
                                                                  tazia RE: Chipizzadude Sep 27, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                                  This is one of the more frustrating attitudes to come across as a vegetarian. I'm a vegetarian for ethical and environmental reasons, which means I occasionally want greasy, delicious vegetarian comfort food. A vegetarian diner recently opened near Boston and my main criticism of them is that the food is way too healthy. You don't go to a diner if you want healthy food, even if it's a vegetarian one.

                                                                  1. re: tazia
                                                                    hill food RE: tazia Sep 30, 2011 12:40 AM

                                                                    HA! an ethical veggie with a sense of humor about it! taz - you're cool in my book.

                                                                    1. re: tazia
                                                                      PotatoHouse RE: tazia Sep 30, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                      My wife and I have a dear friend whose parents are from India. He is Tamil and therefor Vegan, but he is not the skinniest Indian I have ever met. He is lovingly referred to by our group of friends as "The Chocolate Buddha".

                                                                  2. o
                                                                    odkaty RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                    An otherwise vegetarian/vegan dish in meaty fryer oil is no longer vegetarian/vegan. This customer can taste the difference.

                                                                    That's a very unethical menu writer/chef. I'd be wondering what else is the restaurant deliberately misleading the customer about. "Grass-fed" meat in the form of Cargill or Hormell? Cage free eggs courtesy of Perdue?

                                                                    33 Replies
                                                                    1. re: odkaty
                                                                      Karl S RE: odkaty Sep 27, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                      the OP said it's a hypo.

                                                                      1. re: Karl S
                                                                        o
                                                                        odkaty RE: Karl S Sep 27, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                                        Got that :-)

                                                                      2. re: odkaty
                                                                        cowboyardee RE: odkaty Sep 27, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                                        "That's a very unethical menu writer/chef. I'd be wondering what else is the restaurant deliberately misleading the customer about."
                                                                        ____
                                                                        It's hypothetical. And even in this hypothetical situation, there is not necessarily any deliberate misleading. One of the questions at hand is how best to reveal this kind of information to interested parties without being overly disturbing to the happy delusions of others or creating an unappetizing vibe.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                          o
                                                                          odkaty RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 10:15 AM

                                                                          "there is not necessarily any deliberate misleading."

                                                                          I disagree with this. The dish is described as vegetarian/vegan when it isn't — how can that be anything but misleading? Deliberate or not, it's untrue.

                                                                          Better to describe the dish and add something in small print to the effect of "cooked in oil shared with <whatever>." Then the customer is correctly informed and the restaurant isn't misleading anyone ... except people who need large print :-)

                                                                          1. re: odkaty
                                                                            cowboyardee RE: odkaty Sep 27, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                            That's why I said 'necessarily' - for one, the dish wouldn't necessarily be described on the menu as vegetarian/vegan. That's one option for dealing with this situation.

                                                                            The other option is calling it vegetarian or vegan (to indicate that indeed no animals were killed nor were their byproducts bought or used expressly for that dish) but including a disclaimer in one way or another that there is incidental contamination with animal products.

                                                                            FWIW, there does seem to be a consensus that calling such a food vegan without any kind of warning or disclaimer would be deceptive.

                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                            srsone RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 10:16 AM

                                                                            imo...if u are a vegan..vegetarian..pescatarian ..omnivore..have allergies..lactose..religious reasons...whichever-way you eat.... its all up to you..its your responsibility to ask questions..

                                                                            1. re: srsone
                                                                              cowboyardee RE: srsone Sep 27, 2011 10:30 AM

                                                                              On this thread your position would seem to be a minority one. Though I must say I'm surprised there hasn't been a little more of the buyer beware type sentiment. It seems to be the going logic with a lot of other kinds of diet restrictions.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 10:44 AM

                                                                                Not similar: the issue that you posed was presenting this food in some way as vegan/vegetarian or aimed at them. By doing that, the burden shifts.

                                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                                  cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 27, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                  That's a fine point and I see the distinction. But I'm still surprised. Maybe just because I thought that contamination with meat was already commonly known and accepted.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                    Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                                                    As this thread shows, those assumptions are questionable. I wouldn't run a business based on them. And a hospitality business decision that is based on caveat emptor is a decision that is begging for trouble.

                                                                                    1. re: Karl S
                                                                                      cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 27, 2011 11:59 AM

                                                                                      "And a hospitality business decision that is based on caveat emptor is a decision that is begging for trouble."
                                                                                      ______
                                                                                      True to an extent. Though like I said, there is definitely some precedent for caveat emptor in the restaurant business. And no restaurant cites a disclaimer for every single thing that anyone might find objectionable. The hospitality business must balance a need to be upfront and conscientious for minority views with the need to be hospitable and comfortable and appetizing for everyone else.

                                                                                      Here is another concern - is NOT labeling the dish vegan/veg also asking for trouble? From some perspectives, I could see labeling it 'vegan' but including a disclaimer is actually more honest than just avoiding the label and the disclaimer both (of course, should anyone ask, a server could inform them how it's cooked). It may not be labelled, but you know that some people will make assumptions.

                                                                                      I once ate in a cafeteria with a friend who doesn't eat pork for ethical reasons (too smart, etc). She ordered the clam chowder, ate it. I ordered the same but I didn't start eating it until she was almost done. I immediately noticed that it had been cooked with bacon. She was seriously upset and angry to find out (in retrospect I'm not even sure I did the best thing by telling her) and couldn't fathom why anyone would use pork in clam chowder.

                                                                                      Regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable you think my friend was being, I could see this scenario playing out in a similar way here were the dish not described as vegetarian but simply as crispy fried seitan bites. In fact, I would think that people are more likely to assume seitan bites are vegetarian/vegan than they are to assume that clam chowder wasn't cooked with bacon.

                                                                                      At the same time, including a disclaimer even though the dish is NOT labelled vegan/veg strikes me as overkill, and just bad policy for a restaurant trying to create a comfortable atmosphere - the menu writing version of showing people sausage as it's being made.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                        srsone RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                                        i cant fathom that anybody doesnt know they use bacon in clam chowder...(my guess would be somebody made it for her?(parents maybe?)like that)
                                                                                        and again...that goes to my post...if u dont know/arent sure... you ask

                                                                                        1. re: srsone
                                                                                          cowboyardee RE: srsone Sep 27, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                                                          'i cant fathom that anybody doesnt know they use bacon in clam chowder...'
                                                                                          _____
                                                                                          That probably would have been the wrong thing for me to say at the time ;)

                                                                                          Anyway, she grew up in Mexico and Texas and probably didn't eat much clam chowder until she moved up North much later. Not much of a home cook either, so she wouldn't have run across recipes.

                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                            srsone RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 12:39 PM

                                                                                            ahh...i grew up in New England ..bacon in some form is usually the first ingredient

                                                                                            1. re: srsone
                                                                                              rworange RE: srsone Sep 27, 2011 01:12 PM

                                                                                              Are you "New" New England?

                                                                                              If you want to do it right, you use salt pork

                                                                                              However, during Lent it is usually made without meat on Fridays. So I can see how someone might not know it had meat in it.

                                                                                              1. re: rworange
                                                                                                srsone RE: rworange Sep 27, 2011 04:38 PM

                                                                                                newish...salt pork is almost bacon.....
                                                                                                all i remember when my family ever made it was that it looked like bacon to me...
                                                                                                (i was really young back then)

                                                                                                and i dont make it much myself..
                                                                                                but i just never heard of anyone (again- ime) who didnt know it had meat (pork) in it...

                                                                                                i usually make mushroom or just potato soup

                                                                                                and again ..thats part of what my post above was about..if your not sure You ask..
                                                                                                she shouldnt have gotten mad at the cafeteria like cowboyardee said...at least thats my opinion....

                                                                                                1. re: srsone
                                                                                                  cowboyardee RE: srsone Sep 27, 2011 04:50 PM

                                                                                                  To be fair to my friend, her 'upset and angry' consisted of a lot more upset than angry.

                                                                                                  But yeah, bacon in a chowder seems pretty fair game to me too.

                                                                                          2. re: srsone
                                                                                            Bill Hunt RE: srsone Mar 15, 2012 09:53 PM

                                                                                            Bacon! Do you mean that a vegan cannot eat bacon? I am now changing my culinary allegiance. I cannot live without bacon. I did not know. I am not worthy of being a vegan.

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                          3. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                            Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 01:42 PM

                                                                                            I think you were playing a game with her; the waiting for her to nearly finish is not a friendly thing to do. She was rightly angry, even if she expressed it in a way that allowed you to dismiss her as irrational.

                                                                                            Bottom line: Don't play games like that with customers unless you're willing to be hounded publicly for it. Your hypos in this thread demonstrate a "how far can I go before someone might reasonably complain"? It's the wrong mindset for this business. You buy baggage with it.

                                                                                            1. re: Karl S
                                                                                              cowboyardee RE: Karl S Sep 27, 2011 02:04 PM

                                                                                              'I think you were playing a game with her; the waiting for her to nearly finish is not a friendly thing to do'
                                                                                              ______
                                                                                              With all due respect... what the fuck? I didn't taste it until she was nearly finished. In fact I didn't even order it or sit down with her until she was nearly finished - IIRC she beat me to the cafeteria that day.

                                                                                              She was angry at the cafeteria, not me.

                                                                                              You are making wild assumptions like it's going out of style there, Karl.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                Karl S RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 02:21 PM

                                                                                                Duly corrected. My apologies. The setup for what you described sounded like you deliberately waited. My interpretation was wrong.

                                                                                            2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                              mcf RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                                                              Doesn't *everyone* use pork in clam chowder? I sure do! Salt pork or slab bacon.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                Karl S RE: mcf Sep 27, 2011 02:02 PM

                                                                                                No, not everyone. Salt pork is very traditional (bacon, however, is not), but for a variety of reasons (as noted, historically for Friday abstinence for Catholics, which was year-round until the 1960s), meat-free versions were not historically uncommon in Catholic areas.

                                                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                  AverageJo RE: Karl S Sep 28, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                                                                  I know this is OT, but could someone please explain to me why fish is not considered meat under the Catholic definition? Fish sure ain't part of the plant kingdom! Just because fish aren't mammals, why are they not deemed to be "meat"? Not trying to stir the pot, I'm just genuinely perplexed.

                                                                                                  1. re: AverageJo
                                                                                                    linguafood RE: AverageJo Sep 28, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                                                                    I'm sorry, but are you seriously asking about a logical explanation for religious rules? Good luck with that!

                                                                                                    1. re: AverageJo
                                                                                                      Karl S RE: AverageJo Sep 28, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                                                      Classically, "meat"=warm-blooded creatures (mammals and birds), the flesh meats of which were understood in ancient medicinal philosophy to stir the appetites. (The analogue in Asian medicine/cuisine is that they would be considered "hot".) The ascetic practices of almost all classical religions involve a dampening of the appetites.

                                                                                                      Fish are also a symbol of Jesus (due to his use of them in miracles, his eating of them after his resurrection, and the similarity of his name and the name for fish in Greek, et cet.; read http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06083...)

                                                                                                      In Orthodox and Oriental (Oriental being the customary term for the family of Christian churches that originated in Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Armenia) churches, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil were and remain also the subject of abstinence restrictions in varying degrees (therefore, one of the best European sources for vegan recipes is the Lenten diet of Orthodox Christians...), but meat was the first and most basic layer of abstinence (eggs and dairy were also the subject of abstinence for centuries in the West, too, but it's waaaaay OT to get into how they ceased to be so).

                                                                                                      To get this closer to the topic of what level of "mixing" is permitted, I can assure you that there are Catholics who will engage in debate over whether it is permissible under current canon law to partake of essences derived of meat or meat bones, et cet. (It's not like kashruth, however; for example, one does not insult a host who was unculpably unaware of your dietary restriction by refusing utterly to partake of mixed food; one must not violate the law of charity to fulfill the law of penance, as it were - you eat just enough to avoid giving offense, and no more.) Mandatory year-round (as opposed to only Lenten) Friday abstinence from meat has just been revived by the bishops of England and Wales this very month after a roughly 45 year period where other forms of Friday penitential observance were permitted to be substituted.

                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                        a
                                                                                                        AverageJo RE: Karl S Sep 28, 2011 11:49 AM

                                                                                                        Yes, I knew it was asking a lot to pose that question, but I can't help it! I need logic.

                                                                                                        Thanks Karl, for your thoughtful and detailed explanation. My upbringing in the bland United Church of Canada never touched on these points.

                                                                                                        1. re: AverageJo
                                                                                                          Karl S RE: AverageJo Sep 28, 2011 02:00 PM

                                                                                                          Culture (and cuisine) are not logical in the syllogistic sense. It's only when you understand that emotion is actually a form of experiential wisdom (which is what's causing neurology to toss away 2300 years of Hellenistic bias about reason being opposed to emotion) that you can figure out the ultimate logic. Vulcans will have a hard time with this.

                                                                                                          1. re: AverageJo
                                                                                                            rworange RE: AverageJo Oct 2, 2011 01:17 PM

                                                                                                            Sorry I'm late to this but being Catholic, not eating meat on Friday whatever the reason was a form of penance, giving up something you like as a sign of humility and to reflect on all the wonderful gifts from God ... like a quarter pounder with cheese.

                                                                                                            Meat was c onsidered sort of a luxury item. It wasn't about eating flesh of animals.

                                                                                                            Actually there's some rodent in South America that can be eaten because it sort of isn't meat or something.

                                                                                                            I have some more links about the reasons but I'm moving this week and crazy. This quick Google gives an decent explanation.

                                                                                                            http://catholicism.about.com/od/catho...

                                                                                                            As it states, though meat is no longer restricted, you are still supposed to sacrifice something you like one day each week. Where things got absurd was people not eating meat on Friday would eat lobster (I know my New England family did). So not much penance going on there.

                                                                                                            Tripe ... no. Cavuar... ok.

                                                                                                            People weren't clear on the concept. In a rare display of lucidity and reason, the meat restriction was revised .

                                                                                                            And it is no longer a venial sin not to abstain. You won't get set to purgatory for doing so if you don't confess before dying.. But then again, I think they got rid of purgatory too ... or maybe it was limbo.

                                                                                                            I will say meat never tasted as good as it did on Friday when you were supposed to abstain.

                                                                                                            And you asked for logic. Does that kind of say it for you>?

                                                                                                      2. re: Karl S
                                                                                                        mcf RE: Karl S Oct 2, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                                        Exsqueeze moi! Amended to "doesn't everyone use pork in clam chowder except for Catholics observing meatless Fridays who are making it ON Friday?"

                                                                                                        Sorry for my oversight and egregious lack of specificity. ;-)

                                                                                                      3. re: mcf
                                                                                                        cowboyardee RE: mcf Sep 27, 2011 02:12 PM

                                                                                                        I think most do. Honestly, it could have been potato chowder for all I remember now, though I guess pork wouldn't have been uncommon in that either.

                                                                                                        News to her though.

                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                srsone RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                                i dont understand why...

                                                                                                (hypo) if i was allergic to (whichever) i wouldnt rely on just the menu description
                                                                                                the same if i was a vegan (if i didnt eat anything from an animal..) i would ask...

                                                                                                ime unless the people are the same or have the same allergy or at least familiar with it ..they arent going to care ..say the place did advertise itself as vegan..or completely peanut free...i would still at least ask...

                                                                                                GR #3 and #8 and maybe #13 apply...

                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                  maxie RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                                                  Buyer beware comes into play if you don't mark it with a vegetarian/vegan identifier. I think more slack is cut for vegetarian than vegan because vegan means different things to different people. For some, it means a plant-based diet. Some would consider those people strict vegetarians. For others, it means a lifestyle in which all animal products are avoided, not just food items. If you mark something as vegan, those adhering to a full vegan lifestyle are going to have a problem with the oil. If they are satisfied with the label you have supplied, they may not feel they need to ask questions, and may become very angry when they find out what your interpretation of vegan is. I think a huge percentage of the population has no idea what goes on in restaurant kitchens. So buyer beware if you don't label something veg. If you do, full disclosure is in order. A single label at the bottom of the menu -- All our fried foods share a single fryer -- may suffice, rather than trying to label something, then explaining your interpretation.

                                                                                          4. t
                                                                                            tastesgoodwhatisit RE: cowboyardee Sep 28, 2011 02:29 AM

                                                                                            Thinking about it, two things occur to me.

                                                                                            The first is that I'd actually be quite surprised if an average restaurant maintained three separate frying stations to keep the vegetarian food from cross contamination. Because you'd need one for meat, one with no meat, but dairy and egg allowed, and one for pure vegan.

                                                                                            So at a pub, say, chicken wings would be fried in the first. Jalapeno poppers would be fried in the second, but you couldn't mix those with vegan dishes, because they still contain animal products. So you'd need a third for the French fries, or they wouldn't be strictly vegan. Same with the grill. I'd bet that most places like this basically follow a don't ask, don't tell policy.

                                                                                            The second is what the actual volume of cross contamination would be if you deep fried chicken wings, fished out the crunchy bits, and then deep fried the French fries. In other words, how many chicken molecules would actually end up in the French fries. If the volume is low enough, then you could logically argue that the French fries are still strictly vegetarian, in the same way that there's a maximum level of things like insects allowed in food products, even vegetable ones.

                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                              sandylc RE: cowboyardee Oct 1, 2011 07:16 PM

                                                                                              I thnk it depends upon your reason(s) for being vegan/vegetarian. If it is a health/do't want to ingest animal products reason, it's a problem. If you don't want animals to die for your meal, the animal juice in the fryer is O.K. - you did not reap benefits from the death of an animal, as you are ordering/eating non-animal food.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                cowboyardee RE: sandylc Oct 1, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                                                "If you don't want animals to die for your meal, the animal juice in the fryer is O.K. - you did not reap benefits from the death of an animal, as you are ordering/eating non-animal food."
                                                                                                ______
                                                                                                I guess I had assumed that this was the logic for a lot of ethical vegetarians. But reading this thread, it seems as though a lot of ethical vegetarians/vegans would still have a problem with any meat contamination, even if it was only incidental.

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                  mcf RE: sandylc Oct 2, 2011 10:14 AM

                                                                                                  I think the exact opposite is true, in theory and in fact/experience. I mean, barring allergies, having your food prepped with possible residue from meat sources isn't a health risk. The ethical vegetarians I know won't eat food prepared in a way that subjects it to meat stuff, for some there's just an involuntary gag reflex. "animal juice" in a fryer was a huge gag inducer, I've found.

                                                                                                2. m
                                                                                                  melindaonehalf RE: cowboyardee Mar 15, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                                                                  This topic recently came up when discussing a menu change.
                                                                                                  What I really want to know is at what point that small amount of fat from a piece of chicken ceases to resemble chicken. Maybe my understanding of the fryer is limited, but I kind of see it as an incinerator.
                                                                                                  Similarly, if something breaded goes into the fryer are my hand-cut fries now riddled with gluten?

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: melindaonehalf
                                                                                                    hill food RE: melindaonehalf Mar 15, 2012 07:55 PM

                                                                                                    I'd say unless your establishment prides itself on the issue, a simple disclaimer on the menu allowing the customer to know that all deep-fried items are done in the same fryer and oil so proceed accordingly is all needed to be done. if I were a proprietor and had the space and money to have more than one I'd do it, as different temps and foods mix or just don't (fish flavored frites for the steak au poivre? no thanks, chunks of forgotten other things in my onion rings? uhhhh)

                                                                                                    a dietary V/V might give it a pass but an ethical one would have an issue (although friends who still observe strict religious fast days will allow animal fat as a flavoring, just not the actual flesh)

                                                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                                                      Karl S RE: hill food Mar 16, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                                                                      "although friends who still observe strict religious fast days will allow animal fat as a flavoring, just not the actual flesh"

                                                                                                      That's true in some respect for Catholic abstinence rules but not those of Eastern and Oriental Christians, who have far stricter rules.

                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                        hill food RE: Karl S Mar 16, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                        I was in fact referring to Catholic (well Anglo-Catholic) friends.

                                                                                                    2. re: melindaonehalf
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      jennymoon RE: melindaonehalf Apr 23, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                                                                      Yes, technically things fried in the same oil are contaminating each other. Probably only strict vegetarians will care about the shared oil, but any food item labeled as vegetarian/vegan should be fried in a separate fryer. If you have no choice but to share a fryer, that information should be disclosed on the menu and/or wait staff should be knowledgeable about the issue.

                                                                                                      And definitely don't label anything as gluten-free that shares oil with breaded items! Gluten doesn't disappear at high temperatures and you will risk making your celiac customers ill. Knowledgeable gluten-free customers will know to ask about shared oil, but if you label it gluten-free, they would have good reason to assume that you have ensured their food is free of gluten.

                                                                                                      1. re: jennymoon
                                                                                                        cowboyardee RE: jennymoon Apr 23, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                        "And definitely don't label anything as gluten-free that shares oil with breaded items!"
                                                                                                        _________
                                                                                                        That's a good point. Though hopefully anyone who eats gluten-free will know to avoid seitan like the plague ;)

                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                          jennymoon RE: cowboyardee Apr 23, 2012 06:56 PM

                                                                                                          Oh definitely :) I was responding to melindaonehalf's question about gluten, although she may not see it since I was a month late! That's obviously not an issue for your hypothetical seitan bites. Did your friend decide what to do? Or are the seitan bites staying hypothetical?

                                                                                                          1. re: jennymoon
                                                                                                            cowboyardee RE: jennymoon Apr 23, 2012 07:02 PM

                                                                                                            My friend got a gig at another restaurant, and it became a moot point. I believe the restaurant he was working at before started serving his recipe for seitan bites (which, recipe aside, were hypothetical at the time I asked the question in the OP), but I don't actually know whether they are frying it in a shared fryer or how they describe it on the menu.

                                                                                                    3. Bill Hunt RE: cowboyardee Mar 15, 2012 09:04 PM

                                                                                                      It would not bother me in the least, so long as it was very flavorful.

                                                                                                      Now, I am an avowed omnivore, so I do not need to keep Kosher (though I am Jewish), and do not need to look into vegan aspects. I eat, and enjoy what is delicious. I do not look that deeply into things, unless we are speaking of seafood, where I do get rather picky, but that is due to the level of deliciousness. [See other thread.]

                                                                                                      I have a friend, who is a "Level Five Vegan," and the idea that the chef might have even been thinking of something with meat in it, would have been repulsive. Only chefs, who are pure and true, are worthy of doing any Level Five Vegan fare. One slip of the mind, and the entire batch must be destroyed, and in a very certain way. The chef's mind must be fully purged, before they are worthy to create the dish. I have seen her walk out of a restaurant, when she realized that the executive chef had done an interview, back in the 80's, and mentioned bacon - that chef is NOT worthy.

                                                                                                      Nah, as an omnivore, I would not care, so long as things were tasty.

                                                                                                      Also, I am from the Deep South, where Deep-fried Lard is the regional dish, so what do I care?

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                        hill food RE: Bill Hunt Mar 16, 2012 12:35 AM

                                                                                                        Hunt - your level 5 friend (who does have every right to this approach) sure sounds like the life of the party...

                                                                                                        and re your comment upstream of being Jewish in the South - Ha! yeah just TRY to avoid the pork products. I can name a few families that are somewhat observant (attending synagogue and not just high holy days) but at some point in the 1950's or earlier lost the energy to avoid the treyf and just sort of said "ehhh what're ya gonna do?"

                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                          Bill Hunt RE: hill food Mar 16, 2012 10:02 PM

                                                                                                          Well, for me the religious dietary aspects were pretty much lost, as were some other aspects. Maybe that explains why I am, what I am?

                                                                                                          In the Deep South, pork is part of most meals, at some point. Heck, even a Deep-fried Twinkie is done in bacon fat...

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                            hill food RE: Bill Hunt Mar 17, 2012 01:09 AM

                                                                                                            HA! my friend Ellen's mom swears as long as she pours a Coca Cola over the ham before baking it then it's K - OK (oh I hope they're not reading this)

                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                              Bill Hunt RE: hill food Mar 17, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                                                                              Have never heard that one, though maybe it was where I grew up?

                                                                                                              Going back many years, a good acquaintance of mine, owned an Italian-oriented deli in the French Quarter. His landlord, had a clothing retail business next door, so they spent a lot of time together.

                                                                                                              They fought like little “school children,” on things revolving around cuisine. Mr. Goldberg, who kept Kosher, would argue that Italian food was just not good for people, and Frank would always find articles on how various Rabbis had been bought off, in NYC, and how all Kosher food was really not. I would sit for hours, listening to them fight, eating Frank’s M-I-L’s great roast beef po-boys, and laughing, inwardly. Since I was not really brought up with Kosher, I could sit back, and let the tableau play out, right in front of me. However, after all of the arguments, and newspaper clippings, they always parted great friends, and I always had great food, plus entertainment.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                                        LN2008 RE: cowboyardee Apr 24, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                                                        When I was a vegetarian it bothered me to have my stuff touching meat, like on a hibachi or at a place where they grill on a cook top, or whatever. I did also recognize that sometimes I just had to deal with it. I can't expect the cook to empty all the oil out of the fryer just for me, or make some sort of serious exception. If I could avoid it, I did, but it didn't always happen. For the record I was a straight up vegetarian, no fish, no animal products like gelatin or what not. I did eat cheese, drink milk and eat eggs. That was before I realized that rennet could possibly be an animal by product. I felt that if eggs, dairy and honey were things that the animal had to do as part of their nature, I could consume it. My exception was anything byproduct that had to do with the slaughtering process, especially if it was a from a large company like Tyson, McDonalds or a chain grocery store.

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