Sunday, March 6, 2011

Making a mockery of meat. And trying to chug Guinness with the MUA

When I re-became vegetarian six months ago, a few people were surprised, a few people really weren't surprised, and a few put Larundel on speed-dial, just in case... Those that weren't surprised knew of my penchant for vego restaurants, my sensitive stomach that at times was challenged by my travels and on-the-road diet, and the fact that I get accused of being a "hippy" on a regular basis. But the final nail in the carnivorous coffin for me was when I was at a conference last year. I only had one glass of wine that night, but ate a chicken breast wrapped in pancetta, and spent the rest of the night hugging porcelain. It had been my third incidence of food poisoning in so many weeks, the decision was made, and that was it: no more meat for me. And it has actually been great for me. Apart from having a hard time finding vego-friendly offerings in the meat-loving Thailand, it has been great. I have had no problems with food poisoning since then, I have had less problems with sinus and rash-breakouts on my hands, and I have generally felt healthier. Plus there is just something about being an Aboriginal/feminist/socialist/atheist/vegetarian that just spins my wheels...

Anyway, I say "re-became" deliberately, as my first foray into forsaking meat actually happened when I was 17. Back then, I lasted about a year, and was anaemic within 3 months. This was probably because my idea of a "vegetarian diet" then was to order the vegetarian, rather than the meatlovers pizza. Hmm. Also, unless you were gifted in the kitchen (which I have never been, nor will I ever be), vegetarian options were relatively limited. There was "soy meat" in a can, a few different vego sausages and patties available, and not a great deal else. So I failed tremendously back then at staying on the wagon, and convenience had me slipping back into meat-eating ways. But things have changed a great deal since then, and it turns out that I couldn't have picked a better time to re-enter the herbivore fold. Yep, vegetarianism for the lazy sod is definitely alive and well!

An amazing discovery of mine has been the amount of places where you can get top-notch dishes, particularly of various types of Asian cuisine, featuring "mock meat". It has just opened up a whole new world to me! The other day I visited one of my fave restaurants for lunch, Enlightened Cuisine, where I ate an amazing Lemon "Chicken", and some "Chicken" satay sticks. In addition to this, and even I wouldn't have guessed this one, but in the "downtown durge"* I have found a noodle bar that can whip me up the most brilliant satay noodles with mock beef! Probably one of the best discoveries I have made though, and I admit to being a little slow on the uptake here, is Lord of the Fries. One slightly boozy night, myself, cuz JT and cuz AR hit LotF on the way home, and ordered up big. Both JT and myself were suitably impressed with our hamburgers as we sat there eating them on the train ride home (whilst taking the piss out of the letters section in mX). However, what I was a little too wobbly to realise at the time was that LotF is 100% vego, so not only was my order for a vegie burger null and void, but my cousin JT, who is a total herbaphobe and questions all things "mungbean" was scoffing down a 100% vegie patty! Brilliant :D. Since then LotF has been a constant fixture, and I look forward to more vego foodie adventures in the future.

In other news, uni started back last week, and after a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing, and whining about how I was a full-time worker who could only do my classes at certain times, I finally sorted out my timetable with 2hrs to spare. I am taking Middle Eastern Politics, and Australian Conflict and Culture this semester, and cannot wait to sink my teeth into those subjects! I missed the first Aust class, but Middle Eastern Politics is already looking like it is going to be a good challenge for me, and I don't think I could have possibly picked a more interesting time to do this subject, considering that any material they present could be redundant or "historical" within a week or so with all the people's movements going on in that part of the world.

Also, I had the opportunity to see Gerry Conlan (Guildford 4) and Paddy Joe Hill (Birmingham 6) talk last Friday, at an event held at the MUA auditorium. This was one of those moments which will stick with me for life, because it is one thing to watch the film "In the Name of the Father" and be utterly horrified at what these falsely-imprisoned Irish people went through at the hands of the English, and quite another to hear Gerry Conlan speak live and realise that the film didn't even scratch the surface when it came to what he, his co-accused, and his family went through. To hear from Paddy Joe Hill about the pain that still effects him today, about how he is completely unable to connect with the majority of his family because of the damage that this caused to him, and about how he has spent most of his compensation money assisting other wrongfully-accused prisoners in the system and setting up an organisation to help those that are finally set free, was an amazing and utterly heart-breaking experience. I really hope that others got as much from the experience as I did. The night itself was well done by the MUA mob too. They got a quality Irish band, and served Guinness (of which I couldn't even make it through half a can before I felt full and had to toss it) in keeping with the theme of the night, and thugs from all types of unions turned up. If you see similar events going on, I highly recommend you get to them, as both Gerry and Paddy are not just amazing speakers, they also deserve to be heard. As Paddy said, this could have happened to someone you know, and considering how many people have been falsely imprisoned in this country by virtue of their ethnicity or religion...

Have a great week folks!

* AKA My fond name for the SE Beachside burbs...

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