Over at YumSugar, a culinary blog, there is a poll asking people whether or not they have ever served a vegetarian food that was not actually vegetarian. Thankfully, 76% of respondents said “No, that is wrong in too many ways.” It is wrong, and here is a number of reasons why:

  1. Allergies. Some people have legitimate health problesm when it comes to meat and dairy products. If you feed someone who is, say, lactose intolerant a soup that has milk in it, you could end up being responsible for their hospitalization. Restaurants should be especially concerned about this since dining out is a very anonymous way to eat in relation to who is preparing your food.
  2. Ethics. This is probably an obvious one to readers of this blog, and a point that I have had personal experience with. A member of my extended family hates my dietary choice of being vegan, and slipped a bit of ground beef into a meal once (by the way, it failed. Ground beef is pretty obvious). This person has given me gifts of leather and fur, which obviously upset me. Needless to say, not respecting a person’s ethical decisions can lead to a strained relationship. It is hard to forgive someone who does not respect you and your choices. Also, some people also have religious reasons for choosing to eat only specific foods, or to exclude food groups. For example, Hindus may not eat meat from a cow, Muslims abstain from pig, and many Buddhists are vegetarians or vegans. Religion is the most important thing in life for many people, so consciously ignoring these special qualities can psychologically hurt the people you are serving to.
  3. Stop taking advantage of people. If you have veg*n friends, one of the easiest ways to lose that special relationship would be by serving meat. So just don’t do it. It’s offensive, and shows how little you care.
  4. Karma.

There is no reason to lie to people about the ingredients in the food you are serving, unless you are some maliciously cruel individual. And vegan food is easy to make! Recipes are readily available online and in cookbooks, so there really is no excuse to have to lie about whether a dish is vegetarian or not!