As a veggie of many years' standing I have enjoyed numerous excellent meat-free meals in restaurants, cafes and takeaways.
But I have had a run of bad experiences in the last few weeks that has undermined my confidence in the food I am served.
On four separate occasions recently I have ordered dishes from the vegetarian options in a restaurant, a café and two takeaways - and each time I’ve found pieces of meat in my meals. This has included finding a chicken bone, with meat still attached, floating in a bowl of vegetable soup and a meatball in a vegetarian stir fry.
On each occasion I have raised this with the establishment concerned and, with one exception (when they tried to imply I’d ‘planted’ the meat – for what reason they didn’t make clear) the response was apologetic and genuine. However, I certainly lost my appetite after my ‘discoveries’ and on each occasion didn’t complete my meal.
I’ve also been reluctant to return to these places because I now lack confidence in their kitchen practices - if they can accidentally drop a lump of meat in my veggie dish how do I know they are not cutting my vegetarian sandwich with a knife just used to cut a meat sandwich, or frying my egg in a pan that’s still swimming in bacon fat from a rasher they’ve just cooked?
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