Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meat and no veg...

Thinking again of food in a prospective new country, this is a key factor for those with special dietary needs, whether prescribed for health reasons, a part of one's culture or religious life, or simply self-imposed.

I have mentioned before that the gradual realisation a few years ago that this region of France was about the worst possible for a vegetarian to plump for was a huge disappointment! In shopping, one soon discovered that there were few ready-made protein-alternative dishes (lazy vegetarian!). Then, in eating out, some restaurants gave blank looks, total incomprehension, when asked for vegetarian options - but perhaps that situation was more honest and preferable to those places where they would serve a dish with "just a little" chicken or ham, on the basis that this did not really count! Fortunately most chefs would be happy to rustle up a simple meat-free omelette - and what better place for omelettes than a French restaurant.

In my own case, fate took the upper hand and health reasons forced me to add fish to my diet - well, perhaps there was also a slight element of convenience... however that decision was nearly regretted at the very first meal, where the plat du jour turned out to be a whole, large, and very rubbery cuttlefish, unrelieved by any form of accompaniment - a challenge for someone facing their first fish dish for many years!
Fortunately, these days there are definite signs of improvement here for vegetarians.

However, some diets, especially those for health or religious needs, are not easy to change by simple choice, and researching the availability of essential foodstuffs, special supplements, etc. , is very important if your options are quite limited.

And just as important as food, it is worth remembering that laws relating to alcohol consumption will vary in different countries. Fortunately, in that respect France has not posed us any challenges whatsoever...


2 comments:

Motherwise said...

Rubbery cuttlefish, head and all, when I am hungry. That is one of my worst nightmares. I too, have some special dietary considerations (that impose on my love for dark chocolate and red wine). Bon appetit!

Will Pow said...

Well, French cuisine generally lives up to its reputation - the 'seiche' was unlucky! Of course there is no lack of superb chocolate and wonderful wine...