Prayer of a Vegan Gourmet

Give me a Lapsang Souchong,
Instead of tea with a cow’s milk;
An Earl Grey with a slice of lemon,
Instead of a frothy latté;
A double Espresso with a kick,
Instead of a Flat White.

Give me a St Clements,
Rather than a milk shake;
A dandelion and burdock,
Rather than a yoghurt “smoothie”;
A cool, raspberry crush, with rosewater,
Rather than a cone of shame.

Give me roasted vegetables with my rosemary,
Instead of the burnt body of a lamb;
A leek and potato pie,
Instead of one with “steak” and “kidney”;
Wild mushrooms on toast,
Instead of a bacon sandwich.

Give me a pea and mint risotto,
Rather than a stew of body parts;
My spaghetti with tomatoes, asparagus, lemon, herbs…
Rather than a heavy Bolognese or Carbonara;
My curry with coconut milk, aubergine, peppers, Dahl…
Rather than a helpless chicken.

Give me a French onion soup,
Instead of a beef bouillon;
An avocado vinaigrette,
Instead of a “cocktail” of prawns;
An olive tapenade with my melba toast,
Instead of a “pâté” of force-fed goose.

Give me a basket of fresh, summer fruits,
Rather than a blancmange;
An apple crumble with pleasant, soya custard,
Rather than a Panna cotta of rich cream;
Let my cakes be light and guilt-free,
Rather than rich – and laden.

Give me a Peaceable diet,
Instead of one of blood and pain.
One that will sit easy in my heart,
As well as my stomach.
Sustain me with nature’s good bounty,
Instead of the lives of my fellow beings.

Remind me always of the beautiful diversity,
Of the many things I can have;
Of a harmless, gourmet world,
Beyond the humble lentil and the salad leaf.


©Heidi Stephenson, May 2014
Montage: Claire Palmer



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