Editor’s comment: I hope vegan pub can break stereotypes
- Credit: Archant
When I gave up meat as a first-year student, I did so not just because of nascent first-world guilt about the environment and factory farming, but because it was cheaper.
Four years later, I thought I was entering a world of bulk-bought lentils and Vitalite, not exclusive menus and social capital.
I lived in Manchester, and was lucky enough to be surrounded by budget cafes that catered well for people who didn’t eat animals. I remember with mouthwatering affection Glossop’s Globe Inn, where a largely vegan menu was dished up at £3 for a main course and where I first heard the word “seitan” (swiftly followed by “and ale pie and chips”).
The point I’m making is that while I’m delighted to see a pub relaunching with a vegan menu to a degree of fanfare – The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker in St John’s Street – it’s important that it does its best to attract the people who might have drunk there 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Islington is a mixture of old and new communities, council estates and private developments, families and young professionals. Veganism is no longer a hairshirt-y cult, but what it has lost in one stereotype it has gained in another: vegan shops and restaurants are too often now a sign of gentrification.
Veganism is gaining a reputation for being exclusive when it should be the opposite: everyone can eat meat-free food but not everyone can eat meat. Which is why I’m encouraged not just by the fact a boozer or two is ditching the pork scratchings, but by cheap and cheerful offerings like the Nag’s Head’s burgeoning vegan market.
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Chapel Market’s fruit and veg stalls were vegan long before cashew cheese was invented. Veganism isn’t just for judgemental elites: it’s for everyone.I hope vegan pub can break stereotypes
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