Exploring eight variations of vegetarianism

Exploring eight variations of vegetarianism
By Liana Robberecht
June 6, 2013

Exploring eight variations of vegetarianism

Let me set the scene: it’s a demanding evening – banquet season – you’re dealing with several functions’ buffets, plate service, and cocktail parties. Just busy. There’s a buzz in the air, accompanied by the general angst of trying to meet the never-ending five minute deadlines all night long. Then it happens… in the midst of organized chaos, the dreaded, “Chef, we have a vegetarian!” Another one? Son-of-a-sous-chef! That was not on the function sheet; why-oh-why are these requests never on the function sheet? It’s a mystery as big as “who built the pyramids?”

So, how does this untimely request get taken care of? If we are standing with the Ghost of Kitchen Past, it would have been a simple vegetable tomato pasta, stir-fry or grilled vegetable plate – that’s it, handled. But we are in the year 2013; the wave of the kitchen future has swelled and crashed on the shore (pardon the mixed metaphors). There are kitchens today that rival science labs. Chefs that, I swear, have graduated from Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Cookery. Gone are the platitudes of tired stir-fries; today’s vegetarian is well-versed in experiencing full flavours.

Before undertaking the task of creating a vegetarian meal, it’s important to understand that there are several variations:

  • Pescatarian (also spelled pescetarian) – The word “pescatarian” is occasionally used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish.
  • Flexitarian/semi-vegetarian – “Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. (This seems to be most fashionable and on trend.)
  • Vegetarian (Lacto-ovo- vegetarian) – When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians. People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians. (“Lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg.)

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