State your mistakes for the record!

October 1, 2010

Inspired by a thread I read on Metafilter late one night during our break, what’s the biggest mistake that you did for the longest time as a vegan? What one thing did you do so horribly wrong for so very long that it’s pretty funny to look back on?  I talk about mine (which cost me 2 nice frying pans) here:

Like I said, by sharing these stories we can have a laugh, inform people who are doing that crazy wrongness even as you read this, and also point out that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you keep moving forward. So pick a fake name if you must, but share your stories in the comments so we can all laughlearn.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

J October 2, 2010 at 11:53 am

We have a great mostly-vegan restaurant near us and I used to order this delicious burrito with the “veggie turkey”. It was soooooo delicious. One day, many months later, after eating at least 20 of these things, I just happened to ask the guy behind the counter, “the veggie turkey IS vegan, right?” His answer, “Ummmmm, no, it has eggs in it.” I still don’t really know why I never asked from the get-go but needless to say now I order them “vegan” and I get them with tofu. The same with our favorite fiber cereal. I simply assumed that it was vegan because it’s nothing more than shreds of fiber but one day I looked and it contains whey. Two easily avoided mistakes that I just didn’t take the time to notice in the beginning.

Erin October 2, 2010 at 11:09 pm

J’s post reminds me of my mistake in high school. I was vegetarian and I would get the nachos at school for lunch. They came with beans in a spicy chili sauce and that plastic tasting cheese. For some reason, I was hooked on those things. One day a friend said, “I thought you were a vegetarian?” When my confusion lead to an explanation, the friend said, “well there’s meat in the chili on those nachos.” I had never noticed because the meat was chopped up so small. I was so repulsed that I had been eating those for so long. Sad day for teen me.

More recently, and this is REALLY gross, I got the Better Than Boullion Vegetable Base (I thought) as I always do. I went to make some soup and scooped out a big spoon of the paste to add to my water. Afterward, I licked the spoon and knew right away that it was not right. I had accidentally picked up the BEEF base that was next to the vegetable. So not only did I taste that beef, but it was CONCENTRATED beef PASTE. I’m dry heaving just thinking about it.

Jason October 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Wow, these stories remind me of a lesson I was taught a while back (sadly, more than once) – always check your samosa before biting in. Interestingly, both times I’ve “learned” my first thought was “ewwwww” but my second was “wow this tastes awful.” Seriously, I think people are sacrificing taste in this category if they don’t get the veg version; it’s all about the spices.

James October 3, 2010 at 12:19 am

I still bite into samosas and burritos without checking sometimes. That’s as wild as I get in life.

Speaking of wrapped food items, one crucial lesson I learned is that when you get a vegetarian burrito at Qdoba, you get free guacamole!

Tom McMurchy October 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm

My partner and I (from Australia) are travelling around the US and had a lay-over in Charlotte before catching the train. We stayed in some random place and the only place that looked like it would have something yum for us (both vegans) was a Mexican joint. So we sat down and got the menus from a lovely waitress. The menu had zero english and the waitress very very little. So we braved it with what we knew was a beans dish and some tacos with ‘la lengua’ thinking it was probably some lentil or beans thing as we had crossed out the carne and polo knowing them to be meat. I was hungry so ordered four big tacos. Turned out its not lentils, it was beef tongue (I didnt know this till we went home and looked it up, though i knew it was some offal-type meat thing when it came out!), and the bean dish was filled with shrimp. big fail.

Colleen October 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I was vegan a year at least before someone told me that kimchi (Korean side served with everything, made of spicy fermented cabbage) had fish sauce in it. I was choked, because I’d been relying pretty heavily on the kimchi-tofu stirfries! I always bought it from little Korean groceries in jars with no labels, and I’d never asked; I didn’t yet know how how pervasive the random, unnecessary inclusion of some gross animal product in otherwise vegan foodstuffs was. So, I didn’t eat kimchi for a long time and was super-sad.

But then, I had a talk with the chef at a Korean restaurant in Toronto a couple of years ago and found out that not all kimchi does have fish sauce in it – everything depends on each family’s personal recipe, handed down over generations, and many families don’t include it (families originating inland on the Korean peninsula, maybe?). I’ve since learned to ask and now have a delicious supplier of vegan kimchi in Toronto.

Sara October 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm

My boyfriend and I are both vegan — he, for many years longer than I. When I first converted, he was the one who showed me the ropes. For years (I’m not sure how many), whenever he and his friends went to Olive Garden, he would order the house salad, without the croutons, cheese, etc. The first time he ordered it, he asked the waiter if the dressing had milk, eggs, etc. The waiter said no. Was he sure? Yes, he was sure. We must have eaten it 30 or 40 times before one waiter, one night, assumed we were vegan and warned us that the house dressing has eggs in it. Ugh! I don’t even know what to say. Now, I rarely tell waiters that I am vegan — I tell them I’m ALLERGIC to this, this, this, and that.

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