It Tasted of Hippie

They weren’t cheering the food

Say what you will about Anthony Bourdain, the man knows how to complain about vegetarian/vegan food. In an article today for VICE, his wife, Ottavia, writes about trying to go vegan for a week, and coaxing her husband into dinner (on day two of her diet) at a vegetarian joint. Here is his reaction to the meal:

“It was an appalling dinner. And depressing. First of all, how about cooking something? Can these people cook anything? Certainly not vegetables! Or rice! Everything was underseasoned. Every self-respecting steakhouse could serve better vegetables. They use broccoli in every single course. It’s asparagus season; there’s fava bean and peas. If you choose to embrace vegetables there’s still a lot of room to work with. Every single dish tasted the same, a mix of ginger, garlic, soy, and tamari. I’m furious. They choose not to cook vegetables well or celebrate vegetables at all! They are completely impervious to the seasons. That sizzling soy cutlet, that fake chicken–makes me want to kill myself thinking about anyone eating it. To celebrate the natural world and then serve something so grotesquely artificial is a disgrace. That was one of the worst meals in history. It tasted of hippie. It tasted of my last weed dealer’s apartment. I hate the world now. Please kill me.”

Not to try to one-up the former line cook, but when he was still slinging eggs Benedict and steak frites, we were decrying vegetarian and vegan food as being devoid of flavor, passion, technique and seasoning:

“It’s all done by people with fear of food,” is how ELV has put it for twenty years, but “It tastes of hippie” is even more evocative….and another reason not to trust your vegetables to any chef who isn’t Asian or working at the Wynn/Encore:

19 thoughts on “It Tasted of Hippie

  1. What’s the deal with his new show on CNN? It’s exactly like his No Reservations show on the travel Channel. Not to mention his former other show on the travel Channel called Layover. I don’t mind the format but it seems odd that its such a dead ringer replica. PS…. That Korean painter artist in the Korean town episode this week was hysterical!!

  2. What you are saying is you have to be really talented / creative to be a vegan chef. Cooking something already full of fat? Not so much

    Why don’t food critics care about health issues? You are like a movie critic who won’t see a foreign movie because you don’t want to read the subtitles.

  3. ELV responds: “All that meat” is a relative term, @woozy. Our consumption of animal flesh has diminished over the years, and sharing a steak is our MO when it comes to beef.

    Pork and chicken (and other birds), being easier to digest, we find that they take up the slack (if you will), but we are always careful to mix a fair amount of veggies into the mix. (The Food Gal is also a huge influence in this respect.)

    The point is, if more vegetarian cooks actually knew how to, this kind of diet would be much more appealing.

    We are also huge fans of fruit, and Mr. Metamucil is our constant nighttime companion.

  4. i have seen you LV food critics. You’re all obese. (Only fair if you’re going to bash hippies!) My point is there should be more to food criticism than taste. That’s how a 12 year old thinks.

  5. Meat consumption is on the decline, but still remarkably and dangerously high by any measure.

  6. Btw, chicken and pork contain zero fiber. Something you should know if you’re going to write about food

  7. @Woozy … I do not think that critics do not care about health issues but part of the dining out experience is the indulgence of it all. When I want to eat healthy and feel healthy…I cook at home. I love my own cooking and can tailor it to any dietary preference I am having at the moment (tends to change a lot…haha)

    but eating out…that is to me, supposed to be an EXPERIENCE. I want to eat something I myself could NEVER cook at home without it taking a lot of learning and most of the day or maybe it is simple but the ingredients are expensive and well sourced. Either way, I want something else. I want my food to take me somewhere else.

    Can this be done healthy? Of course it could, but I think that a lot of people eat out for the same reasons as me…and sometimes healthy just does not seem that special. =)

  8. What bothers me a bit about Vegans is that they often think it is some kind of “Virtue” and that somehow it gives them a moral superiority. Look also how many “Hollywood” people have there publicist release the news that they are vegan almost as we should admire them for this. I always enjoy pointing out that it is historically reported that Jesus ate lamb and fish and, on the other hand, Adolf Hitler was vegan..

    Also, if we want to follow Michael Pollan’s New Rule, as in the previous article, have you ever looked at a label of vegan products?
    Meatless Meatballs:water, soy protein concentrate, vital wheat gluten*, soy protein isolate*, expeller pressed/canola oil, enriched wheat flour (niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), modified vegetable gum, spices, dehydrated onion, yeast extract, malted barley extract, sea salt, organic cane sugar, dehydrated garlic, natural flavors (from plant sources), vinegar, molasses, pea protein, carrot fiber, beetroot fiber, wheat starch, soy lecithin, extractives of paprika and turmeric, extractives of annatto.*non-genetically engineered soybeans and wheat)

    However, I can really enjoy a complete vegetarian meal if it is Indian food.

  9. To channel my inner Oscar Wilde, everything in moderation, including moderation.

  10. They have to add soy since it is the only complete vegetable protein (all the essential amino acids) but it is neither fermented or organic soy, instead it is soy this or that. The Vegan food is unhealthy and lacks B-12 vitamin, specially for over 45 who absorb less vitamin and they need supplement from animal sources like..egg yolk, dairy, meat (organic steak-not processed meat as in burgers), fish and Poultry.

  11. Nice post. Las Vegas is really one of the best destinations in America… Las Vegas has a lot to offer when it comes to entertainment. I find most people associate Vegas to casinos too much now. Vegas has some of the top nightlife hot spots in the city and the nightclubs will only get better and better!

  12. I am a vegan who doesn’t use soy as a source of amino acids and my B12, B6 and B5 (among others) is on the higher end of the average than it was on the sad diet years ago. You really have study and know what you are doing in order to eat this way. Back to the point. A responsible and informed person would know to check his/her oxidative system in the first place to see if they are even candidates for a vegan or vegetarian diet. Something that I am sure Ottavia failed to do. My feeling is that Ottavia, (like Ashton Kutcher when he mindlessly adopted a fruitarian diet overnight while filming Jobs) didn’t know how to transition and didn’t have a fortified plan. With that said, she couldn’t not have possibly chosen good vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Its as simple as that. Let’s hope that her blog comments recommend other suitable establishments for a second time around with her husband.

  13. Eating healthy is the best satisfaction of all. No tummy aches. You are lean and mean. A healthy meal is equivalent to the satisfaction of watching a challenging movie instead of total trash. This is a point lost here.

  14. When you use an ad hominem — I am a zealot — you’re bascially conceding that I have won the argument.

  15. Vegans and vegetarians do provide the world a valuable service — they guarantee that there will be enough meat for the rest of us for years to come.

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