Quantcast Yotam Ottolenghi Redefines The Word “Vegetarian”

Yotam Ottolenghi Redefines The Word “Vegetarian”

Written by Vegetarian Star on March 29th, 2011 in Chefs, Food & Drink.

For four years, Yotam Ottolenghi wrote a strict vegetarian column in The Guardian called “The New Vegetarian.”

He also gave contestants on BBC’s Masterchef cooking show lessons in preparing vegetarian food. Now, Yotam may have redefined what vegetarian eating is.

Vegans and strict vegetarians may not be happy with what they’re about to read.

“You can be vegetarian and eat fish,” he said. “It’s your choice, just say: “I am what I am.” There are no hard core divisions any more.”

Yottam highlights the growing trend of people who would like to call themselves vegetarian or vegan even while eating the occasional piece of meat or animal product. But should they be replacing the word “vegetarian” with “I eat a mostly plant-based diet?”

This Dish Is Vegetarian reviewed the subtypes of vegetarians and found about 12 exist, from the well-established categories like lacto-ovo to vegan. Apparently, now there’s even a name for those “I’m vegetarian but I eat chicken” people–pollo-vegetarian.

In the long run, the vegetarian terms that include people who occasionally eat differently than what the diet has historically meant may draw more people to eating less meat. But let’s hope it doesn’t leave all the traditional vegetarians and vegans fighting to always explain the to wait staff why a turkey sandwich, for them, could never be vegetarian.

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4 Responses to “Yotam Ottolenghi Redefines The Word “Vegetarian””

  1. Morgan Says:

    Here is one (of the many) issues I have with new “redefining:” Suppose I go to a restaurant and politely tell the chef that I’m vegetarian (mean ovo-lacto) and ask him to prepare something for me. He, the chef, has some numb-nut friend who calls himself a “vegetarian” but eats fish. Now, this chef might not be so veg-savvy and brings me a fish dish. I’m a little shocked, but politely tell the chef, that no, this dish is not vegetarian. The chef is now confused and probably a little irritated; both at me, the customer, and maybe at his friend. He decided that all “vegetarians” are wishy-washy and confused and decided not to cater or listen to them/us at all. This is the problem of “redefining” the terms. And while some people might now like it, what was wrong with the term “flexitarian” in the first place?

  2. Alec Carmichael Says:

    Ok..I’m going to redefine “law-abiding citizen” . Occasionally I drive without my seat belt on in an uninsured car on my way to do a bit of burglary whilst under the influence of marijuana…but only rarely, mind; maybe once every six months or so. Would Yotam Ottolenghi consider me a “law-abiding citizen” seeing as I only very rarely deviate from the accepted definition?

  3. Pixie Kazza Says:

    Erm, I think, as a vegetarian, I’ll go with the Vegetarian Society definition. I don’t eat dead creatures. I’m fed up of people thinking I eat fish or chicken because they ‘know a vegetarian who does’. It doesn’t help when people like Amanda Hamilton claim to be veggie then tuck into fish dishes on national television.

  4. herwin Says:

    Sure, you can be veg and eat fish, or muslim and eat pork, or be cristian and worship satan….”big sigh”.
    fish = animal.
    You eat fish or meat occasionally ?
    one word, FLEXITARIAN.

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