Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Post: Salad sandwich... no meat.

Ooh hello! Today we have Mrs Sabbatical, also known as Emily, with her "turning vegetarian" story. This post cracked me up. Her everyday experiences are a lot like mine - but we're fierce and funky and your freaking out or poking fun when we turn up to your barbecues with veggie burgers AIN'T NO THANG!

Three years ago we moved to Australia from Scotland - a big, exciting move, and one that promised lots of changes. We couldn't wait for all that warm weather, plenty of beach time, surfing, and lots of fresh local produce. It was so exciting.

How does one mark their new beginning in the land that used to ride the sheep's back? Well, you go vegetarian, don't you know!

Why did we jump over to the green side? Surely it couldn't be just for fun and social awkwardness at family gatherings? There were a few reasons, but the main ones were environmental for him and health for me - although I still think being a bit awkward for family occasions may have been a small factor for some.

Australia is quite a meaty country, there is meat running through the IV of Australian life. I know, I grew up on a sheep farm and we ate a lot of those sheep.

I shouldn't tease Australians, there are some amazing local veggie cafes we have found, but they still feel like they are a little on the outer, almost a novelty - like Middle Australia expects you to eat there only if you have tatts and hairy pits.

Then there is the alfresco dining that Australia is so attached to.

Our BBQ hosts often get a little flustered, until we assure them we will bring our own. And then it is "what about poor little Crazy?". It's OK, our daughter can eat meat if she likes, and don't look at me like that - being vegetarian is not some sort of torture.

Mr F takes cheeky glee in approaching the gathering of men around a BBQ as they murmur appreciation over the charring meat mountain. It's such a blokey thing, tongs in one hand, beer in another, opinions flowing fast.

And then, right at the crucial "burning the crap out of the meat" moment, Mr F moves into the thick of it, throwing down his Quorn Fauxsages with gusto. He is man enough not to be intimidated by a sizzling carcass.

What about work? At every office lunch, the vegetarian sandwiches always disappear first. Why? because pesto and roast vegetables look a far sight better than the flaccid ham and cheese delights that are left behind? C'mon people, leave some of the good stuff for us!

And why now is it that everyone seems so concerned about our protein levels? It's OK, we're not the Cullens... we can survive without the gristly stuff.

But one of our favourite experiences came from a small cafe in rural Victoria when we ordered a salad sandwich. We were asked "would you like meat with that?"

No, just salad thanks.

This was followed by a shout out the back: "salad sandwich, Cheryl, NO meat!".

That's right, Cheryl. No meat thanks. No, not even chicken.


Mrs Sabbatical is one of those Australians who left years ago to with a backpack and came back with a family. Now a mum to 9yo Crazy, she decided that corporate life was over-rated and thought it was time to take a sabbatical for her health and to learn something new. She likes to pontificate on pretty much everything and is desperately trying to be cool and crafty.

Mrs Sabbatical blogs at and on @mrssabbatical (and facebook, and instagram and……).


  1. Ahhh yep too true! I've been saying 'no meat with that' for over 20 years (yes I am a vegetarian dinosaur to my children!) and grew up in downtown Brisvegas where vegetarians were looked upon as FREAKS and there was like one vegetarian restaurant in the late '80's - ONE! I used to hang out with the Hare Krishnas for their feast and get lucky with their amazing macaroons - always loved a good mantra chant! Luckily I got to travel the world and ended up in Melbourne where yes more acceptable and mainstream - it gets a bit weird out there in the 'burbs. Great post Emily....

  2. Hi Stacey....well turns out I can leave a comment if I read your blog on my mobdile....Mrs Sabbatical has aussies pegged very well.....I am not vegetarian but like a couple of nights meat free and I love my plain salad sandwhich...especially being pregnant and not being allowed to eat deli meat I've had to find new ways to enjoy a plain sandwich....I had a massive hankering for salami there for a while but I got over post and will have to visit Mrs Sabbaticals blog....have a good day...xo

  3. We were just having this same conversation at my BBQ on the weekend. Half the guests were vegetarian so we had plenty of veggie burgers and sausages. My vegetarian friend mentioned that she had ordered a vegetarian roll, only to discover it had chicken on it "you mean vegetarians don't even eat chicken?" was the response when she took it back! Another friend had the same experience with pork! My non-vegetarian friends were very happy to help us eat the BBQ'd mushrooms and corn on the cob alongside their dead cow :)

  4. Hilarious post! Why is it that so many social gatherings end up with people asking why I don't eat meat? Glad to see others get to enjoy those awkward moments as well :)

  5. I put so much cheese on my salad sandwiches! And always make sure there's a good mustard or dressing on it. They can be a bit boring, huh!

  6. If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked if I eat fish... my gosh! I always find the carnivores eat my delicious veg stuff and leave none left over for us :(

  7. I had one lady just about throw me in the pool because I couldn't eat a dip as it had bacon in it. She hassled us for ages over it!

  8. I think so too, Emily is very funny!