This weekend I jambled up to Brighton for a few days to hang out with James, do some juggling and see the sights. It was also my first extended period away from my cupboard full of seeds and fridge full of tofu so I wasn’t sure if I would manage to eat incredibly well while I was away (and yes, that was my first thought after deciding to go) but hey, I survived.
A couple of factors were pretty handy, the first being that James has no food in the house, so vegan or not, I would have needed to buy food if I wanted to eat. Also, he didn’t have to worry about cooking for me, because he doesn’t worry about cooking. The second factor is that James’ housemate Jack is vegan, and he made a tasty dinner the first night I was there, so we bonded about the awesomeness of kale and I discovered that chard looks like rhubarb.
Since I had to buy food anyway, as soon as I arrived (‘Hi, where’s the nearest supermaket? Nice to see you yeah, back in a sec!’) I dashed around the corner and panic bought salad, hummus, a potato and some beans. When I had calmed down appropriately enough to go to Sainsburys, I nabbed some tofu and chopped tomatoes. Bam. Salad and hummus sandwiches for lunch, tofu bolognaise for dinner. (I also went a bit mental and bought all the gear for tasty double chocolate cookies – flour, butter, sugar and chocolate. Foolish…but oh so good.) I’m pretty sure that only eating plant food is cheaper than if I’d craved cheese or meat, though the cookie ingredients did set me back a bit. And the Coppella apple juice. Sweet as sin, really. Delicious.
Easy enough so far. However, I hadn’t gone to Brighton just for the hell of it, I did some work while I was there as well. This work involves driving the length of the country to either perform with fire or teach kids to juggle, usually lasting all day or at least over one meal time. Buying vegan food on the road is inconvenient to say the least, so I made up some hummus and salad sandwiches – which totally failed to satiate me. Grr! Argh! Hunger! Vegan Jack bought some beans and crisps though, which we had in white baps. Good sandwich. He said he ate a lot of that sort of food when he was travelling, then proceeded to drink the beans. Delightful. But filling, yes. I nearly faltered in my resolve when we ended up at a village fayre, where all around was locally sourced meat and cheese and not a vegan option in sight – unless I wanted to buy a whole box full of veg. It was close…I had a spring roll and complained about being hungry for about three hours. Foolish self. Had I been more prepared, I would have knocked together a pasta salad and taken a couple of apples. Of course, not being at home made it all the harder to pre-prepare for a big day out.
I was always under the impression that Brighton was something of a Mecca for vegans, proved by my quick search of vegan cafes coming up with about seven places on the sea front that are completely meat free, as well as the usual ‘this pub does nut roast and is therefore veggie friendly, yeah?’ places. I made it an aim to check out Infinity Cafe and RedVeg and though time constraints curtailed my visit, we did get lunch from RedVeg; a proper fast food place serving falafel, veggie burgers and hotdogs, bean wraps and frrrries. I had falafel (I always seem to have falafel…) and James had a chilli burger. The falafel was good, if quite onion-y and, according to my incredibly carnivorous friend, the burger was passable too. If you’re lost in Brighton, afraid of all the brightly coloured omnivores, then RedVeg is a great little place to hide and munch on some chickpeas while reading all the walls and picking up some of the local scene mags lying around. You can find it on Gardner Street, in the hippy-frippery area. Next time, I’m going to hit up Infinity Cafe and also a veg*n pub we walked past everyday, which I believe is called the William IV.
Despite Jack’s vegan dinners and my salad sandwiches, I didn’t eat half enough over the four days and started feeling quite grumpy and tired towards the end. Before I went vegetarian, I used to intersperse days of eating junk with a day of not eating (because I was lazy, more than anything) and not feel any ill effects (probably because I was still digesting all the junk in my system!) but my body has now grown used to being well-fed every day and makes its demands heard.
Next time, I think it would be good to make a giant saucepan full of some pasta and tofu based dish which can be eaten over a couple of days, buy more snack fruits, and take my seeds with me for salads. I missed my seeds.
In a month or so I ought to be headed to Amsterdam, so we’ll see how I fare with a probable case of the munchies, no kitchen (no fridge, no seeds, no tofu) and a city full of waffle houses…mmm, waffles.
Anyone out there travelled vegan? How did you find it?