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vegging out

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Being a veggie is very easy in the UK. It is partially because about 7% of Brits are veggie. Virtually every restaurant will have something veggie on the menu. When I first converted in about 1982 it was very difficult, with most eateries not getting beyond cheese salad or cheese omelette. I survived college on Indian restaurants. Now, it’s so easy—and it helps that British food has improved markedly over the that time (to the extend that Le Monde recently called London the cuisine capital of the world—somewhat dubious, in my view; my brief visit to San Francisco years ago convinced me it has much greater diversity of food).

France is good for veggie food, provided you’re willing to go to the good restaurants. There, veggies are a challenge, not a threat, and the chefs can concoct some wondrous things—provided you give them notice. I took my ex–girlfriend to Arras in Northern France for a romantic weekend when we were still together, and the food was so good it was better than the romance! But the French themselves are not at all veggie, which is why I find it essential to go to places where the staff are happy to make an effort.

Germany is strange; there are a lot of veggies in the population, but I don’t think they go out to eat because I always have difficulty in the restaurants.

Central Europe is awful—but then they’re still discovering good food—having said that, many of the cities, especially Prague, have improved dramatically with the influx of Western Europeans (and Americans) and the consequential opening of veggie and good quality restaurants.

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