In reply to Robin Wilcox’s letter regarding vegetarianism in France, I am not a vegetarian, nor is my wife. However, my wife, being gluten intolerant, has to carefully read all food labels and question all restaurateurs closely, both in the UK and in France, where we spend six months every year, to avoid accidentally ingesting gluten.
However, there are specialist shops over here in France that cater for those who have to eat ‘ sans gluten’ and restaurateurs fall over themselves to help. They often produce beautiful dishes especially for her. They will also, with a little notice, get gluten-free bread for her. So I am happy to say that the French are generally very happy to be presented with such a challenge, and they take her problem very seriously. So to all you fellow sufferers, come on in, the water is lovely!
What has this to do with vegetarianism? Quite simply this: in order to please the people who make the ‘lifestyle choice’ of not eating animal products, manufacturers have replaced animal products in many of their products with ones that contain wheat, mainly to thicken their sauces, but there are other reasons as well. The food tastes no different, but this means that my wife, who has no choice in the matter, is unable to buy products which years ago she could have bought, due to the vegetarians’ influence. Yet eating a small amount of animal would not hurt them!
The French see vegetarians as people who do not take the matter of food seriously. As Homo sapiens are naturally omnivores, they respect this.
A health problem is not a lifestyle choice. Thankfully, the French see this and are sympathetic, helpful and only want to solve the problem. Pat and John Hammond Tarn and Dorset