Let me start by saying that I have nothing against vegans. If you choose (or need to choose) a vegan diet for yourself, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. If you invite me to your vegan wedding breakfast, I would like to comment on it. It’s a novel experience, probably the first time that I’ve had a completely vegan four course meal.
The guests sat down. We looked at the menu. And then most of us looked at each other in confusion. What on earth is seitan? I’ve been cooking for 20+ years and I had no idea. So I did what any modern confused person does. I Googled it.
Satan is wheat gluten. According to Wikipedia, it is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten. Sounds appetising doesn’t it? Looks that way too. It looks like this:-
This was not how it was served at the weekend, but it was similar. It was like dry pork fillet medallions. As a meat substitute, it was an awful substitute. I don’t have lots of experiences of vegan and vegetarian food, but in my limited ones, it often seems that attempts to substitute meat fall flat.
Sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry. No meat substitute – no problem.
Mushroom risotto. No meat substitute – no problem.
Seitan replacing meat. Problem.
You get the point. The other point is that this stuff was foul. It was late, and I was hungry so I was eating it, but it was an utterly joyless experience.
Mrs MOFAD and I talked about this over dinner tonight (tasty venison pie/steak and ale pie). If you are going to do a vegan wedding breakfast, you need a really good kitchen team to do it justice. The hotel kitchen team where we were (more blog posts to come about them) could not do it justice. They struggled with various dishes on their international buffets each night, so we weren’t confident that they would be able to pull this off. There will be more about the hotel later, but for now you can take it from me that it’s no coincidence that seitan sounds like satan. The devil’s food.