Some opening up about my complicated relationship to food ethics

I find it interesting that people often seem to jump to the conclusion that I'm a vegan since I keep a vegan food blog. Some have even said they can't follow my blog because it's vegan. For me, it's really hard to get inside this logic. What is it so terrible about oat cream that only a vegan could use it? I mean, I've never refused for a gluten-free bread or seen anything disgusting about it even if I mostly use Finnish grains (which all contain glutein). On the contrary, I'd like to learn some gluten-free baking myself just because I'm interested to see how it works and possibly to get more variation to my diet that way.

In reality, my relationship with food ethics is much more complicated and defies categories. I do respect vegans a lot since they, unlike most people it seems, actually follow their own ethical principles. Then again, I also respect hunters who are ready to kill their own food, at least the ones who stay in moderation and show proper respect to their prey. I also respect people who take good care of their pet chickens and eat their eggs. On the other hand, I don't have much of any respect towards the meat industry that only sees other living beings as production units and torturing them in any way acceptable as long as it's profitable. Or people who lie to their children this is how cows they abuse live. Also, I find the amazing amounts of animal products people in the western world have come to eat today as anything but sustainable or healthy and think it's utterly unreasonable to eat them every day let alone on every single meal.

After sixth grade when I had started to realise where sausages come from I stopped eating red meat. I kept eating fish though, which was probably a good thing for my health considering I had no idea about nutrition or protein sources and the grownups in that small hillbilly town had even less. For a long, long time, I accustomed to food being something that everyone around me – including my friends, family and first boyfriends – could freely mock me about and that didn't need to taste much of anything. Still, writing about my thoughts this openly feels uncomfortable. When I met my ex who's a lacto-ovo vegetarian we ate the same food of course and after a while I realized I hadn't eaten fish in a whole year so maybe it wasn't something I'd really need or even miss anyway. The years with him also taught me to actually cook instead of just warming convinience food and that food can really be something fun and pleasurable thing that has the power of bringing us together.

My blog is vegan because nearly all the food I cook is. Simple isn't it? It's not completely vegan though. On the last new year's eve we hosted a Japanese evening for friends and that included a tamagoyaki, and couple of times during the spring I've made pizza with cheeze on top. I don't think my blog would gain anything more if I posted those foods too. I find food blogs with a clear theme are usually better, so I try to tell you guys about the kind of cuisine I have something I can share. That means for example that since I consider myself more expert in Finnish food, I won't even try to tell you guys how to make sushi – the Internet is full of great instructions already, sometimes even written by Japanese themselves, but finding information about Finnish food culture in English is much harder. In the same way, I feel the world is full enough of animal recipes so I might as well recommend something I think people could eat more often, be they vegan or not.

Outside home I usually go with the title lacto-ovo vegetarian purely since I'm a lazy bastard and in the countryside even that can leave you hungry. Not always sure if that's such a good idea though. That seems to give some meat eaters the idea that vegetarian food absolutely must contain eggs and cow milk, which has practically made me hate butter and cream that seem to cover any other taste on my plate with that somehow rotten one. (Sometimes I even get this weird impulse of wanting to strangle the first person who got the idea of ruining a perfectly good cake with whipped cream.) Also, I'm not especially fond of the idea of consciously acquiring osteoporosis or raising my risk for cancer. I do love good quality cheese with wine and some sour milk products with quite a unique taste like piimä (a type of buttermilk), but of course I only eat them couple of times a year and could perfectly give up that bulk I don't even like. At the moment that's the direction I'm aiming at.

But I can't say my personal ideal of the moment is going totally vegan either. I don't think I'm ever going to care about carefully examining product descriptions in case of animal based food additives, though I would ideally like to cook most of the things I eat myself anyway and discard candies or such alltogether. I'll probably continue using otherwise such a handy mycoprotein source as Quorn though the company making it uses egg as a binder instead of some better ingredient. Moreover, I've been thinking I could learn to include some meat I feel ethically sound about in my diet a few times a year, mostly out of principle. This summer I'm planning I'd try fishing first time since childhood and next time I visit Lapland I might take a bite of reindeer that are let free to roam and eat the things they're adapted to eat – no matter what some Englishmen think. Lately I've also been seriously pondering about the possibility of rasing insects for food like UN wishes.

Still, I don't see much reason to include these possible attempts in Mämmi, just like I don't include sushi. This blog will always stay vegan and that's a promise.


  1. Blogissani on sinulle haaste :)

    1. Kiitos haasteesta. :) Täytyypä tarttua siihen.

  2. I feel this way too! Even though I'm pretty much vegan, I just don't understand the missionary attitude so many vegans have or the you must fit 100% in this category or get out kind of thing. I don't fit in there, but you summed most of my thoughts up quite well! I think what's most important is that people are mindful and know where their foods comes from, live sustainably and do what is good for themselves.

    1. That's a beautiful life attitude! And yes, that sort of a missionary attitude feels just awful no matter how good the initial cause is. I really hope people acting so thoughtlessly towards each other would understand they're making more harm than good.

  3. Hyvä kirjoitus, kiitos! En itsekään pidä tiukasta kategorisoinnista minkään asian suhteen. Sen sijaan uteliaisuutta, innostumista ja rajojen rikkomista kannatan lämpimästi :) Vegaaniset, raw food, gluteenittomat, superfood, villiyrtti jne. reseptit tuovat kiinnostavaa vaihtelua ja runsastuttavat ruokalistaa. Niistä nauttiminen ei sulje kuitenkaan pois mahdollisuutta herkutella ystävän luomukanalasta poimituilla kananmunilla, pikkujuustolan vuohenjuustolla tai lapsen juuri merestä nostamalla ahvenella. Tässä tapauksessa tosin laatu korvaa määrän.

    1. Rajojen rikkominen, uteliaisuus ja laatu määrän sijaan kuulostavatkin periaatteilta, joilla saa aikaan ties mitä herkkuja. :) Ehkä jopa elämässä ylipäätään eikä vain keittiössä.


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