Friday, 5 February 2016

'Vegan' Pies in Petrol Stations

Z Energy Stations across New Zealand ran a competition for customers to submit ideas for a 'DIY Pie', and the winner was a Mexican-style pie... which happened to be vegan. It was soon discovered that the pies contained a pastry conditioner called E920, derived from chicken feathers or something like that. Yes, there was outrage, but in a great sort of irony the uproar did not come from vegans, as you would fairly expect, but from right wing blogs and news sites such as Stuff Business and Whaleoil. Check out the comment sections for those linked articles and you'll see what I mean.

Vegans, meanwhile, mostly just shrugged and said 'well, I'm not buying those pies again, that's for sure.'

This is what amuses me about our reactive nature towards Veganism. With the curiosity of children, thousands of commenters asking 'what happens to a Vegan when they inadvertently eat animal products? Do they just kinda... spontaneously combust? Is it like typing "Google" into Google where you don't know what will happen but you're too scared to find out for yourself?'

And even from the big boss man Cameron Slater himself:
Pictured above: the pinnacle of nutritional exceptionalism
I have breaking news for you, we vegans were once omnivores too. It may seem surprising, but when we discover we have consumed animal products (it happens to the best of us), we generally do not throw up, whip ourselves 90 times or commit suicide (at least not most of us). We were once meat-eaters, so we don't experience the same sacrilege we would feel if we ate human flesh,  or if we made the informed choice to eat something that is a byproduct of animals. But if we involuntarily consumed something that contains traces of animal product, usually we just shrug and go 'well, that's disgusting. I won't eat that again'. 

Especially considering the major fact that most Vegans have this crazy radical ideology called: Don't buy your freaking food from a petrol station-ism. As a gardener, I am taught the old adage 'use the right tool for the job'. Generally I use a petrol station for petrol, not dining. It's this same logic that usually prevents me from getting the toilet and the carwash confused, but I'll let these people from the same comment section put it their own way:

I won't even go into the fact that the above commenter is remarking on friend's home-grown herbs like it's some crazy unique phenomenon, and not something everybody should be doing, but good on you Jenni for sticking up for vegans in an extremely anti-vegan comment pool - I hope you enjoyed that peppermint tea. But I know omnivores who rant and rave about healthy foods, yet can't resist the temptation to go to McDonalds. Ever since becoming vegetarian a year ago, I have only gone there for french fries (New Zealand McD's french fries are apparently vegan) and I don't even consider myself a 'health person'. I'm not against unhealthy eating, but I am against putting messed up shit into my food, and Veganism has helped me realise that. (Why the heck doesn't my Apple iMac identify the word 'vegan'? the damn founder of Apple was a vegan! ) anyway yeah, to tell you the truth, veganism is a lot of fun. It's like a science, it adds a whole new dimension to your food you never thought existed. It helps you appreciate the art of cooking, the complexities that go into our meals, and the amazing knowledge that everything we consume rises from out of the soil. That last part may sound a bit weird, but there's something about eating a meal, knowing it all came from plants, that is very satisfying - especially when I hear my omnivorous friends telling me that my vegan food packs more flavour than anything they can get at a restaurant.

So yes, I cook and prepare a lot of food from scratch, like many vegans, but having discovered in a press release a few days ago by Z Energy that the pies are making a permanent return, I must say, I am looking forward to trying one. I am optimistic that they will try hard to ensure these pies won't contain any animal byproducts, if not for any reason than how damn successful the pies are, but regardless, I want to try the pie simply because it sparks my curiosity. If you're a tech-geek and you hear about the latest 'revolutionary' smartphone which boasts technology so awesome that South Korea, the U.S and Iran have become locked in a three-way nuclear war over it, you are going to want to take that phone for a spin. Even if your current phone kicks so much ass that you have no desire for any other phone ever again, a part of you will still be immensely curious. Now, if you're a vegan living in NZ, and the only scenario crazier than the above happens - that is, a vegan pie hits the shelves of our petrol stations, you are going to be curious. Obviously, buying these pies are unlikely to become a staple part of my week (there is an unwritten rule amongst Kiwi pie-constitution that anything above $4 is too much for a pie), but I sure will love to try it. In fact, I am so excited I'm going out to get all 3 flavours of Fry Family's Vegan Pies, which are at Pak n' Save, I don't know about New World or Countdown though. How will these match up to Z's Mexican Vegan Pie? Time will tell.

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