The problems I have had since becoming vegetarian have been mainly around eating out. When I first stopped eating meat, I was travelling abroad for work fairly regularly, mainly to Italy. The Italians were happy to embrace my vegetarianism and to confirm to me that particular dishes contained no meat at all, only a bit of ham. Ham and bacon don’t really count as meat in Italy, more as basic staples of the diet. It was just too difficult to explain about my own feeling that both ham and bacon did indeed count as meat, so in the interests of a quiet life I decided to introduce a rule that I could eat meat whilst I was abroad.

This has led to much merriment amongst colleagues, including comments like “We’re out of British airspace now if you want to order a bacon sandwich”, and “I’ll phone ahead and tell them to hide all the ham”, but it has served me reasonably well, especially in Houston where our hosts took us out to a Taste of Texas steakhouse (or some such) which had been much praised as a famous local eatery and where “vegetarian” translated as “a steak smaller than a house-brick”.

More tomorrow.