In general, being a vegetarian in Munich is tough. Foodwise, Bavaria is a decidedly pork-based region, and this is reflected in menus across its capital. However, when it comes to vegan cafes and restaurants, Munich is (inexplicably) a bit of a go-to. Prinz Myshkin and its Nordic minimalist décor always transports me back to my Fitzroy North days; Max Pett is some serious vegan fine dining; and Gratitude serves the most amazing vegan salads (takeaway too). Even the local burger chain Hans im Glück offers a vegan burger (AND you can order it as a combo with salad and a cocktail… SERIOUSLY!)
But my FAVOURITE vegan establishment has to be Tushita Teehaus. If I’m honest with myself, for me there is an even more unbeatable combination than vegan burgers and cocktails, and that is vegan breakfast and tea. The menu at Tushita Teehaus changes daily based on the seasonal ingredients in their kitchen. But it is always vegan, and there is always cake. There is also an extensive tea menu including house-blended teas (their Sleep and Dream tea has done more for my insomnia than anything a doctor ever prescribed for me) as well as the old faves matcha, mate, green, white etc.
This weekend I caught up with Carolyn and Ruchira (a fellow Melbournian-turned-Münchner) for breakfast at the Teehaus before attending the free yoga session at Lululemon (which turned out to be a Pilates session – hello abs!).
People often ask me why I’m vegetarian (although I’m a regular of Munich’s vegan culinary scene I would classify myself as “mostly vegan” and therefore not vegan at all). In future I can just send them a link to this blog post! :)
A couple of years ago a friend of mine read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and went veggo shortly afterwards. She warned me that if I ever read this book, she was convinced it would have the same effect on me. Look – I was never exactly a steak and ribs kinda girl, but I did love seafood (salmon was a particular favourite), I did enjoy a good turkey and cranberry at Christmas, and for quite some time Eggs Benedict with a side of avocado was my breakfast of choice. Plus I had absolutely NO desire to become a hairy armpitted, haram-pants-wearing, meat-abstaining hippy. And so I made a vow with myself never to read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
But I guess the Universe had other plans for me, because some years later (last October to be precise) I found myself reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I was housesitting for a friend, sitting on the couch with her black Labrador curled up at my feet. In one of the opening chapters the book gives a humorous but affectionate description of the author’s dog. It then goes on to ask why we have no problem eating chickens or pigs, and yet we wouldn’t dream of eating a dog. I remember being struck by the serendipity of reading this passage with a dog on my lap (I don’t have a dog, so it is a very rare occasion). I remember looking down at this smelly and annoying – but also gentle and intelligent – creature and knowing I could never eat her.
That little vignette aside, animal welfare is not actually my main motivation for being vegetarian. After reading the book I was convinced of the unnaturalness of the meat industry (without going all vegangelical on your asses, here are just a couple of freaky things I learned: for the past 50 years, there have been two kinds of chickens – broilers and layers – each with distinct genetics; USDA inspectors classify fecal matter on chickens as a “cosmetic blemish”; In the US about 3 million pounds of antibiotics are given to humans each year, but 17.8 million pounds are fed to livestock; Animal agriculture makes a 40 percent greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined - it is the number one cause of climate change) however I don’t think there is anything especially unnatural about eating animals.
No, as much as the book was a real eye opener for me, I still wasn’t convinced I could do it – and that isn’t necessarily the message of the book by the way. I thought I would try to go vegan for a couple of days and see how long I could last (yes, in true all-or-nothing Candice style I went straight from carnivore to vegan)… and I just felt so great it was no effort at all.
To be honest, it would be completely easy for me to remain vegan forever. I seriously never miss anything when I eat vegan. I can taste all the other plant-based flavours more intensely and I feel so much lighter and more energised. Being vegan is more a pain in the ass for other people, and it does get in the way of fully experiencing other cultures when I’m travelling. So I’ve become a little more flexible: a cheesy pizza here, a bit of Kaiserschmarrn there (hell, I even ordered fish in a Greek restaurant the other day!).
I also don’t think being vegetarian is right for everyone. I think in general people eat way more animal products than they need to, and we should be prepared to pay more to encourage the meat industry to raise their standards. But I think a lot of people need meat in their diets. I feel great without eating meat, but that doesn’t mean I think everyone else would.
Having said that, in my own apartment, my kitchen is an animal-product-free zone. As any of my houseguests from this year will testify, it’s all vegetable soups, cashew custards and raw buckwheat porridge!
I am far too lazy to recreate the millet porridge from Tushita Teehaus (millet takes over 20 minutes to cook). Instead, my favourite Sunday post-run breakfast is quinoa porridge. These days I make it in my Thermomix, but I have also made it on a stovetop with just-as-yummy results. I’m always energised and feeling full from all the protein in this supergrain (which comes in handy when I have to spend the rest of the morning doing house work… Oh maaaaaan!)
So guys, last time I asked you to leave comments (lots of you left really sweet comments, it was really special to read them), but I TOTALLY forgot to ask you to subscribe! Of course, it would be fabulous if you commented also. What is your favourite breakfast on a “slow” Sunday? Could you ever be vegetarian? ;)
“Slow” Sunday Quinoa Porridge // Serves 2
½ cup quinoa (soaked for atleast 15 minutes and rinsed)
1 cup water
1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk, but soy milk or even regular milk are also fine)
¼ teaspoon vanilla bean (fresh or vanilla bean paste)
Apple – diced
Your favourite sweetener (I am a sucker for Brown Rice Syrup, but honey or maple syrup also work)
- In a saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the “tail” uncurls from the grain (or in a Thermomix cook on 100 degrees, reverse stir)
- Stir the vanilla bean with the milk
- Drain excess water from the saucepan and add the milk
- Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until quinoa is fully cooked and the porridge is thickened (in Thermomix, switch to 80 degrees, reverse stir)
- Top it with your favourite extras, curl up on the couch with the Guardian on your iPad (or The Observer to be technical as its a Sunday) and enjoy