Is chicken a vegetable?

In The Art of Travel Fall 2015, Madrid, Open topic by Maggie Boreham1 Comment

So I need to address something. It’s been on my mind for quite some time interrupting my thoughts, and no I’m not talking about Adele’s new smash hit Hello. I’m talking about the consistent disgruntled rumblings of my stomach.  The moans and groans of my inner piping as it pleads with me to please, for the love of all things bright and beautiful, stuff myself with something that isn’t bread. Just. One. Time.

Yes, my friends, I am what you might call “vegan hippie scum.” I do not eat anything that comes from an animal: meat, eggs, milk, you name it. This is typically not something I tell people about, or remind those who are close to me of, or tell my waiter 800 times because let’s be honest… vegans are annoying. It’s not how I self identify or my “fun fact” and is usually a point of humor amongst my friends. However, in this post…. I’m going to complain… just a little.

When I came to Madrid I did realize that it was the jamón capital of the world, but I didn’t expect it to be anti-vegan. I mean come on… I’m from Texas where if you can shoot it, you can eat it.  However, in Spain I’m having an even harder time finding nourishment that isn’t carbs.

Don’t get me wrong, this country has the most beautiful fruits and veggies I have ever seen, even in the cheap little grocery store by my apartment. I have endless quantities of cheap olive oils and lentils and almond milk! And don’t even get me started on the olives. God bless Spanish olives. However, that is in fact the extent of my diet: olives, apples, olive oil, lentils, and bread. Lots and lots of bread. Order a sandwich? Here’s a side of bread. Oh… you know what would go really well with that beer (aka liquid bread). Yup you guessed it, an entire baguette.

At home, one can experience somewhat of a hiatus from the carb overload, but eating out, especially in a smaller, less touristy town? Forget about it… bring your fat pants because you have a one-way ticket to bloat bay my friend. Not to say that there is anything wrong with this, actually, the first few times you stuff yourself with an entire meal of bread it’s wildly rewarding to loosen your belt an extra notch… but 3 months later… Well I’m all out of notches.

To be perfectly honest, going out to eat in New York is a challenge pricewise, but at least I know what I’m getting myself into. Don’t get me wrong, the people of Spain as I have said time and time again are absolutely lovely. But I’m sorry. Chicken is not a vegetable. I take no offense to the cured pig legs hanging from the ceilings of quite literally every building in this city, in fact they have quite an appealing aesthetic quality. However, when I order a “bocadillo vegetal” (vegetable sandwich) and ask if there is meat in it… please excuse me pounding my head on the table as a take a bite into a hidden chicken breast.

However, not all is lost. I did have the amazing discovery that here in Madrid their mayonnaise doesn’t have any eggs in it because of their health regulations. I have no idea why they can’t put eggs in their mayo, but I do know that it means it is fair game to me. To sum up my Spanish culinary experience: I came hating mayo, I’m going to leave worshiping it for being the only food that swings my way. Mayo=aioli and aioli=patatas bravas for days. YAY FOR CARBS.


  1. Hi Maggie,

    Although I am not vegan, I do experience the same lack of diversity when it comes to food in Italy. While you want less meat and more options, I feel like it’s hard for me to find protein in Italy besides steak, which I do not eat. Everything is pasta, bread, etc. Unless I want to spend about 20 euros on a chicken at a restaurant, it’s very hard to find.

    But like the mayonnaise you found in Madrid, the freshness of the vegetables and food will be something to miss in America.

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