Melissa Keighley: It’s my wedding and we’ll eat what I want

Vegan fare

Two months to the wedding, and plans are progressing so smoothly I’m scared I must have forgotten something. I’ve a dress, veil, garter, groom, vicar, cake, photographer, overdraft….what else could I need?

Food, of course! We’ve 170 guests coming, and it seems they won’t be content merely to feast on my radiant smugness. Mass catering is problematic anytime, especially when your guests have nowhere to sit (Ramsgate Music Hall: great for cool, less great for formal seating arrangements).

And I decided to make matters much harder for myself by insisting the food all be vegan. Yes, Uncle Barry, sorry to break it to you, but even your dinner will be entirely free from suffering. It doesn’t seem right, somehow, to celebrate love and new beginnings with a gigantic blood bath.

Luckily Ramsgate is blessed with a veritable vegan paradise in the form of the Shakey Shakey Fish Bar, and they haven’t paid me to say so. Everything you could want from your local chippy – fish, fish cakes, burgers, Cornish pasties, even the odd battered sausage, all served with glamour, tastier than fast food has any right to be. And all vegan! I don’t know how they do it. I daren’t ask, for fear it’s witchcraft.

I couldn’t give a rat’s sphincter what you eat when I’m not paying. I’m not out to proselytise anyone. I’m aware of all the environmental, moral and health reasons for eschewing animal products, but in truth, I’m a vegetarian because corpses creep me out.

If I see a dead bird in the road I say “ewwww!” and look away, rather than getting any urge to lick it. Death is disgusting, mouldy and vile. Fish don’t smell: fish dishes have that funny lady parts stench because of the bacteria eating their dead mouldering forms. You need take care when storing and preparing meat because it’s full of the dangerous and horrid. And yeah, it’s breaking the planet, creating resistance to antibiotics, causing cancer, untold suffering to millions of sentient beings, but mainly, ewwww!

Ah, but it’s natural, they say. Eating meat is natural. You know what else is natural? Gonorrhoea. Cold sores. Tsunamis. Dying of a dental abscess before the age of 30. The whole history of civilisation charts the journey of man from a state of nature to a state of pleasant, polished enlightenment, and I’m all in favour of it.

Of course I’m privileged to be able to make that choice, but given that privilege, the enormous Sainsbury’s within walking distance, stuffed with aduki beans and carrots, it seems insane and offensive not to take advantage.

Weddings are meant to have themes these days, it seems. Mine doesn’t, unless it’s the wonder of me. But if any of my 170 guests chows down on a vegan fishcake and thinks, actually, that’s pretty scrummy, I’ll definitely be doing that again, then I’ll be thrilled.

Even more insufferably smug than usual, in fact.

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