Ottawa to Montreal and Back: A Vegan Salon
April 29, 2012 7 Comments
This morning I took a hypnotic train ride from Ottawa to Montreal to visit a fellow food writer (and friend). She’s vegan; her husband comes close (he’s French and when he visits his family back in the homeland, there’s that damn cheese plate); and her three friends who joined us (philosophers who specialize in animal ethics) were also vegan. The train was clean and on time.
After a bike ride around Montreal (on one of those impossibly progressive city-owned bikes), we spent the afternoon in my friend’s apartment talking animals, ethics, social change. One of her friends was fresh from jail, a victim of the crackdown on students protesting tuition hikes; another was fresh from graduate school, having earned her PhD two days ago. They appeared equally liberated.
Talking and drinking good red wine with intelligent and like-minded citizens of Quebec was, well, unspeakable bliss, much needed after months going tete-a-tete with ornery foodies, hunters, and Joel Salatin. Adversarial confrontations are needed, but they can take an emotional toll. Speaking with real people on a similar plane can be better than therapy. Today felt better than therapeutic.
Our conversation was something rare: it was a conversation. Everyone spoke, everyone had interesting things to offer, everyone came from a slightly different perspective. There were disagreements as well as nods of consent, and a lot more English spoken than French, which was critical for me, a sad product of the American emphasis on uni-lingualism. (Although I had no trouble recognizing any reference to “vin rouge.”)
Tomorrow I speak at Ottawa’s fourth annual VegFest. Report to come.