Happy Herbivore Abroad Blog Tour & Giveaway

31 Days of GiveawaysBack when I was doing a lot of international traveling, I was still eating meat and dairy.  I never gave a thought to what I would eat!  Well, except when using my rudimentary foreign language skills to order.  Boy, I had a good time and I ate a lot.  Thick slices of sharp cheeses at breakfast in Turkey, hearty meat stews in Hungary, gelato in Italy, creamy sweets of every kind in Austria, savory, buttery pasties in England, sausages and spaetzle in Germany.  Looking back, I can’t help but feel that I would go quite hungry now.  But maybe I just ignored the plant-based offerings since animal products were still the focus of my diet.  So I was really curious to find out how difficult (or not) it was for Lindsay Nixon – aka The Happy Herbivore – to eat animal-free while abroad.

Lindsay was nice enough to answer a few of my questions about that very topic and her answers are below.  At the end of this post, you’ll be treated to a couple of photos from recipes I made from the book and you’ll also have an opportunity to enter a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of her newest cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad.  My giveaway starts today and ends on December 20, but Lindsay is giving away one cookbook a day until December 31 so you can blog hop and enter to win at the other participating blogs.  (Sorry, the giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants, only.)  A big thanks to Lindsay Nixon and BenBella Books for including me in the Happy Herbivore Abroad month of giveaways.

Happy Herbivore Abroad CoverI’m wondering how challenging it has been for you to eat vegan while traveling abroad.  Some places are more veg-centric than others.  Is there a foreign city/country that stands out as being particularly easy in which to get a good plant-based meal?

I don’t find traveling internationally any more challenging than traveling within the U.S.  It takes a bit of patience, and creativity at times, but nothing that I don’t experience in my own city or when traveling for work. Like in the U.S., bigger cities tend to be more accommodating than smaller towns and villages. 

From my travel experience, I’ve gathered that every culture feels that they put more importance on food than any other culture – food made with love, shared with family and friends, handing cherished recipes down, etc.  Do you think it’s different here in America because of our fast food obsession?  Is it more about eating to live rather than living to eat?

I lived abroad for a year (in addition to all my travel) and the first cultural difference I realized is that Europeans do one thing at a time. When they drive they drive. When they eat they eat.  They aren’t desktop or dashboard dinners. When they’re eating a sandwich, they’re eating a sandwich. They stop to eat and enjoy that sandwich. I’ve tried to weave that into my life. 

I think we have a go-go-go-more-more-more mentality in America that forces us to multitask. That’s also a recent development. When I was growing up (not too long ago) most families I knew came together for dinner, and meals were cooked with love — from recipes handed down. 

When I travel domestically I still find that I need to plan ahead and bring a great proportion of my meals with me.  Sometimes it’s very frustrating to feel like the “problem child” at the table.  Do you think that the plant-based way of eating – maybe because of increased awareness about how food affects health – will become more mainstream or will it retain its sort of fad or cult image?

 I dare say it’s already mainstream.

It’s clear from your cookbooks that preparing and eating plant-based foods can be easy, quick and delicious, but for most omnivores the idea of cooking without meat seems daunting.  There’s the idea that vegan cooking requires all kinds of strange ingredients and takes gobs of time.  How do you persuade meat-eaters that vegan cooking can be as simple or as complicated as one wants to make it?  

I show them my cookbooks :)

And maybe this is the toughest question of the bunch: do you have a favorite comfort food that you go to again and again?

I love mashed potatoes. 

And now for a sampling of the food:

morir sonando

Morir Sonando

Vinegar Potatoes

Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread

Click here to enter to win a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad!

One year ago today: Pumpkin-Carrot Spice Cake

58 thoughts on “Happy Herbivore Abroad Blog Tour & Giveaway

  1. tearoomdelights

    I’ve definitely found some countries more veg-centric than others. I have the impression that the further away from the equator you are, the harder it is to find purely vegetarian or vegan dishes. You don’t get anything like the choice of vegetables and fruit in Iceland, for example, that you get in Spain, no doubt because the climate doesn’t work in favour of it. I’m sure that if you’re travelling through major cities nowadays, it will be easier to find vegetarian food than it used to be, but even so it’s a tiny percentage of what’s available to eat for omnivores.

    I was interested in your question about vegan food being mainstream, it certainly isn’t mainstream in the UK and vegans are often portrayed by the media as weirdos on the fringes of society. I used to have a boss who frequently referred to me as a ‘tree-hugger’ because I was vegetarian. I thought it was quite funny, but the fact that it was acceptable to him to alienate me with that labelling is an indication of what the man in the street thinks of vegetarians, not to mention vegans. Amongst my close friends, none are vegetarian or vegan, and although my brother and I have been vegetarian for years my mum still thinks it’s an odd and limiting life choice.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      That is my feeling as well, Lorna – that even here in the States vegan is far from mainstream. Thankfully I have never been ridiculed (not cruelly anyway…) for my food choices. I find it hard to believe people go in for that kind of thing. Who cares, really? Doesn’t sound to me as if your diet is limiting at all! I’ve seen those beautiful baked goods and comforting soups!

  2. Tracy

    I agree with the previous comment that it seems easier to get good vegan food in larger cities. But, compared to even just a few years ago the number of menus and reviews you can find on the internet is amazing. I feel I can research ahead and get a good idea where to eat.

  3. Pingback: Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes with Vegan Ranch Dressing | Vedged Out

      1. Canned Time

        I also love what Lindsay says about how we don’t stop to eat in the US. So true. I spend hours figuring out a meal most nights that is completely overrun, though appreciated, buy what’s on the TV.
        And lunch…I never sit still for even a bite. :(
        We’re such a different generation when it comes to food. Great interview! Thanks.

      2. An Unrefined Vegan

        I think about that all of the time. I spend hours planning/preparing a meal only to have it devoured in under 20 minutes! I tend to snarf down my food and as you say, lunch usually gets short shrift. What’s my hurry?!

  4. Becky

    When we went to London a few years ago, I was definitely impressed with the vegan options! I couldn’t eat much in the way of pub food, but who needs that when there’s a curry on every corner? We also went to Wagamama a couple of times and found this vegan Chinese place near our hotel that was open super late. I wish I remembered the name of that place. The food reminded me a little of Green Sprout here in Atlanta.

  5. Pingback: Giveaway: Happy Herbivore Abroad cookbook via An Unrefined Vegan « Vegan Perks

  6. Veggie V! @ Veggie V's Vegan Adventure

    I didn’t participate in the HH blog tour this time around. Looks like it was worth it, though. Surprised by some of the recipes I’ve seen so far; thought I wouldn’t be as interested as I am since I don’t search out the international flair in my foods. Looking forward to winning (or purchasing – eventually) a copy of the book :-)

  7. Brittany

    I must be completely honest with you..the day I have the opportunity to travel to Italy or France or any of these foodie like cultures, I will probably be a vegetarian for the trip!! GAH! Don’t shun me..HOWEVER these tips are great to know, I won’t want to eat cheese everyday, but I must experience these countries at least once for their great food!! Still no meat though..never the meat!

  8. Laura

    I am travelling to Mexico in 1o days and I am a bit nervous about finding plant based meals in the resort and city, hopefully there will be a market I can buy fresh produce!
    The book looks great :)

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