This time last year, Marc and I had just arrived in the small town of Abisko in Swedish Lapland, where we lived and worked for five months in an activities hostel. In spite of the excitement, images of reindeer, meat balls and reindeer meatballs took precedence in my mind.
As per my premonition, Lapland did prove very meaty. Not least in the local supermarket Coop, the only one for miles around which saw people buying in mass abundance. Huge freezers contained a meaty pick ‘n’ mix of steaks, chops, legs, wings, tongues, ears what have you, straddling the length of the store, and were a mass protein source for shoppers seemingly stocking up for winter. I remember a portly gent in front of me in the queue once, as he lunged his own meaty hams into a loaded trolley, and crudely whapped meaty hunks onto the conveyor belt with a series of sickening thuds.
Surprisingly though, there was a lot of evidence of vegetarian and even vegan minorities creeping their way into the community. Before our arrival, I imagined modestly filling my basket with things befit for a vegan recluse like nuts, seeds and Ryvita. But in fact the longer we were there, the more vegan products seemed to stealthily sneak their way among ‘regular’ products. Soon I was no longer surprised at discovering things like vegan marshmallows and egg replacement beside a selection of chips and dips.
We eventually found out one of the staff was vegan and she’d been responsible for the treasure trove lavishly bestowing our custom. This vegan genie finally made all our dreams come true when she introduced vegan cheese to the store, and it became clear we weren’t the only ones buying it!
It’s good to know not everyone’s prerogative is to visit the local for a moose burger, and better still, that in such meatier climes we can still have a voice!