Last night the lovely Sarah Badger dropped some mind-blowing knowledge on me: NOT ALL CHEESE IS VEGETARIAN.
This is one of those times I wish I could unhear something.
I can't believe it. I seriously can't believe it. How the hell can you secretly stuff your food product with "rennet," an enzyme taken from the lining of a cow's fourth stomach, and not clearly mark it on the label?! I might have wandered blindly through life for many years without realizing I was eating animal cheese.
So, naturally, I had to do some research. I googled "vegetarian cheeses" and found this website which lists vegetarian-friendly cheeses by brand. That's pretty handy. It seems that most organic cheeses are safe, as well as a decent amount of Sargento cheeses. The also seems to be at least one safe version of all of my favorite cheeses, so that's good.
I also found this site, which recommends scanning a label for words like "rennet," "rennin," "chymosin," "rennase," or even just "enzymes." Any of these signs point to animal cheese.
So when I got home this afternoon I was craving some chips and Tostitos salsa con queso, but before I dove in I checked the label. And, just as I suspected, it contained the word "enzymes." Awesome. So even though I decided to crush a big-ass plate of spaghetti and red sauce instead, I'm still craving the cheese. I'm about to go melt down some Sargento if I have to. I hate a craving.
By the way, WHAT THE HECK are you supposed to do when you eat at a restaurant? Ask them what's in their cheese? It's already hard enough to eat out without avoiding cheese!
Anywho, the rest of the day was fine food-wise. Breakfast was the usual coffee with lactose-free milk and sugar. Lunch was a banana, a gelatin-free Greek-style yogurt, and most of a Burrito in a Bowl (rice, black beans, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, tomatillo salsa, lettuce, guacamole) from Izzo's, a local burrito place which pales in comparison to Chipotle. Unfortunately, my closest Chipotle is 4.5 hours away, and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. Louisiana is lame.
And finally, I decided to get a snowball (that's how southerners say "snow cone") on the way home from work. The flavor was called "sugar-free ice cream," so I'm not sure why I was so shocked that it tasted like ice cream. It might have something to do with the fact that IT WAS BRIGHT FREAKING YELLOW.
I didn't really love that it actually tasted like ice cream, so I didn't eat the whole thing. That's probably for the best, since these things pack way more calories than you'd think.
So yeah. That's my day in food. One of these days I swear I'll blog about something other than food.
Question For Vegetarians Out There (QFVOT) of the day: Do you only eat cheeses that don't contain rennet, or do you choose ignorance?