Italian Homeless Want Meat

By Ruth Kava — Apr 28, 2016
Homeless people who are fed at soup kitchens typically don't get to choose their menus. But in Bologna, Italy some protested when a celebrity chef offered them vegan cuisine. Some said they'd rather return to the streets than eat his veggies.


shutterstock_262655879 Veggie Burger courtesy of Shutterstock

It's unfortunately true that homeless people abound both in the United States and around the world. In many countries charitable groups set up so-called soup kitchens that provide food for the homeless and others down on their luck. In Bologna, Italy for example, some monks run such a center to help these folks. In one of these, a celebrity chef tried to help out by creating a supposedly healthier menu. The problem was that the chef, Simone Salvini, is a vegan and so was his menu.

The British Telegraph News reported that many of the center's clients rebelled, vowing that they would rather "return to the streets" than eat chef Salvini's vegan offerings. After all, Bologna is known for its meat-containing offerings — think pasta Bolognese and lasagna. So it's no wonder that even the homeless people's palates are not attuned to a vegan cuisine.

Reportedly, chef Salvini is trying to assuage his critics by providing vegan meat analogs such as meatball-shaped veggies and ragu with soy-based meat substitute. Maybe that will work. Since the chef has volunteered to work at center gratis on Wednesdays at lunch time, we will see how his substitutions work out.

This incident brings up the issue of what foods are provided at such centers — in the U.S. some foods likely come from the USDA, and others from charitable contributions. So the centers may not have total control over what is offered. So far, though, we haven't seen such an organized rebellion in the United States, but then again, we don't have the legacy of fine cuisine that they have in Bologna. Stay tuned, though, it could happen here!

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