Image from The British Monarchy
Tonight Her Majesty The Queen is serving the first-ever vegan meal at Windsor Castle to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. Included in the royal banquet for 200 people are high-profile representatives from nine different faith groups. The guest list includes the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, President of the All Africa Conference of Churches. They are gathered together to discuss long term initiatives to "Protect the Living Planet."
In keeping with the gravity of the occasion, the royal dinner has to be as ethical, faith-consistent and environmentally-friendly as possible. The castle's regular caterers weren't quite up on the latest in glamorous food for vegans so a cookery writer from the Telegraph was called in to consult.
Image from yumsugar.com
The final menu starts with a roasted pear salad with toasted cobnuts on top, grown in nearby Kent by local farmers. The bread is made by an artisanal baker with local flour. Main course: portobello mushroom stuffed with artichokes on pearl barley risotto. No dessert due to time constraints. There'll be no drinks served at all, just fruit juice and tap water.
What is the Alliance of Religions and Conservation Doing?
The vegan banquet is a side event to an important gathering of representatives from nine different faiths. Their aim is to launch long term initiatives to Protect the Living Planet in anticipation of the Copenhagen Climate Change talks in December. This is a new and unique partnership amongst all the faiths; they are calling it "the largest ever commitment by the faiths to environmental action."
Image from V&A;: Daoist Priest's Robe
These commitments are impressive and unique to each religion.
--Three of the faiths, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, are exploring the creation of new faith-based eco-labelling similar to fair trade labels
--The Daoists are prohibiting the use of ingredients from endangered animals and plants in their healthcare, food and medicine;
--Shanghai Buddhists are recommending that Buddhist-owned restaurants do not serve
meat from wild animals;
--The Hindus intend to provide resources for temples to develop gardens on their land;
--Operation Noah, the only ecumenical faith-based body that focuses exclusively on
climate change in the UK, is calling on Christians to exchange food-growing skills and
source food locally;
--The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, which has a rural agricultural programme,
intends to promote biological soil fertility methods and train farmers in sustainable
--The Quakers in Britain will be implementing a strict food policy at the Quaker
headquarters including total food recycling, a 35 per cent
increase in organic produce and 40 per cent of food sourced from greater London.