Green Lizard's Blog

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The quest for Vegan Cheese

In The Netherlands there’s a challenge at the supermarket. It’s hidden in the small print.

In the UK, twenty years ago there was a scandal in the food industry. Mad Cows disease or Creutzfeld Jakobs disease (CJD). It was one of the key factors that made me stop eating meat.

The cause?

Cattle being fed dead sheep. A neurological disease that was originally from scrapie in the sheep transferred to the cows. It resulted in abnormal behaviour in the cows causing stumbling and other problems with their brain function.

The big problem for the food industry is that CJD transferred to people.

Now my big problem was that the cow is a herbivore with four ruminant stomachs for the effective digestion of grass.

So what on earth were we feeding them dead, processed sheep for?

Where’s the logic?

And then is there any surprise that having messed with nature there’s a terrible consequence.

Now to the point of this weary tale. As a result of the food crises at that time the UK food industry did change and lots of foods stopped being made the same way.

Cheese for example was no longer made with rennet.

Rennet or (stremsel in Dutch) is made from the lining of a cow’s stomach. Or another ruminant animal. It’s an enzyme. It makes the cheese, for want of a better word, set. In the UK rennet was generally replaced with non animal ingredients.

This change didn’t happen in such a widespread way elsewhere.

So here in The Netherlands many cheeses are still made with rennet.

Now I prefer to avoid eating cow’s stomach with my cheese. Call me old fashioned.

It has got easier to find cheeses made with alternatives but the one that still evades me is Parmesan.

Where possible I buy pecorino, which doesn’t have rennet, instead.

Now a friend of mine is writing a vegan blog. She’s exploring vegan food everyday. Today her post had a great additional piece of info.

Vegan Parmesan

Yep! I got excited!

Even more excited when I learned there were only three ingredients.

And then I had all three and a shaker!

The recipe she used was <a href="″>here on another blog.

And it has a flavour akin to Parmesan without the cow’s stomach.



One comment on “The quest for Vegan Cheese

  1. Rambling Woods
    November 28, 2014

    cows stomach….great….sigh

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 24, 2014 by in vegetarian and tagged , , , .

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a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...

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