For all of you who may think that it is; no. No, it is not. In fact, the first salsa recipe I ever committed to memory was simmered for 15 minutes in chicken stock. That's pretty common for traditional salsas.
The recipe was my father's and when I last visited, he had made a huge vat of the salsa, knowing I love the enchiladas he makes smothered in the stuff. When I reluctantly admitted that I really wasn't going to eat the salsa he was befuddled. "Why? There isn't any meat in it."he retorted. "The stock, Dad." His face contorted into a grimace as if the recollection of adding the stock had been a repressed memory, now back to traumatize him.
I felt horrible and it reminded me of a gluten-free friend (she wasn't gf as a 'thing.' She could literally die from eating gluten) who was invited to a boyfriend's house for dinner. Knowing the restrictions, the mother carefully selected a soup to serve for dinner. The soup remained gluten-free right up until a moment before it hit the table when the mother noticed the soup was a bit thin and, without thinking, threw in a handfull of flour. Poor Rose watched in horror as the flour left the quick-flinging woman's hand, leaving Rose in the awkward position of not eating her specially prepared supper.
I won't die from eating meat, heck, I have even been so desperate to try a food that I will pick around chunks of bacon, pretending that animal fats stay on their relegated pieces, much like smoke knows to stay in the smoking section of restaurants. Still, I like knowing what I'm eating in an almost obsessive way. Here are a few foods you might* be surprised to know have meat in them:
Salsa: We just covered this, beware of the cooked ones, they can be simmered in stock. Likewise, simmer-sauces can contain meat.
McDonalds French Fries & Hash Browns: "In 2002, McDonald’s agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups in the U.S. to settle lawsuits that accused the chain of mislabeling french fries and hash browns as vegetarian. The vegetable oil used to prepare the fries and hash browns had contained traces of beef for flavoring purposes." — The Washington Post. To be fair, I am not sure if they still use the 'seasoned' oil. I don't really care either. McyD's is known for using a scary number of ingredients in foods. Take a look at the Oatmeal they've been advertising as 'grown.' Grown my left butt-cheek; the list is 21 items long. Last I checked, sodium stearoyl lactylate did not sprout from a branch.
Refried Beans: Not really a shocker because there are cans labeled, "vegetarian." The ones that are not have bacon-fat in them. Be careful when eating out. The really wonderful greasy-spoons are more traditional and traditional means animal fat.
French Onion Soup: Beef base flavors this otherwise veggie caramelized goodness.
|Cows are good at hide and seek|
Cheese Soups, like Broccoli: If it's not one, it's the other: chicken base.
Packaged Side-Dishes: Rice, beans and pastas often have lard (animal fat) or animal stock in them.
I will touch on only one not-really-vegan food for this post. As far as I can tell, animal derivatives are in everything. I couldn't eat this keyboard and claim it vegan (For real. There is more cat hair in it than there is on my cat.).
Stout Beer: Not vegan. To be a "stout" the beer has to be filtered through a fish bladder.** Sorry all you hipster-vegans. Party's over.
But let's end on a good note. One surprisingly VEGAN food:
Bac-os®: They are made from soy!
* If you are a passive meat-avoider. Strict vegetarians will already know this.
** I had originally stated that it was a fish-bone. Thank you, Baleeteen (on reddit) for the correction!