The farce that has recently occurred over the Greggs vegan sausage roll is truly an accurate representation of where this country presently is. I half expected there to be a singular man outside the Kings Heath branch; bald-headed, with his Costa Del Sol burnt bonce protected by a cap. He would be assessing the customers joining the back of the queue, staring each down with his bulging, bloodshot eyes and occasionally screaming a muffled ‘SAUSAGE ROLL MEANS SAUSAGE ROLL’ through the Stone Island scarf that blocks out the bottom half of his face. He wasn’t there of course, though I admire the tenacity of anyone who can get so passionate over something so trivial. What a set of absolute lads.
My first and possibly only trip to this branch of Greggs is to try a sausage roll made of sausage, and another sausage roll containing no sausage. To see what the hysteria and twitter meltdown is about, and why the gammon of this country are getting so protective about a pork product. As a bit of background, this would be only my second and third Greggs rolls, the first being in late November of last year when a colleague dumped one on my desk. I don’t have much to go on.
The appearance difference is notable in that one is greasy, the other is not. The meat version secretes a fattiness that you wouldn’t want near a nice item of clothing, whilst the vegan version looked like the sausage roll that you forgot to egg-wash, which it is. They taste pretty much identical: of pig, which is both alarming and surprising. The Quorn version perhaps a fraction higher in black pepper, and with a more sturdy texture. I prefer the vegan version. Repeat. I prefer the vegan version.
Such is this feat of engineering from Greggs HQ, I am confident that you could serve the vegan version at a buffet and pass them off as the meat equivalent. But this is the bit I don’t get: Veganism is a movement that has animal welfare at its very core – I don’t understand why a vegan would want to eat something that tastes of cooked pork. I am a conscious meat eater; we eat less meat at home to ensure the animal we do has had the best life possibly, and I’ll eat every cut and organ out of respect. From this perspective the vegan roll appeals to me. I can’t imagine the pork in the meat version is free range for the price they charge, so the vegan is a success for replicating the taste without the slaughter. I’m talking myself into a vegan lifestyle here. I should stop this immediately.