International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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23rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1975
Orono, Maine, USA

from Vegetarian Voice Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec 1975:
click on picures for bigger images



FOOD FIT FOR A MAHARAJAH - Constantly aware, seeing to any special needs, answering questions . . . Freya was always on hand (to ensure a ding-roomful of satified people.
INDIAN DELIGHT - (above right) Smt. Indumati Shedde of the delegation from India, volunteered her artistic talents to produce some highly appropriate center-pieces for the dining tables at the saturday evening banquet. The flowers and the doll seen at far right, are entirely created from vegetables.

The planning of menus and the actual food preparation for the Congress constituted a major achievement in itself. So comprehensiveand complex was the frood planning, that an excellent new cook book was published, incoporating the recipes and menus used at the Congress. The introduction to this book gives a fine account of some of the problems involved, and the types of menus and recipes that were used -

cookbook. . . In regard to the catering of the Congress, this work was rendered much more complex and difficult by the fact that both types of vegetarians and the numbers of attendees anticipated at the Congress - anywhere from 1 to 4 thousand (the final tally was around 1,500 - VV) - were greater in number than ever before.

This is as good a place as any to note that, basically speaking, a vegetarian is a person who fully and conisstently abstains from all flesh, fowl and fish, and of course avoids foodstuffs derived from thse basic slaughter substances. However, the majority of vegetarians in western nations use either milk of eggs or both. Indian vegetarians generally sue milk but not eggs. Vegans use no milk or eggs, no honey; in fact no food or even clothing from the animal kingdom. Food-reform vegetarians do not use refined flour or white sugar (or any sugar at all, in many cases), or other devitalized and refined foods. Natural hygienists are often both "vegan" or total-vegetarian in their diet and food-reform; plus not using salt, sugar, spices, condiments etc., and following specific rules of food-combining for best digestion. Even among the fruitarians alone there is no consensus as to what foods should properly be taken as fruit and what should not.

An additional late note in the dietary department was that the Jain vegetarians coming from India do not use any food that grows below-ground, such as potato, carrot, turnip, etc.

Even in the matter of breakfasts, the 7th-Day Adventists advocate a full meal while hygienists prefer just fruit or no meal at all at that time of day.

The Congress was most fortunate to have the right person in the right place at the right time, for this herculean yet delicate task of planning and bringing forth the recipes and menus for a gathering of such bewildering dietary diversity.

Not only was Freya able to fill all the needs of the various types of vegetarian diets, but it was done in such a manner as to minimize any possible embarrassment, and avoid even any appearance of "holier-than-thou" preaching regarding the relative merits of one form of vegetarian fare over another, Vegetarianism, after all, and certainly a World Vegetarian Congress in particular, should unite and not divide us; and meal times of all times should be pleasant, peaceful, and joyful occasions.

With the blessings of IVU, Freya and her NAVS team worked along specific guidelines; inasmuch as it is easy enough to ADD a flavouring or other item to food, but obviously impossible to REMOVE it once it is in the food, all recipes for prepared "dishes" should be made without the ingredients that are generally avoided by any significant proportion of the vegetarians.

Thus, vegans could rest assured that the casseroles and other dishes were made without any milk or butter, eggs or cheese, the desserts made without honey. (for lacto-vegetarians, the optional side dish of cheese was specifically obtained: it contained no animal rennet -VV.) Food-reformers would be pleased to know that no white flour or sugar were used in the recipes. Hygienists could have cooked vegetables without condiments (although those people who wished to add them could do so) and could make an excellent selection from the abundant variety of foods on the menu.

In the matter the Jains, some special guidance was necessitated, as to specific dishes that would be acceptable or otherwise.

It was thus made possible to meet the requirements of mass-production of the food, and serving from a single type of cafeteria line - very important factors from the standpoint of the University. The feeding of thousands is not quite the same as the feeding of dozens, as we learned from our many consultations with the ever-able and helpful University personnel. Certain limitations due to sheer volumes required, made some alterations of the recipes mandatory. One fo the greatest difficulties was in the lack of blenders of sufficient size for several of the "showpiece" recipes. Another was the availability of some critical ingredients in large institution size packages. Still another factor was the difference between, for example, cutting up a couple of tomatoes or peaches in a typical household kitchen, and hand preparing half-ton or so of such fresh items in an institution sized kitchen somewhat used to more pre-packaged items than we would prefer. Nevertheless the University culibary staff exhibited a marvellous spirit of cooperation and helpfulness; and very few compromises were required with frozen or canned ingredients. In the case of the soya milk, it was necessary to (plan to) utilize Loma Linda Soyagen (which does contain salt and refined sweetening) in certain recipes, especially at the University, where it was not feasible to make large quantities of soya milk to our specifications. (A last-minute substitution of Worthington Soyamel was made at the Congress, due to a disastrous fire that destroyed the Soyagen producing facility, temporarily halting production of this item, -VV.)

However, meal preparation for a family is quite another matter; and the user of this (Veg, Congress) cook book can be just as "strict" as desired. It is published with a view to the help it can give to those who are newcomers to vegetarianism, as well as those who are further along the way. We may note parenthetically, that we have made no attempt to cover nutritional theories in this work, nor yet to present or even list the multitude of reasons for living in a natural vegetarian manner. These matters would easily fill a few books, and in fact, they have. There is, of course, so much misinformation and outright nonsense in print about vegetarians and vegetarianism; but the excellent publications distributed by NAVS have been carefully selected for educatinal value and factual accuracy. Vegetarian Voice, the NAVS magazine, is another top-notch source of reliable vegetarian information.

Simply stated, this cook book represents the menus and kitchen-tested recipes that served as the basis for the institutionalized ones at the Congress. All recipes were tested at the NAVS headquarters by Freya and her assistants, in quantities varying from about 5 to 20 servings. These were then computed to a 100-person size for the University to use for the Congress; and the University's Food Service Department was quite busy through the summer of 1975 testing and adjusting various items, such as the baked goods and desserts.

On some of our many business trips to the campus, we would be given a variety of samples they had just prepared, and would make adjustments as necessary, The University Personnel were extremely helpful and competent in this operation and we are most grateful to them; we know it was not an easy matter for them to become familiar with so many special requirements and requests so different from their usual work.

Additionally the basic recipes were computed downwards in quantities, re-testing and adjusting where necessary to make a standardized recipe size to feed (in most cases) about 4 to 6 people,

We should note that recipe is complete as is, without additions of condiments or lily-gilding "flavorings"; in most cases they can be savored and appreciated by almost anyone. But those who have taken the trouble to adjust their tastes to the finer and more subtle flavors of Nature, will enjoy them most of all, For those who are at this moment more concerned with simply getting away from the traditional meat dishes, doubtless a note to "salt to taste" will be in order for at least some of the vegetable recipes.

But it really does not take very long to accustom one's taste to the delicious flavors of fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc., as Nature benignly bestows them on us, instead of limiting oneself to the harsher and artificial irritating tastes of salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, ketchup, and spices. Most wo have made such a transition feel better and, if anything, enjoy their food even more, in time, once accustomed to the true tastes of natural foods.

In any event, we are certain that you wish to serve yourself and your family the very best, the most delicious, the most attractive, the most nutritious, and the most harmless, of all possible dietary regimens. Natural vegetarian meals offer all these advantages, and meet every possible test of nutritional quality, humane procurement, wholesomenes, and satisfaction.

As was noted in the selection of the theme for this outstandng and memorable World Vegetarian Congress: VEGETARIANISM IS GOOD FOR LIFE!