…is not easy! But it’s still right. I have had to wrestle a bit with the issue of cheese, which I really like and which I thought would be a good taste-satisfier, after a colleague informed me of how it’s made. Oogh. (Look up rennet; the old-fashioned kind is made from the stomachs of calves.)
Dried and cleaned stomachs of young calves are sliced into small pieces and then put into saltwater or whey, together with some vinegar or wine to lower the pH of the solution. After some time (overnight or several days), the solution is filtered. The crude rennet that remains in the filtered solution can then be used to coagulate milk. About 1 gram of this solution can normally coagulate 2 to 4 litres of milk.
But thank God for markets, entrepreneurship, and incentives. I found you can buy cheese made with microbial rennet; you just have to look for the right labeling. (Granted, that’s not easy to do in a lot of places, but Whole Foods makes it easy in the US.)
I’m avoiding the word “vegetarian,” as you get served grilled vegetables all the time if you say that. I just say “what have you got that doesn’t have meat in it?”