Friday, March 18, 2005

10 Things That Can Ruin a Vegetarian's Day

Any meat in there?
Originally uploaded by suebobdavis.
1. Finding out that the vegetable items at your favorite Chinese restaurant all contain chicken stock.
2. Or that your favorite Mexican restaurant uses lard in their beans. Does not wanting to know make me a bad vegetarian? Are the vegetarian police going to come get me in the middle of the night?
3. Discovering a big chewy chunk of pork in your otherwise vegetarian meal. Hello!
4. Running out of Beano. Consider the diet. Beans, legumes, tasty cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli...Beano is not an optional item. It is a staple.
5. Having the "Why are you a vegetarian?" conversation with your in-laws, parents, or boss. Again.
6. Going to a family-style Chinese or Thai place with meat-eaters and having everyone order one dish. Yours is the only vegetarian dish. Everyone else gets eat four or five different things. You get one entree and all the rice you can choke down.
7. Being trapped in a room with your brother-in-law who loves to tell hunting stories.
8. Having pizza lunch at work. There are 10 pizzas, one vegetable. Everyone else takes slices of meat and one of vegetable, leaving you with one lonely slice of veg.
9. Having people look at your lunch and say "Oh my God! How can you eat tofu? How gross!" (This one has gotten less common in recent years, thankfully).
10. Being told at a family meal "I thought you could just pick the vegetables out of the meat stew and eat those."

Actually I am a lot more light-hearted about being a veg-head than this may sound. I try not to disturb others with my preference and have on more than one occasion prentended to eat a full, satisfying meal while pushing a lot of food around on my plate, as not to offend (as in the cases of #6 and #10.)

I imagine that some things ruin a meat-eater's day, too, like eating family-style with a vegetarian who wants to get all the dishes without meat while the meat-eater is dying for something chewy and dense. Or hearing endless factory farming horror stories, or warnings about clogged arteries and colon cancer.

As a food lover, sometimes I consider going back to eating meat because there is so much more cuisine to explore. But the truth is that I just don't like it. Never have, probably never will. Eating meat was always more of a chore than a joy for me, even when I was a little kid.

I remember my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Crockett, asking the class what their favorite foods were. My classmate Jeff Feeley said "Steak." I remember thinking "Steak? WHO likes steak?" I couldn't imagine it. My favorite food was artichokes.


holly said...

As a vegetarian, I totally understand all the things on your list. Except beano. I've never tried it. The fact that it is liquid put me off. Does it have any taste?

About considering going back to eating meat, I understand that, too. I have been a vegetarian since I was 15 (30 now). I've always hated meat because of the texture, the taste and because I just think that it is disgusting to eat meat. Its not like I miss meat, but sometimes when I read about incredible, creative tasting menus or interesting exotic recipes, I sometimes wonder if I am missing out. However, after a few minutes, I remember that no matter how creative a beef/pork/duck/chicken recipe is, I still won't like it.

That said, I often get tired of having to ask so many questions when ordering (is this made with chicken broth, etc.)or having people make a fuss over what I will or will not eat.

When people ask me why I am a vegetarian, I just say it is a choice. Just like some people don't like brocolli.

I think what I hate the most is when people just assume I am vegetarian for animal rights, and they say "well, lettuce has a head. do you eat that?" or "your salad was alive once, too"

Sorry, did not mean to fill up your comment section with my rant. As you can tell, I feel strongly about this!

Suebob said...

Thanks for the comment, Holly.

Beano is a little sweet. The liquid isn't too bad but I find the little chewable pills truly revolting. They are both powdery and sweet and stick in my teeth...yuk.

My naturopath gave me some broader-spectrum digestive enzyme capsules called Similase, but I don't think they work quite as well as Beano, which is pretty fantastic IMO.