Can’t you just take the meat out?: Just one more of the stupid things people say to vegans.
I know, in my soul, that to eat a creature who is raised to be eaten, and who never has a chance to be a real being, is unhealthy. It’s like… you’re eating misery. You’re eating a bitter life.”
— Alice Walker
It’s Mother’s Day, and to celebrate I went out with my boyfriend, MacLeod, and his parents to a rather up market restaurant, the kind where they charge you for the air you breathe. Owned by a relative of Macleod’s boss, we choose that place to support a new establishment.
Knowing that we would be dining there, I rang up several days before to check and double check whether they had any vegan options on the menu. They assured me that they did. I rang up again before we left for the restaurant, to make sure one last time.
When we arrived, and settled, it was a gorgeous place, so warm and inviting. I looked at the menu, and noticed two items specified as vegetarian. Everyone else ordered, and began discussing drinks, while and the vegans ordered last, so as to not make a fuss.
When the waiter described the ingredients in the “vegetarian” meals, we discovered the accompanying vegetable dish to the stuffed mushrooms was green beans which had bacon and home made mayonnaise and seasonings stirred through, and whole baby pumpkin hollowed out and filled with roast seasonal vegetables was cooked with chicken stock.
Of the two “vegetarian” dishes, neither of these was actually vegetarian, and neither could be veganised (although, I don’t know, do vegetarians eat chicken stock, or do they not care if they can’t see it?).
We asked perhaps they could put together a special dish for us, after all, we called the restaurant beforehand and explained that vegan meant no animal products, and they said they could accommodate our wishes.
The waiter consulted the kitchen and came back shortly after and discussed our meal options, which involved more questions. Other guests at our table were served their entrees, so we finally settled on fresh fruit and garden salad of green leaves, cucumber, tomatoes and vinaigrette.
My sister-in-law mockingly rolled her eyes and loudly complained about the embarrassing fuss we were making. Couldn’t we compromise, just for one meal, she asked. Ignoring the fact that we had compromised in the first place going to a non-vegan restaurant. “Can’t you just take the meat out?” well no, it doesn’t work like that, plus, I’m not sure how to take the chicken stock out of pan roasted vegetables.
This was a place that had assured us on several occasion they could do meals without any animal products, and when it came to the crunch, no they couldn’t. This establishment was suffering a serious case of “pants on fire” syndrome.
At the end of the meal when the discussion of desserts came up, the dessert list started “home-made toasted almond milk ice cream, leatherbox honey comb and banana brûlée” – at this point I stopped reading.
The night ended with lots of embarrassment, tension, an expensive meal which only some people could enjoy and others endure.
Lesson learned: if you want to eat the food, go to a vegan or vegetarian restaurant
MacLeod was shortly after promoted. So it all worked out in the long term.