Is it just me, or are people nicer at vegetarian and vegan restaurants? There’s this subtle “welcome home” kind of vibe, as if you’ve just come back from some terrible place filled with suffering—like you’ve just come back, in other words, from all the other places you might have been eating, places where slaughter is what’s for dinner. At the handful of veg restaurants I’ve been to now, there’s this sense that we’re all in on the big secret, we’re all part of the family. It’s nice.
But there’s a problem with nice. Nice can quickly become an excuse for lackluster service and frumpy meals. I still want to be a little bit impressed by your food, not just relieved that it doesn’t have animals in it. Just because you can deep fry that vegan mystery patty and swaddle it in soy bacon doesn’t mean you should… it doesn’t mean it’ll taste any good. Just because I’m at a place where I can order something other than the salad doesn’t mean I want a plate of plant-based food that’s no longer recognizable as plant-based.
I had this realization when I went to a non-veg Thai place the other day and, to my delight, had a pretty easy time getting a fantastic rice dish with loads of veggies and tofu and a great spicy sauce. It was nothing fancy, but it was perfect. The next day I went to a veg place and had a pizza covered in sad-looking seitan and globs of fake cheese. I know I’m supposed to be singing the praises of the seitan pizza, but frankly, it wasn’t all that great. I found myself longing for a vegetable that looked like a vegetable.
I still love the veg places of course, and I get that they take pride in proving that comfort food can be vegan too. But let’s step it up guys! “Comfort food” doesn’t have to mean brown, bland, and vaguely bacony.
At Chipotle, they say their pork tastes better because the pigs are raised more naturally, in a way that “respects the pigness of the pigs.” Maybe we could learn a thing or two and start respecting the vegetableness of the vegetables?
- lentenvegan posted this