The other morning, school was closed due to icy roads. The deep south, like many parts of the country, has recently had uncharacteristic colder temperatures for this time of year. A neighboring county, had almost 200 minor auto accidents on the morning I made this oatmeal. It was frigid! So I wanted something tropical for a warm start. This simple oatmeal fit the bill. It's just microwaved oats with a banana and a fresh grind of nutmeg.
As the day progressed, the weather changed and by lunchtime temperatures were stretching into the 50's. I was relieved. My friends and I had a gift exchange lunch planned. By lunchtime the roads were safe. We went to Vinny's, a very nice restaurant in the Sedgewick Group, which includes my other faves, Bistro V.G. and Pure. On this "school snow day" we were surprised to find the restaurant bustling and packed, with only one table left, by the kitchen in a lane of traffic. We counted ourselves lucky and tucked our large packages under that table so they wouldn't be trampled.
I hadn't been to Vinny's in a while, mainly because it is more cavernous and loud, less intimate than the other establishments in the Sedgewick group. So I had to do a quick recon of the menu to see what was there for me. There were a couple of arugula salads -- good. Further down there was a rigatoni dish that looked promising, listing veggie after veggie, with fresh tomatoes and a carrot sauce. Mmmm -- I'd ask about that one.
Our server was an older gentleman with a kind face, a slight limp, and a big personality. He was friendly and had a little twinkle in his eye as he elaborately explained the specials. When we were ready to order, I asked him, "This Rigatoni looks good -- is there any meat or dairy in the dish?"
"No ma'am," he replied, "This dish is completely vegetarian,"
"I'd like to order that then," I said.
The server continued taking our orders, then, as an afterthought, turned to me and said, "There may be a little cream in the carrot sauce of your rigatoni,"
"Oh," I responded, "Then I'll need to change my order -- I will just have the arugula salad without the cheese,"
At this the server's face fell a bit, "Young lady, I'm very sorry about your diet,"
Surprised and slightly stung, I could only stammer, "Oh, no, I love my diet!"
The server looked confused, smiled slightly and walked away into the bustling flow of people. I felt I had missed an opportunity to open someone's mind.
I pushed the exchange aside so I could enjoy the time with my friends, but thought it over later and realized there is the need for a "sound bite" for us -- a quick little phrase, easily understood in a loud, crowded room, that says it all, that expresses in a non-threatening way what I really wanted to say to this kindly older fellow. The phrase should contain elements of some or all of the following:
I eat what I love to eat.
I eat what makes my body younger and healthier.
I've eaten wonderful food in countries all over the world in my decades of life, and of all these foods I have found favorites --these are what I eat today.
I never really wanted to eat animals, I only did it because of peer pressure.
You ought to see the delicacies I create in my gourmet kitchen from real plant foods.
You wouldn't eat cheese either if you saw what's in it.
I'm not judging you, please don't judge me.
I don't miss eating animals.
I am not deprived.
It's not a diet -- it's my food!
So I'm hoping this can be a fun project for us, my readers, vegan and non-vegan alike. Please respond to me by e-mail or in the comment box with your ideas about an effective sound-bite to express the gist of what I want to get across to those nice people who just can't conceive of a vegan lifestyle as anything other than a deprivation. If I get a good response I will share the results in a future post.
Thanks and have a joyful day!