Last week my boss was so kind as to take us out to lunch to celebrate our successful year. The lunch spot? Maggiano’s. Mmmmmmmm. I’ve been there plenty of times as a meat-eater but I figured that I could get some veggie spaghetti or a nice salad.
Boy, was I in for a surprise. There was maybe one thing on the lunch menu that I could eat as-is: angel hair pasta in a marinara sauce. No veggies by themselves. Even the salads had meat on them. The entrees all had meat. I scanned and re-scanned the menu. I must have missed something! Nope, the first scan was correct.
The waiter approached to take our orders. Everyone ordered something off the menu, but I had to be special vegetarian.
“Um, do you think that the kitchen could throw something together for me? I don’t eat meat.”
“Of any kind?”
Quizzical looks abound at the table. Some of my co-workers are just finding this out about me.
“No meat. Veggies, yet. Meat, no. Do you think I could get spaghetti in marinara sauce, but with some vegetables thrown in? I saw zucchini in something else, could I have that?”
“Sure. How about some spinach, too?”
What an accommodating waiter! I was thrilled!
“Yes, spinach would be great! And, if you have mushrooms and black olives? I love those.”
“Sure, and we can put some shrimp in there, too.”
My face fell.
“Oh, sorry, ma’am. No shrimp, duh.”
So, it’s not very easy, I am finding, to locate vegetarian fare OR a common understanding of what vegetarianism is. I was chatting with my friend Christy about it all, because I knew she ate fish but not poultry, beef, or pork.
“So, is that considered vegetarian?”
“I am considered pescatarian,” she corrected, “since I eat fish.”
“If I eat no meat at all, am I a vegetarian?”
“Yes, but there are different kinds.”
“Okay, well, I eat dairy products – milk and cheese.”
“You’re an ovo- lactaterian,” she quipped.
She laughed. “Ovo- means egg. Lacto- means milk or cheese.”
“Ah, so if you don’t eat either of those, you’re vegan?”
Turns out if you’re vegan, you also don’t eat honey. I might get there, but I am not there yet.
I am very grateful that my husband is supporting me.
“I would like to eat chicken in our stirfry, but I will cook it separately and then mix it in,” he decided last night. What a gem.
At work, I am blessed to receive a free lunch everyday as one of the benefits of working here. I’ve slowly eliminated things I will eat in my diet, so it’s getting more difficult to find things to eat there. Lately, I’ve been eating bananas with peanut butter on them.
Did I mention I don’t eat bread?