Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High School Reunion aka Vegan No Man's Land

So I come from a very small town in the Pacific Northwest.  It's been 10 years since I graduated from high school and as much as I said that I would never go back, I couldn't really help myself. I missed the official reunion, which is actually too bad because there were apparently 100+ people there (my class only had about 200 students).  Nevertheless, I made it out on Saturday to the family picnic and then out to a round at the bars. Good times had at both events in spite of myself.

However, what this all meant was that I spent two days back in my hometown where vegetarianism is unheard of, let alone veganism.  For the first time, I had blank stares and questions like, "Vegan? You mean, no cheese? What do you eat then?" or "How do you get protein and calcium?" or "Why would you do something so harmful to yourself?"  I guess I should have been more prepared for these questions but it surprised me how little people knew about meat production. Of course, this probably shouldn't surprise me at all since it's a tiny town but still...

So not only did people eye me like I may have an infectious disease, but I also realized that there are literally no plausible food choices. Nevermind that I couldn't remember where the hell anything was since I haven't been back to my hometown in about 6 years, and forget that plenty of businesses have changed, but there literally isn't one single restaurant that I could find that even catered to the vegetarian. Even the salads themselves were covered in meat and diary-based dressings. Even the local Safeway (Ralphs to you Southern Californians) didn't even carry half the products that regular grocery store does. No salad with the convenient tuna cup, which can be discarded or given away, no vegetable based entrees in their hot bar.  I spent the entire weekend eating fruit platters, veggie trays (no dressing) and french fries.  All I could think was Really??!!  No one in all of the county is familiar with the idea of refraining from meat if only for one meal???  Crazy.  So I just kept drinking $1.75 drinks to make up for the lack of nutritional calories.

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