I had what appeared to be the good fortune of being invited to dinner by one of our neighbors the other day. Not wanting to deny them the pleasure of my company, I of course did the gracious thing and accepted the invitation.
I particularly was looking forward to the occasion because it was going to be a home-cooked Indian meal and I don’t typically eat a lot of Indian food, so I thought that would be a nice change especially since I was promised this wasn’t going to be the usual fare you get at Indian restaurants, but the authentic stuff.
While I was excited to actually get a taste of what real Indian food was about, I can be a bit of a picky eater which doesn’t always go hand in hand with cuisine I am not familiar with. However, on this occasion I decided to throw caution to the wind and walk on the wild side. What’s the worst that could happen?
Well once we arrive for the dinner and and settle down, conversation quickly turns to what’s on the menu for the evening. It’s at this point that our host remembers something that she neglected to mention beforehand. She goes, “I’m so sorry, I forgot to mention, but we are actually vegetarians, so I hope you guys don’t mind but there’s not going to be any kind of meat in the dishes.”
Forgot to mention?! Who forgets to mention something like that That’s a major piece of information, not to mention a major buzzkill. I would have really been salty if something hadn’t told me to eat a sandwich right before I came over for dinner. It seemed like a pretty crass move at the time, but after that nugget of information was revealed I started to look like a freaking genius with a major case of ESP.
So here’s the thing with vegetarians, how come they always get to have it their way? When a carnivore like me — who honestly tolerates vegetables at best and pretty much abhors them the rest of the time — goes to eat at a vegetarian’s house, I am expected to be okay with just being served vegetables and not make a fuss about it. Done.
However, when the shoe is on the other foot and they find themselves in a situation where meat is being served they not only don’t eat, but actually get offended. I mean I can understand the declining to eat part, but most times they really take it personally that you would actually “dare” to assume they eat meat.
Umm hello, first of all if I don’t see “I am a vegetarian” tattooed on your forehead don’t expect me to presume, or go through the trouble of finding out. Secondly, you served me grass and leaves at your house without consulting me and didn’t see me throwing a hissy fit and trust me, I dislike vegetables way more than you dislike meat. So there I was, sitting with the anticlimactic anticipation of preparing to not only sit down to a meal I knew I wasn’t going to particularly enjoy, but also armed with the task of spending the next couple of hours pretending that I was enjoying it. How many vegetarians would do that!
Anyway, dinner was served and unfortunately the cameras from Punk’d and Ashton Kutcher didn’t appear from behind their sofa to reveal that this was in fact some kind of sick joke. They were really vegetarians and there really was not going to be any meat at this affair. It was unfortunate because the food was so well prepared and had all kinds of flavors and spices that did help mask the vegetable taste, but with just a little chicken or lamb thrown in the mix it would have been so much better.
All that aside, my hosts were extremely gracious and gave us a taste of some down home authentic Indian cooking, and went to a lot of trouble doing so which was definitely appreciated. And just for the record, they were anything but the type of vegetarians I was describing above. That’s another story for another day. All in all the evening was a meatless success, inasmuch as such a thing is possible.
As I stood at the counter of the Chinese takeout place reflecting on our dinner, I was torn between whether to feel sorry for vegetarians or admire them. I mean I certainly had to admire that kind of self denial and discipline. At the same time, I felt like they would be missing out on some of life’s simple pleasures, like the sweet and sour chicken I was about to go to town on.
Oh well, c’est la vie. I suppose it could be worse. They could be vegans.
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