Thursday, May 05, 2011

Open letter to the vegetarian option.

Dear The Vegetarian Option,

Because there was no fish option, which is what I usually opt for at the occasional institutional dinner event, you and I met again last night, The Vegetarian Option, at the round table on the far edge of the room, the giant ballroom filled with dignitaries and rich people and a bunch of us employee types, who were there to season the conversation and decorate the event. I keep thinking that things have changed--that "vegetarian" is actually a cuisine, maybe, at this point. I know I've eaten vegetarian food that has the imagination, the inventiveness, the je ne sais quoi of cuisine, that still fits the criterion "vegetarian." I cook this kind of food all the time.

But not you, The Vegetarian Option. No, there you sat in the bowl, all overcooked penne and saucy sauce, and cut up green-and-yellow summer squash and the occasional incongruous carrot chunk.

First of all, penne pasta: you are not optimal for this non-optimal dish. You are hefty where you should be subtle, and you are tubular and in general, suitable for other treatments, such as baking in cheese. Al forno, penne pasta: you are optimal for that.

Second of all, green-and-yellow summer squash: you are not currently seasonal, and you are in fact usually tasteless. You are a veritable place-holder of a vegetable. Not even the fancy decorative cut-outs in the shape of leaves with leaf-vein divots on the tops of them can address your deficiencies, vegetable-wise.

Thirdly, carrots? I love carrots. But a carrot, particularly in chunk form, is not--how shall we say?--relevant to this dish.

But most of all, The Vegetarian Option, you are lousy with thoughtlessness, rife with lack of care, with I'm-just-here-to-fill-a-dish-ness. You imply that the vegetarian, because she does not care for meat, does not care about food at all. I am taking it personally, The Vegetarian Option. From henceforth you are my nemesis and I shall not rest until you, The Vegetarian Option, behave like actual food, rather than the fodder you actually are.

I mean it,

lisa b.


  1. BOOM. ROASTED. You tell that vegetarian cuisine.

  2. Finally. A food I don't want to marry.

  3. Word. The Vegetarian Option and I spend much institutional time together. It feels pretty optionless, actually.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, the meat option was equally awful. I had pork with a redundant bit of ham draped over it and then a square of mystery cheese over that. Also, tasteless squash and tasteless rice followed by some ambiguous desert. Is it a gelato? A mousse with freezer burn? Finally, no wine refills. Bad, bad, bad all around.



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