This is a topic that I haven’t discussed, a glaring reality for vegans. Mistakes happen. Tragic consequences can arise when eating out at a place that isn’t necessarily all plant based. Cross contamination is a real issue. Sometimes people don’t listen. Sometimes in midst of busy chaos, your “special” order is forgotten. It doesn’t mean that you’re falling off the wagon.
Exactly, one week ago, I attended the last PHLA Assembled to enjoy the Victory Menu.
Unlike the Resistance Menu, the options were extremely limited.
Fortunately, the cashier assured me that a few dishes could be vegan. I should have known something was up when she asked, “do you still want the roll?”
I had two lentil empanadas, the beans and rice, and the coconut roll.
I finished off my lentil empanadas with degrees of satisfaction. They were impressive– a savory, well seasoned filling in a pillowy, crisp pastry. I then started around my rice and beans, staring at the dollop of cream with suspicion. I thought, “of course that cashier told the server I was vegan.” Although looking around, everyone was consuming meat and their beans and rice bowls with the same dollop. I stayed diligent, even though my intuition strengthened. I took a bite of the roll and immediately tasted the salty plunge that was surely not vegan. Foolishly, I dug into the sour cream matter and that too lie a grave of disrespect. My stomach sank into a disgusting pit.
I walked up to the counter and asked the server if these things were vegan. Maybe my taste buds and stomach were wrong.
“No,” she said. “There is sour cream. The bread has ghee.”
“I told the cashier I was vegan,” I told her, my stomach worsening. My digestive system was whacking out as my consciousness fell into great despair. I blinked back my tears, knowing that they were desperate to climb out of my eye sockets and drip down my cheekbones, like the cow mourning her calves as she prepared for her own impending death.
“She didn’t make a note of that to me.”
I sighed glumly. This wasn’t the friendliest exchange. I felt wronged, blamed.
Still, she allowed me to return my death food. I received a sour cream free bowl of beans and rice.
I ate this pleasant little meal of blackened carrots, beans, and rice inside tin foil bowl with diminished happiness. I wasn’t thinking about a six dollar loss. I was primarily thinking about my pained stomach and the dead animals on everyone’s plates. A crushingly sick and twisted moment occurred. I sat among them all, feeling hypocritical because of what residues rested on my tongue, situated inside my confused, nausea induced belly.
I had never had ghee before. Sour cream, yes.
But for years, I hadn’t consumed milk, dairy, or egg products.
I say that if this happens to you, the accidental consumption of grisly, horrific death, it is natural to be sad, disheartened, perhaps a bit morose and depressed. Don’t let that stop your fight. Let it make you want to become a better vegan.
It hurts. Yes, it sucks even. With situations such as this, the kind-hearted vegan must reevaluate themselves, figure out if eating out in nonvegan spaces can satisfy. Sometimes, they really can’t. It is important to always, always ask questions. If something feels wrong, don’t eat it.
In a vegan’s life, the most veganized place to eat is their own home and an all vegan establishment second.