I am a vegetarian. I have been one all my life. ‘Oh, so you are vegetarian! Do you eat fish?’ When I first came to the USA, I did feel I was from another planet. There were enough people telling me I was missing something, by not eating meat. In a very subtle way, I was made to feel either out of place, or bothersome, or too picky. However, I was not going to give up my convictions, for anybody or any place. It boggled my mind that a country that were so tolerant in many ways, had such limited knowledge of the rest of the world, and such little patience for people with different dietary needs.
My first year here, there were lots of lunches and dinners, where all I could eat was a green salad. I felt like a cow chewing grass! In my second year, I said, “Enough is enough!” I decided to become a proactive vegetarian. My mantra now was “Stop Getting Mad, And Educate”. And so began my journey. Every restaurant that I went to had me spelling out a simple recipe, which the chef could put together for me. I did this; mind you, with a smile. There was no anger or frustration.
Now with the web, I go online and look at the menus for vegetarian options at any of the restaurants on our list for the evening. If the vegetarian choices are limited, I call the restaurant, and ask if the chef will be kind enough to accommodate my needs. I know that I have irritated more than a few chefs, wait staff, my husband and friends. But hey, I needed to take care of myself – the American way. As a result, I now get to enjoy my meal as much as everyone else. I get a very pleasant dining experience, and do not feel that I paid $20.00 for a plate of sautéed broccoli!