Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Great Divide


I was talking to a new local vegetarian friend and we were discussing restaurants we'd visited in other cities. I mentioned that I'd love to see a vegan restaurant open up here, in our shared city.

"Or at least a vegetarian one," she said.

"Well, that wouldn't guarantee vegan options," I pointed out.

"Well, it would probably be better than what's available now," she countered.

"In terms of convenience for vegans? Not really. When they shuffle out meat, they usually shuffle in lots of cheese," I explained, mentioning a bunch of places in town with vegetarian items on the menu which were completely unsuitable for vegans.

"Well, something is better than nothing," she said. "And at least it would get people thinking about not eating meat."

"A vegan restaurant would be better than nothing and would get people thinking about not using other animals at all."

"Well, I have no problem with eating cheese," she said. "It's not the same as eating meat."

"It's all the same," I said. "There's as much suffering and death involved in eating a grilled cheese sandwich as there is in eating a hamburger."

"But it wouldn't really go over, though. A vegan restaurant would be too weird. People like cheese too much and you have to be willing to make some compromises and to draw them in with something."

"How about drawing them in with really good food that happens to not involve animal exploitation?" I suggested.

"You know what I mean," she said, annoyed.

"I think what you mean is that you don't really want to have to eat a dish that doesn't have cheese in it."

Silence.

"Hey, maybe we can have a vegan restaurant with cheese, eggs and meat options for those who want them," I joked sarcastically.

"That would be great!" she replied enthusiastically. "Just no meat, though. I'd rather not watch people eating animals."

"I'd rather not watch people using animals at all," I said, realizing that we weren't getting anywhere, and reminded once again of the great, great divide between vegans and vegetarians.

3 comments:

Ashley said...

Just so sad, I feel like veg*ns are worse than meat eaters in that they realize the horrors that these animals go through but still chose to participate in an industry that sells baby cows for veal and sells dairy cows for cheap beef once their bodies have finally given out after 4-5 long years of abuse. On top of that, I feel like veggies are always looking for validation from vegans, for us to pat them on the back and give them their bottle of milk, saying "good boy/girl" when they are not really affecting change at all. Their are plenty of vegan answers to dairy products, there's just no excuse

WritePublishDie said...

Who says you can’t have a totally vegan restaurant with incredibly tasty food that does enough business to be successful?

The place where I live, Memphis, Tennessee, has one! Here in the South, where the avenues are littered with barbecue shacks, where even the local Whole Foods has one right inside its store, there are still enough people with open minds for there to exist a vegan restaurant here.

Just check out their expansive menu: http://www.imaginevegancafe.com/?page_id=5

Disclaimer - I am in no way affiliated with the restaurant. My point is simply to show how even non-progressive places like Memphis can still support this type of establishment.

M said...

Vegans and non-vegans alike eat at the best restaurants in larger cities. People like good food. That's all you need. Plus with the whole trendiness of plant-based diets, a lot of people would be motivated to go in. The good food is what keeps them going back.

Ashley, you're right that there is no excuse.

As