Sunday, August 10, 2008

Unintentionally Filling the Vegan Stereotype

One thing that I find rather annoying in regards to veganism is that many people assume that eating out is too difficult to do. This idea does have some truth, since eating out can be tedious when one has to constantly ask questions about ingredients or scour the menu.  Regardless, I usually have had positive experiences in restaurants, especially if the food is something other than home-style cooking (be it German or American).  

Yesterday I learned that Berlin has, in fact, been spoiling me with so many vegan options and vegan-friendly places.  I actually was in an Italian themed restaurant where I could hardly eat anything there.  Normally, the thing that I have to watch out for in Italian places is if the pasta has eggs or not. At first, I got so excited when I asked about the pasta and discovered a lack of eggs. There was even a special of the month that was a green curry and specifically a vegetarian option.  Upon seeing the sauce, I figured that I should check to make sure that it was with coconut milk since it looked rather creamy. To my surprise, it was with regular milk. Seriously? I could not believe it since I usually associate coconut milk as being the milk of choice for curries.

With my original idea being thwarted, I go back to the allergen listing just to see if there was some other hidden dairy that I had overlooked. Unfortunately, such was the case, and I was startled to discover that even the normal tomato sauce contained dairy. Tomato sauce! Why they would put dairy in tomato sauce, I do not understand. Plain tomato sauce should just be tomatoes, spices, and a little oil. Keep it simple and save the dairy for a creamy tomato sauce or something.  I would have hated to have eaten there if I was lactose intolerant because then I would have been even more frustrated.

The option of getting a pizza sounded unappetizing because not only would I have to omit the cheese but the sauce as well. I can get better and cheaper veggie pizzas elsewhere in Berlin. Thus, my final choices consisted of bruschetta and a small mixed greens salad. Thankfully, the balsamic dressing was vegan. Actually, I am pretty sure that it was the only one without dairy.

Needless to say, I was not very happy about the salad being just about my only option.  I enjoy my veggies, but I can just as easily make a salad at home for cheaper. At least it was with mixed greens and not iceberg lettuce, an entity that I refuse to eat due to its amazing lack of nutritional content.  That fulfillment of the stereotype is even worse.

Thus, going to my last brunch at Hans Wurst Vegan Cafe was the breath of fresh air that I direly needed after having such a frustrating dinner last night.  I also was once again reminded that preconceptions of some of the simplest dishes can be deceiving when dairy is involved. 

No comments: