Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vegan in Rochester, Emphasis on the "Non-Fanatic"

A common refrain in a vegan’s life is “what do you eat?” It’s something I never get tired of answering, because I eat such fantastic food, but it’s something that surprises me. Are people so confused by veganism, and apathetic toward fruits and vegetables that they can’t envision a happy life eating only plant-based foods? But, I am luckier than most in that I live in one of the most beautiful, and vegan friendly parts of the world, the San Francisco Bay Area. Bemused reactions to my diet are surprising because there are so many people here who already feel the way I do about food.

I was particularly reminded of the unique situation of California when I visited my grandmother in Rochester, New York recently. While not Berkeley, Rochester is reasonably sized and relatively progressive, but not exactly the epitome of vegan friendly. But, this vegan does occasionally leave the Golden State, and eating compassionately is a priority even when traveling.

With a last meal, we took the red-eye from San Francisco. What do vegans eat in an airport? Nothing. You bring your own food obviously! Armed with a fresh baked banana bread, we survived our three hour layover in Baltimore quite peacefully. We arrived in New York around lunchtime, famished and pessimistic. Chipotle, my go-to vegan restaurant in every city, was too far from the hotel to be convenient. We kept our eyes open for options, but could see nothing from the highway. The only restaurant by the hotel was an IHOP; no, egg beaters are not vegan. So, we quickly gave up and went to the grocery store across the street. Vegan Life Lesson #1: Everywhere there are people, there are grocery stores, and every grocery store has peanut butter, jelly, and bread. It may not be natural peanut butter, cherry jam, or whole wheat bread, but it’s food. We ended up having a fend-for-yourself lunch of PB&J, chips and salsa, veggies and hummus. Not bad actually. Dinner that night was at my aunt’s house; a longtime vegetarian, we knew we would be well fed by her. And we were, with mixed green salad, stuffed portobello mushrooms, braised kale, and fresh fruit with almond milk yogurt.

No comments:

Post a Comment