The following post is written by vegan lent participant, Jon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The man has some wit.
It’s been a painfully interesting few weeks since my last vegan post. Here’s the abridged version: I biked out to meet friends for a St. Patrick’s day bump when a shoelace tightened around a pedal and pulled a foot through some front spokes. I have a shoelace, a pedal, a foot and some spokes. And since I don’t particularly remember otherwise, I can only assume my set of items is the same set of items that hurled me shoulder-first into dry pavement. Now there’s a 7-inch gash from my throat over my left shoulder through which a metal plate was inserted to bolt my clavicle back together. The pre-op x-ray shows four splintered bits of bone floating among muscle and lung. The wreckage can easily be imagined into a soup stock for cannibals, which I couldn’t possibly enjoy because this is the vegan challenge and food derived from animals is unfortunately off limits.
I’m healing quickly and my convalescence as afforded the opportunity to relax, a rare vacation form myself. My buddy Tilley lent me Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential.” I’m only 100 pages in, but am thoroughly entertained. It’s not the quality of the prose or the uniqueness of voice that get me hot because the prose is nonexistent and the voice is average. The book is great because there’s a bipolar flow to the narration that leaves me hating it but needing more. As a reader, I equally admire Bourdain’s appreciation of individual contribution to culinary culture, want to ingest diverse intoxicants with the guy, and give him a fist sandwich. But again, I digress.
In the last few vegan lent posts fellow challenge-takers Willa and Meghan discussed —among other things — what they eat and what they miss eating, and I’ll agree with them on all points. It takes a degree of preparation and foresight to be good at most things, veganese is no different. It also helps to be prepared when people ask, “What do you eat?” Before vegan lent nobody asked, which is sort of a shame. Maybe they’d be more shocked by my former answer: a routine weekly grocery shopping list contained four frozen cheese pizzas, a red onion and two bags of barbecue potato chips. I have no clue how the onion was used. I do know that the pizza and chips were washed down with too much beer. And while my waistline hasn’t increased in 17 years since high school given a fortunate genetic predisposition and an active lifestyle, the fat in my diet was hiding somewhere on my frame. At weigh-in before the surgery, I was surprised to see I had lost 15 pounds through the winter. While I’m not intensely sure vegan lent was the only reason for the loss, eating clean-burning food certainly helped. And now with 500 grams of titanium in my left shoulder weighing me down, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
As I might have mentioned Harrisburg isn’t known for diversity in cuisine. And unlike everyone else who contributes to this blog, that’s perfectly fine by me. Different is good, but as long as brew pubs exist and I have pulse, they unarguably provide the meaning to life. Unique food is a far second to quality beer on my list of personal musts. So imagine my happy surprise last week when a different friend (Scott) with a different injury (torn tricep) from a different sporting accident (snowboarding) invited me lunch and the local brew pub (Appalachian Brewing Company), which had vegan pub food. We swaggered through the door in arm braces, slings, stitches, bandages and scabs — very much looking worse for wear. The waiter asked which us of won the fight, and I think I did because the ABC vegan menu fares better than the standard pub-grub. That afternoon I had a sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper hummus wrap. Even though it wasn’t a regular menu item, I don’t think the waiter had many requests because he pronounced hummus, “hue-mas.” Again this is a Central PA brew pub and I’m not that into food. So in my colorful imagination I said, “yes, that’s what I’ll have, thank you. The hume-ASS.” Then Scott and I snort and giggle like pre-pubes on acid. Except we’re not. Two beat up white, middle aged guys in the middle of a Wednesday enjoying each other’s company at a place that serves more beer than food … as life is.
So the wrap was all right but my happy surprise in finding a vegan brew pub was quickly unrequited last night when Henriët and I returned to the ABC for a second course. I had hoped there would be more of a selection, but was sadly confronted with only a pale black-bean, quinoa and curry patty surrounded by lettuce and rolled into a sloppily thawed tortilla. The redeeming part of the meal was more an after thought. I ordered onion rings and halfway through the eleventh of a dozen I realized the batter likely contained egg. In that moment it all became clear. The choices we make invariably deny us the alternative and that’s frequently for the best. Otherwise one might add hume-ASS to their clavicle stew and no one would mind.
Looking to catch up on other vegan lent updates?