In the 1980s my best friend was vegetarian. I remember how hard it was for her to find something to eat when we went out. One time we went to a Mexican restaurant with her and her mother, and I remember her crying at the table because her mother didn’t want to pay $1 extra for the only thing on the menu that was vegetarian. I really had hoped things had improved by now, thirty years later, but I have to say now that I’m doing a year of vegetarianism, I’m finding it quite a challenge, particularly when going out to eat.
I’ve learned that just because a restaurant has a vegetarian menu and a gluten-free menu, it does not mean that it will be easy to find something that is both vegetarian and gluten-free. When I was just gluten-free I never noticed how many gluten-free menus were 95% meat and seafood. And now that I’m trying to be vegetarian, I’m finding it disappointing that so many veggie burgers, hot dogs and “meat substitutes” are wheat based. In the past I knew I would have to deliberately avoid the vegetarian option at weddings, charity auctions and other places with limited menus, because the vegetarian option is unfailingly some sort of pasta. And to be honest, even when a place has gluten-free pasta, it’s generally undercooked and not very good. Yeah I know, First World Problems.