Friday April 26, 2012
I haven’t yet mastered the art of cooking at home, but I have finally developed an understanding of how to cook for myself to avoid starvation. It’s not pretty, but it’s legal. Having conquered my apartment kitchen, I thought I might try my hand at venturing outside to eat. Choosing the right place would be the most important part of this adventure. Toronto restaurants are pretty familiar with vegetarian or vegan diets and can usually accommodate that vegan in your group, but what kind of reaction could I expect with a request of yeast and carb free? I imagine it would be like trying to order vegetarian in the 60’s or My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Vegetarian? ….. It’s ok, we have lamb). Fresh at Bloor and Spadina, was a popular vegan restaurant that surely would be able to accommodate my unique diet. Full of confidence we set out that windy night to see what food tasted like when it didn’t come from my wok.
The menu quickly dimmed my spirits. This was going to be tougher than I thought. Most of their staples and standards were off limits. Sandwiches were verbotten because of the bread. Salads, for the most part were made with a vinaigrette or cream dressing. Pasta and rice were not allowed, so that got rid of that part of the menu. Their popular smoothies were all not allowed either for obvious reasons. I gave up and asked the waiter for help, or rather HEEEELLLLLPPPPP! With his advice, I ordered a Powerhouse Big Bowl with avocado, chick peas & grilled tofu steaks with sunflower sprouts, Toasted Nut & Seed Mix, tomato, red onion & spicy tahini sauce. I was horrified to find myself asking him if the salad dressing contained any sugar or vinegar. I really couldn’t believe what I was saying, or more importantly what I was becoming.
I have always taken a personal self satisfaction in quietly mocking the hipster foodie. Those people that believe being conscious of what you eat is worthless unless you can ask, in your loudest voice, “is the coffee fair trade?”, “is the spinach organic?”, or “was the chicken raised free range?”. All those hipsterisms seemed to pale in comparison to “is there sugar or vinegar in the salad dressing?”. Does this make it official? Will I have to buy big black rim glasses? Are my t-shirts ironic enough for this new diet I am embarking upon? Will I have to now insist on eating chicken that was fit and free enough to cross the road? (BTW, the answer to “Why did the chicken cross the road?” is “because it was raised free range in a caring and humane environment that emphasized empowerment and following your dreams”). My diet was soon to become far more hipper than any other part of me has ever been. Any pansy can be vegetarian, lacto ovo vegetarian, or even vegan, but it takes guts to do the candida diet. Salad dressing is suddenly poison. Popcorn could cause a relapse. If you want to make a vegan cry, tell them they can’t have hummus because of the dangers of lemon juice.
In spite of all the care and caution with which I ordered, the dinner turned out to be lethal. My troglodyte vocabulary proved ineffective in understanding that tahini sauce was made from soy sauce which is filled with yeast and thus verbotten.
Back to my kitchen I go.