A recent conversation with a friend made me realize there maybe a disconnect between how to “deal” with a vegetarian when dining out and how such treatment makes them feel. First off, my BIGGEST PET PEEVE of non-vegetarians is when they point out what dishes don’t include meat on a menu. I know they are just trying to be “nice” because they are “worried” I’ll have nothing to eat, but it is embarrassingly patronizing. It’s tantamount to saying “You’re on period… hey look you can have chocolate cake as an entree.” A vegetarian can scan a menu better than anyone (except vegans because they have mad skills), and I find that I am more knowledge about foods that are customarily meaty or unusual terms for animal protein then most omnivores.
My next pet peeve is when a dish at a restaurant is actually called “Vegetarian Pasta” or a sandwich at a deli is called a “Meatless Panini”, this implies the food is somehow a lesser creation or is missing an otherwise important element. It’s more appetizing and inclusive to give these foods names that appeal to everyone and actually describe what the fare is, like “Pappardelle with Lemon, Baby Artichokes, Asparagus, and Parmesan” or “Caprese” – doesn’t that sound better!