Living in Austin makes me think vegetarianism is normal. You can hardly find a restaurant that doesn’t have some type of vegetarian menu items, and many cater to the veggie-only crowd. So when I venture from home, to say, see my parents in a smallish town in Texas, I’m always amazed.
On a recent trip home, I stopped in at a large bakery that has a few locations off the highways of Texas. On the breakfast menu, it had:
- biscuit $1
- biscuit with egg and sausage $1.95
- biscuit with egg and bacon $1.85
- biscuit with egg $1.50
- add cheese .50
When the young lady at the cash register asked if she could help me, I asked for a large coffee and a biscuit with egg and cheese.
“Just egg and cheese?” she asked. “No bacon or sausage?”
“No bacon or sausage, just egg and cheese biscuit,” I repeated my order back to her.
“Well, I’m not sure we have that,” she said peering into the case.
When she finally found the one egg biscuit in the bunch, she said, “Oh, I didn’t think we had that. I’ve never had anyone order that before.”
I failed to point out that it was on the menu, since I was tired and ready to get back on the road.
As she grabbed some cheese and microwaved the biscuit and egg, I heard her say to another employee, “I don’t know how to ring this up. Do I just ring it up like the others? Is it the same price?”
Meanwhile, a poor soul who just wanted a refill on his coffee continued to wait for her to come back.
I patiently waited, knowing that by pointing out the price on the menu would likely not hurry things along.
Another employee explained how to ring the meal up and when the cashier came back she reminded me again, “Sorry, but no one had ever ordered it without bacon or sausage before.”
As she told me the total (I’m pretty sure she still charged me for meat), I realized she had been so focused on the fact that she couldn’t believe someone would eat an egg and cheese biscuit without meat that she forgot about the coffee.
After a few more minutes, I awkwardly took my microwaved egg and cheese biscuit and coffee out to the car to eat, scared that she would gawk at me as I ate this “non-meat” (I mean, egg is a meat, right?) meal if I ate inside. When things like this happen, I just have to laugh.
Now, I’m aware that it seems I’m harshly judging most of my state over one incident, but believe me, this happens pretty much any time I leave the Lone Star state’s capitol.
On another trip, I stopped at the same bakery, but in another part of the state (about three hours southwest of the other location). It was lunchtime and there was a bit of a line. I looked at my options. Just tuna fish and a veggie sandwich.
“Yes! They have a veggie sandwich,” I thought. I love tuna, but it’s a frequent option, so it gets a little old.
When it came my turn, I put in my order.
The young woman asked, “A veggie sandwich?”
“Yes, please,” I responded.
“Ok, well, All we’ve got is lettuce, pickles, onions, tomatoes, onions, olives and jalepeños,” she listed the ingredients out for me.
The “all we’ve got” did not really get me excited.
“Oh. Um. In that case, I’ll take the tuna sandwich.”
Keep in mind that the veggie sandwich cost just as much as the meat sandwiches that came with a meat, cheese AND all the toppings she just listed out to me. No hummus, no cream cheese, no sauteed veggies were available. And yet, the sandwich was about $10.
When I first became pescetarian, I’d go home to visit my parents and say I was vegetarian, because growing up in this semi-small city, I knew it was unlikely people understood vegetarianism, much less pescetarianism.
Sure enough I’d tell people I didn’t eat meat and they’d respond, “That’s OK. We have chicken.”
Interested in learning more about pescetarianism? Here’s a Huffington Post article I recommend: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chloe-spencer/pescetarianism_b_956965.html