Something for Everyone
Recently, Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz put forth a proposal that would legally require restaurants and food vendors to offer at least one vegan option on their menus. He wants to make this a law, mind you. It wouldn’t be all restaurants and food vendors—not at first, anyway—only those at places like airports, zoos, movie theatres, sports arenas, theme parks, public parks, and entertainment venues—places where, according to Mr. Koretz, people are “trapped.”
“We tried to include all the venues where people who eat vegan don’t have an option . . . where people are a captive audience—entertainment arenas where people are trapped,” says he. “You can find a vegan restaurant pretty easily in Los Angeles. But if you’re in the airport, you have to be in the right terminal. Otherwise you’re just out of luck.”
Well, my goodness. It’s about time, isn’t it? How many times have I watched my poor vegan friends head into a movie theatre . . . for dinner . . . expecting to order a hearty meal of marinated tofu, braised cauliflower, kale burgers with cashew cheese, and soy milk pudding, only to find themselves limited to popcorn and soda, while their non-vegan friends feast on sumptuous meals of Tostitos topped with Velveeta? It’s downright abusive.
Such veganphobic menus are even worse at theme parks, where one can scarcely find anything in the way of organic vegetables or raw seeds. And the worst of it is that whereas a movie lasts only a few hours, one can be marooned at a theme park all day, riding rides, seeing shows, interacting with costumed characters, and starving to death.
Imagine the great relief that washed over your Curmudgeon like a cleansing rain of non-GMO kombucha when I learned that now, finally, a vegan sports fan might be able to purchase sprouted brown rice cakes, locally sourced tahini, and a frosty cold parsley juice to enjoy as he cheers on his favorite team. After all, isn’t it every American’s constitutional right to demand that their personal life choices be accommodated everywhere they may choose to go?
And yet, believe it or not, there remains a lingering problem. The way I see it, Koretz’s bill simply doesn’t go nearly far enough.
What about our orthodox Jewish friends? Are we not blatantly discriminating against them by not offering kosher food at the airport, the zoo, and the aquarium? What of our Muslim friends, who eschew pork and alcohol? I assume there will be a halal option at each theatre and concert venue. And what about the lactose intolerant? The gluten-free? Those who don’t like cilantro? Don’t they have the same rights as the rest of us? And lest we forget, what about those on the paleolithic diet, the ketogenic diet, the Whole 30, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or even those old-school types who are on Atkins? Aren’t they trapped too, unable to escape the movie theatre? What are they supposed to do, eat at home? Carry food with them? Careful, vegans; your privilege is showing. Why should you be the only ones whose dietary needs are honored?
And what of those who are fasting? How are they supposed to feel going into restaurants where people are eating? Surely, these places should be required by law to make them feel welcome and comfortable by ceasing service upon their arrival. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Then, of course, we have to make sure we’re not discriminating against meat eaters by “meat-shaming” them. Put yourself in their shoes. Can you imagine the hardship of finding themselves held captive at a vegan restaurant? We can’t have that. Those places will have to start serving at least one meat dish. It’s only fair.
Koretz disagrees. “I’ve had people call and ask me, ‘Shouldn’t we have meat on every vegan restaurant menu?’” says he, “That’s pretty funny, but it’s just ridiculous.” Oh, is it councilman? Is it indeed? Not to the poor, oppressed carnivores, stranded at any number of plant-based eateries with nary a brisket or pork loin anywhere in sight.
And here’s another thing: Why does the councilman stop at the airport? That seems rather shortsighted, when airplanes are right there. And once they take off, we’re all trapped, aren’t we? To avoid discrimination, each flight
should be required to offer all dietary options. And if they have to remove seats to do it, well, that’s the price we pay for equality.
Once we get all these legal requirements in place, we’ll all be able to eat anywhere. We can go into a seafood restaurant and order a green bean casserole. We can pull up to a sushi bar and demand fettuccini puttanesca. We can march into a Denny’s and insist that they whip up some Hungarian goulash. Because this is America. And we have the right to get what we want when we want it and where we want it.
I mean, it’s not as if there are more important issues to address.