image by Sarah Illenberger
Having gone to a slightly less meat-infused lifestyle, I find it more difficult than it used to be to order in restaurants. I never realized how pervasive meat was until I tried to find a dish without any in it.
Not that any one restaurant seems to be worse than any other, here’s the lunch and dinner menu from Cracker Barrel. Even just looking at the photos, everything has meat in it, even the salads (and, yes, the baked beans are made the old-fashioned way, with ham). Only the desserts come without meat!
And here’s the menu from IHOP, one of my other favorites. They’re a little better because of the preponderance of (generally meat-free) pancakes, but still — sausage, ham, bacon, eggs, steak, and the “Bacon-N-Beef Burger”, burger with bacon mixed in.
Also, when you order an entree without meat from most of my favorite restaurants, the waitress will ask you, as though you may have forgotten, “Did you want any meat with that?” I know it’s a required upsell — meat is profitable for them — but sometimes it just sounds macabre!
Other times, the menus remind me strongly of the “Spam” Sketch from Monty Python. “Meat, meat, meat, meat with beans, meat with rice, meat with potatoes, roasted meat, baked meat, boiled meat, sliced meat, curried meat, raw meat, burnt meat, meat salad, meat pie, meat omelet, meat stir fry, meat sandwich, meat fried rice, meat with more meat, meat with eggs, meat with bread, meat with sauce, meat with pasta…or Lobster Thermidor á Crevétte with a mornay sauce served in a Provençale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle paté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and meat.”