Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"I'm a level 5 vegan..."

"I'm a Level 5 vegan.
I don't eat anything that casts a shadow."

Last weekend we went to the drive-in, in Stephens City, about 45 miles west and a little bit north of here. It was fun--not as cool as the fabulous nature-y drive-in we used to go to, in Twinfield, MA. This one was a little bit more wrong-side-of-the-tracks-y, with gravel instead of grass, two (smaller) screens, and an extremely, uh, varied audience. Okay, not really varied. Mostly NASCAR fans, I think.

As a professional drive-in attendee, I bring a thoroughly kick-ass selection of food, with all of the major groups represented--Entree, candy, salt, and coffee. After all, one of the best things about the drive-in is that you can eat whatever the hell you want, unlike the regular movie theatre, where it's sometimes necessary to conceal your McFlurry in your bag, and then sometimes it tips over in there and your cell phone is covered with ice cream and your bag smells like sour milk for the rest of its days. I went to Whole Foods in the morning and bought some awesome stuff, including a tofu and noodle salad, and, as it happens, sesame tofu steaks. All of it was totally delicious, a cut above the snackbar chow, for sure. While we were eating, I asked Darren if he thought anyone else at the drive-in was tucking into a big chunk of tofu. "Highly unlikely" he deemed it. We did get a few odd glances from our fellow attendees, but I don't know if that was what we were eating, or that we didn't fit into the predominant demographic.

One of the interns at our office (who is 22 and appears to be in good shape, but has a cholesterol count of OVER 300!) was saying how he loves milk and drinks it all the time, and I told him that I think it's weird for people to drink cow milk, since we're pretty much the only mammal whose practice it is to drink the mother's milk of a different species. Cow milk is for baby cows. We started talking about me being a vegetarian, particularly in light of his hereditary cholesterol problems, and though he was pleasantly open to the idea, you could still tell it was a foreign concept.

If I had a $1 for every person who's asked me "What do you eat?" over the past 18 years, I'd have a few dollars. Because I'm an obsessively meticulous grocery shopper, I organize my grocery list by meal and by aisle, so now I take out my list and read off the weekly meals when I get asked that question. Most people seem to think what we eat sounds fairly appetizing, and one day I'm going to whip up a big tofu dish for everyone at work to try, just to show them that it's not actually disgusting. I don't think I'll necessarily have a whole bunch of converts on my hands, but it's a good way to get people to think about eating less meat and, you know, hugging trees, and singing kum-bah-yah and all that junk.

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