Plant based eating is becoming almost mainstream! Subway is offering vegan sandwiches in the South (Virginia and Maryland).
The news made me remember a trip to the Southern US thirty years ago. My most vivid memory of the trip is that I almost starved to death!
We were traveling and eating in restaurants. Every day, feeding myself was a challenge! The first hurdle was finding anything vaguely vegetarian on the menu. If I found something besides salad I still had to be very careful. Lots of added bacon (salad dressing, baked potatoes, even mac and cheese) and foods cooked in lard. Asking the server about the ingredients was a whole other problem. Mostly the people who served me and the people I ate with couldn’t get over the fact that I didn’t eat any meat.
The last time I went South, there was plenty to eat! The winner was a fabulous Lebanese feast in Louisiana! There the server did not look at me like I had two heads when I told them how happy the menu made me: Lebanese food is heaven for a vegetarian. The waitress lit up. In fact, and trust me that this is a sign of progress, she told me that she was vegetarian too – she only ate chicken and fish. Progress not perfection!
I was thoroughly amused (or bemused) when I saw a clip on ABC news about Subway Sandwich shops. They have started testing vegan sandwiches in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia.
The sandwiches are called Sweet Riblet, Malibu Greek and Italian Black Bean. And get this, they can be served on one of the five vegan breads: Roasted Garlic, Sourdough, Light Wheat English Muffin, Hearty Italian and Hearty Italian White.
I would love to read the exact ingredients on them; particularly the Sweet Riblet to see if they are additive free as well as vegan. I suspect not. But the idea is wonderful and says a lot about our culture. If the test works out in Virginia and Maryland it should work out anywhere!
Finally, I just have to say this: Have you ever eaten at Subway?
A couple of years ago I went in to the local Subway to get a “Veggie Delight”. The person in front of me ordered a Ham Sandwich. The sandwich maker carefully put on her plastic (or vinyl) gloves. Prepared the bread with oil and mustard, added the ham and then stuck those carefully gloved hands that had been handling the ham into the onion, lettuce, tomatoes etc. The net result – if I had a Veggie delight I would still be getting meat juices all over my veggies.NO THANKS! I walked out.
Am I neurotic? Maybe! But more than that, as a life long vegetarian I have NO enzymes to digest meats. Getting chicken stock in a soup, being served beans with lard in them, or eating foods with other meat byproducts makes me really sick. My digestive track goes into almost instant rebellion and I am either throwing up or really nauseated for the next 24 hours. And then there are at least three more days of abdominal pain and cramping. Not worth it!
I applaud Subway’s efforts I just wish they would figure out how to keep the food additives out and the veggies free of meat juice contamination. That would be a REAL improvement!