A dreadlocked woman sitting a few tables away was having an intense discussion with the waitress about what vegan options the menu offered. To her credit, the waitress was being really nice and accomodating and pointing out all the possibilities on the menu and recommending substitutions and so forth.

I thought they were finished. I tuned back in to their conversation a few moments later and they were discussing which items on the beverage menu were caffeine-free.

Now, I used to be a vegan myself, so I can sort of sympathize with the woman, but particularly after my first trip to Russia in 2002 I began to see the absurdity in being a food purist. Even non-vegan Americans tend to be pretty picky eaters. They’re always asking for substitutions, dressing on the side, blah, blah blah. Most of the world is glad to have something to eat at all, they don’t have the luxury of being picky about meat, cheese, carbs, fat, and caffeine.

I’m all for healthy eating and people having the right to choose their own food philosophy, but a non-orthodox ingredient every now and then isn’t going to condemn you to vegetarian hell. I mean, you want to choose every ingredient that’s in your food? Cook at home, don’t go to a restaurant!

My god, am I becoming a Republican or something? Someone come smear me with tofu mayonnnaise! I think I’ve been reading too much Maddox and it’s making me even more cynical than usual.