What’s the weirdest place to be a vegan in? (Sorry about the grammar.)
For me it was Clarksdale, Mississippi, where fried chicken, baked ham and barbecued crawdads rule. (We were there for a (great!) blues festival and rightfully worried about getting something to eat that weekend.)
We brought oatmeal, peanut butter, bread, raisins and some apples so we could fix breakfast and lunch at the place we were staying. But dinner? I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of French fries and Coke, or as they say in the deep South, “Coke-cola.”
And then we found the Stone Pony. Yep, the most California-ized, restaurant probably in the entire state. I asked for a pizza with sauce, mushrooms, olives and spinach and NO CHEESE.
“You cain’t do that!” said the pretty blond waitress.
“I cain’t?” I said.
“No, you cain’t,” she said.
“But I can! I can! I know it will work,” I said.
She finally agreed to go ask the chef and when she came back it was the same: “He says, ‘You cain’t – ‘cuz it’ll burn up without the cheese.’”
“No, no, no. Trust me, it’ll work. It won’t burn up,” I said.
She walked back to the kitchen, walking the slowest I’d ever seen a waitress walk. Of course, it did work and we went from pizza to later enjoy fried green tomato sandwiches (without the cheese), fried potatoes, grits, greens and, well, peanut butter sandwiches.
Recently, I read a blog post about a woman, Rebecca Barfoot, who went to a really weird place for vegans – Greenland, where folks chow down a lot of whale meat, seal meat and some fish. Before Barfoot, a 20 year vegan, left Europe, she said, even though she wasn’t at all interested in consuming meat, she was determined to be flexible and if fish was the only thing available, well so be it.
Since the Air Greenland wouldn’t let passengers take more than one bag weighing no more than 44 pounds, a case of canned vegetables was out. She managed to pack some 15 pounds of food – almonds, flax seeds, quinoa, mung beans, which she figured she’d sprout and some dried greens. It wasn’t enough food for her to survive her 40-day art residency there.
Most of Greenland is ice and plants don’t grow tremendously well there. Everything is super expensive there since most food, with the exception of seal and whale meat is imported by boat from Denmark.
Barfoot described her typical grocery run as “rations.” She wrote she’d usually get a can of garbanzos or navy beans, a small loaf of heavy rye bread. Sometimes she’d been able to get maybe a banana or some cabbage if a delivery boat had come in. And if she was really lucky, she would get maybe some jam, sweet pickles or pickled beets.
So how was she doing? As of writing her blog post, she hadn’t had any meat and was “surviving,” noting that she was losing weight, however.
Now, that’s a commitment.
I didn’t lose any weight in Clarksdale – must have been those fried green tomato, (hold the mayo and the cheese) sandwiches.
Note to Clarksdale: I really don’t think your town is “Nowheresville.” Y’all voted for Obama, the only county in Mississippi that did, and put on the most fantastic blues festivals every year, which are also free. Best wishes.
– A Vicious Vegan blog post –