Are you a Veggie?

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Are you a Veggie?

If you are, then you must be getting a lot of, ‘What do you eat?’. Honestly, the curiosity is understandable because the country is predominantly a Meat country – it lives on bacon for breakfast, turkey for lunch and beef for dinner! On the face of it, United States looks pretty nutritionally chic and (protein) powered. But does it reflect positively on the nutrition or health quotient of the country? Hell No!

But here’s some good news. You aren’t the only soul hunting for a decent Vegetarian restaurant or Vegetarian food packets in the supermarkets. There are around 7.3* million people (3.2% percent of US adults) like you, who practice Vegetarian way of life, and a growing number contemplating change since it is fashionable going Vegan!

The figures are slightly different back home. India is home to more vegetarians than any other country, anywhere, and out of 1.2 billion people, almost 30%* of the population practices lacto-vegetarianism. So, if you are somebody coming from a country, like India, things can be little intimidating at first because on home ground you hardly feel the burden of being a Shakahari(Vegetarian). Infact meat aficionados, sometimes have tough time finding Non-Veg dining in Southern and Western India!

Once you are here in the States, things are poles apart and you will notice instantly. Firstly, you do not have the green (for Vegetarian) and red (Non-Vegetarian) markings on the packets that we are so used to. So, if you are a Vegetarian or fashionably Pescetarian” (eats only fish but no meat) or Ovo-vegetarians (also called eggetarians, who eats eggs but no meat and fish) out in the supermarket doing your weekly grocery, you can have a hard time. Every time you pick up a packet, you tend to think and think. Does the ice cream have Gelatin? Does this toothpaste have bone dust? Is the milk pure? Does this cookie have animal fat? Does the canned food have bacon?. Once you’re done guessing and assuming and confirming with people over phone, you head towards the Vegetable section thinking it will not disappoint you as much. But it does, because what you see is just a handful of greens that you know of and few others that you’ve never seen before! Suddenly, the Sabji Mandi in your Nukkad (vegetable market in your locality) flashes before your eyes, and you wish those vendors shouting ‘alu’ (potato), ‘kobi’ (cauliflower), ‘matar’ (peas), ‘lauki’ (gourd) were here instead.

Things can get pretty nasty while traveling since the highways are dominated by Mc Donald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. Oh No! But here’s a breather, look around closely because you may find a Subway, and if you spot one, well, you’ve found God. Oh Yes! These guys can make for you a Pure Veggie sandwich, of course you will have to guide them thorough your choice of greens. In a country dominated by steaks and cheese burgers (Cheese burger? Think again. It is that nasty beef in there!), the Vegetarian sampler is limited to few items like Salad, Veg pasta, Veggie wrap, Tofu, Corn, Mashed potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, and Pizza, but again you think twice, here too, because you keep hearing those rumors about how restaurants use animal fat and stuff. Of course, you do have options of going to Desigrocery stores and restaurants but those guys aren’t tucked in every corner of the country.

So, you see, the culinary experience can be quite different for a Vegetarian in the United States. But, but, doesn’t that give you one more reason to remember India or to go back to your hometown? I’m sure it does! Till you plan your next holiday to India, here’s a little something to tickle your taste buds…Vegetable pulao, Veg Manchurian, Paneer tikka, Masala dosa, Malai kofta, Samosa, Biryani, Dhokla, Baigan Alu, Shahi Paneer, Veg Chowmein,and, well, the Jalebi, Ladoo, Kheer…

Mu mai paani agaya? (Is your mouth watering already?)


Note: The underlined views are of a writer who’s a meat lover. So the writing is based purely on her creative thoughts and maybe, her assumptions.

By |April 2nd, 2012|FOOD & DRINK, NRI|0 Comments

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