I am still being amazed constantly by people who want to be vegetarians, but still eat animals. At first, it was a pet peeve for me. Now, my deepest fears are recognized as this grave misinterpretation of dietary definition has reached epidemic proportions... this could far surpass diabetes and obesity as a serious national concern. Victims of this confusion come in to eat everyday. How do we recognize them? Is there a red flag for this affliction? Maybe we can train waitstaff to search deep into guests' eyes for a hint of deep soul-wrenching conflict... as someone who suffers from a bipolar disorder or lives under a veil of culinary ignorance. This goes way beyond a person's knowledge of cuisines and foodstuffs. We expect the general public to not be food experts. This is different. It is simply an issue of common sense.
A couple of nights ago, a couple came in and ordered two of our seabass entrees, which utilize a rich veal demi glace as a plate component (and this is also listed on the menu). We have always loved to pair demi glace with lighter fish as the combination works extremely well... we have been doing this since the early to mid-nineties. The couple was appalled to find that there was a 'meat' sauce on the plate, and returned them to the kitchen to be re-plated. They were upset that no one told them that their dish had a 'meat product' on it. Let me tell you, the word that these people were 'vegetarians' never made it to the kitchen. In fact, it's a hard thing to assume when someone orders an item that consists of 7 ounces of a dead animal sitting center-plate. Please, Mr. and Mrs. Ignoramus... can you forgive us for not being psychic and mentally challenged at the same time?
Now, I know that some true vegetarians out there think that many chefs have issues with you. Absolutely not! Although some rock-head chefs in the world may not appreciate your choice of diet, most of us do. We respect all diets and allergies and will work with you. Our real quarrel (or at least mine, lest many others take up arms and join me) is against the confused masses out there who are diluting your beliefs and giving you a bad name. I have recently read a name for these people... they are called flexitarians. This word basically means that they are flexible and will eat anything that they want at that moment. This could possibly be like being raised Catholic but not practicing... or like being Jewish, but occasionally wandering into a Hindu monastery? I don't know. It exists for no other reason than to be a real (and already existing) label thrust onto a group which really has no definitional boundaries for itself. Please people, listen carefully... you are not vegetarian. Vegetarians eat only plant products and also animal products from which animals were not killed (i. e. dairy and eggs). Some vegetarians do not eat these either, and they are called vegans (and they are much stricter, sometimes even abandoning honey as it is also an animal product). There is already a word for people who eat plants and fish and sometimes chicken... you are called 'people who eat'... that's it... you are simply a person who puts food into his mouth to sustain your confused life.
This is my plea... Vegetarians, rise up and take issue with these people. You are not gaining allies in these confused masses. You are watering down your core principles. You are being infiltrated by non-believers. You are compomising everything you've worked for. These people are your mortal enemies. Vegans! Take up arms with your vegetarian brothers and sisters! You may be next! Vegan may become the next 'cool' thing that people want to be called.
This is your fight. These are the people that we can all bond against. It is quite possible, if fact, that they are the growing mass that has made it possible for foie gras to be banned in some cities and states in the US. They are the enemy of both extremes. Turn an eye away from them if you believe that you are gaining numbers and strength from them. Sure they have given you some success with such things, as in the foie gras ban, but listen up... that victory will come at a price... it shall not be long until these 'flexitarians' turn on you and you will truly be sorry. At what cost will these mercenaries be satisfied?