Baloney, styrofoam good middle ground

By Baxter Black: PNT columnist

We were having friends over for a barbecue last August. As we planned the menu, my wife said, “Oh, Mike’s daughter is a vegetarian! We’ll need to make her a separate meal.”

“Just make her a turkey sandwich,” I suggested.

“No, I’m serious, she said. “We’ve got to make her something special.”

I wonder if a family of vegans would worry that much about a future carnivorous daughter-in-law’s first supper with the new family?

“Hi, Mom. This is Priscilla. She eats meat. But don’t go to any extra trouble. Maybe some country-style spareribs or beef tongue. Oh, and she’s sensitive to bean sprouts and tofu. Make sure it doesn’t touch her plate.”

When I was a lad growing up on the border, our school lunch program always had cheese enchiladas on Friday. Even the Baptists were forced to eat a meatless meal. I always thought the least they could do was let us gentiles scatter a little shredded beef or goat meat on the enchilada, but alas, it was not to be.

Then one day the Catholic church put a McDonald’s franchise in the Vatican and rescinded Meatless Friday.

Lately restaurants have been flaunting their meat: chicken nuggets, the flatiron steak, barbecue sauce, Atlantic salmon and sushi.

It wouldn’t surprise me if restaurants started asking vegans to sit in a segregated area, maybe with the smokers, in a glassed-in space where the cooking odors of broccoli, ramps and boiled cabbage could be trapped away from the meat eaters.

Nationally, carnivores might proclaim a “no vegetables week.”

Then again, it could backfire on the purveyors of pork, poultry, beef, lamb and fish. The vegans would retaliate with “carrot month,” “beans for a day” or “zucchini — it’s what’s for dinner.”

The vegans would sue for discrimination, have themselves declared an official minority, file a class-action suit against meat-only restaurants. They could base it on the premise that vegans are either nutritionally disabled or an endangered species.

It could become a hate crime to call someone a vegaholic, lettuce head or beet freak. The politically correct term would be Vegan-American, or RHD, Rumen-Deprived-Herbivore.

But as Rodney King said, “Why can’t we just get along,” and meet somewhere in the middle like baloney on whole wheat toast.

Well, all this talk about food is makin’ me hungry. I think I’ll fix me a nutritious meal that consists of all the food groups — animal, vegetable and mineral … a bratwurst on white bread with Miracle Whip. And, maybe a Styrofoam cup for fiber.

Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: headcowboy@baxterblack.com