So yesterday we had a photo shoot in the morning, for a new ad campaign for the Southern. The models were the employees.
Everyone (myself included) filed out of the office at 11A.M. and had to hold up placards that pointed to where we lived. Mine said 'Carbondale'. But I was amazed to see that everyone had a different town on their placards, ranging from Benton, to Murphysboro, Marion, and Herrin. Seems like the Southern is the principal media-related employer in this region and people are willing to drive the distance across towns and rivers to get to work.
Had a working lunch at this restaurant called 'Thai Taste'. It’s the only Thai restaurant here and is pretty darn good on my exacting ‘yumminess’ scale. The best part of it all is the prices of course. For about five bucks, you get to choose an exotic sounding main dish which comes with a free iced tea, soup of the day and a spring roll! These are lunch prices (dinner is more expensive, as is the case everywhere), but unbeatable in terms of the sheer bang for the buck they give you.
So I had my favorite Thai dish called 'Chicken Cashews' - being vegetarian, I had to ask the waitress to replace Chicken with Tofu - which they readily did. Funny, huh? But I like this place because I can order most items from the menu and just get the meat replaced with Tofu.
When I first came to the States, I remember being so disappointed with the food scene. I was in Bloomington, IN and discovered that 99% of the menus in 95% of the restaurants in town were meat dishes.
I'd usually be left with one or if I was lucky two items that were vegetarian. These usually included a garden burger and a garden salad. Two things that I didn’t much care for.
This meant that I had to haunt the farmer's market and the grocery stores and learn some cooking in order to eat some decent vegetarian food.
Things have changed now and Bloomington has its own vegetarian restaurant today - 'Roots'. I remember walking into 'Mississippi Flyaway' in Carbondale for lunch one day and browsing through the impressive six page menu. I couldn't find a single vegetarian item.
Then there would be the weird questions, "Oh you're vegetarian, but that means you eat seafood right?"
"No, I don’t do sea food. That fish you're dangling near my face is still an animal you know!"
I remember being on an International flight once and having to deal with seafood in my “vegetarian meal”. I called the flight attendant.
“Excuse me, but I don’t think this is vegetarian,” I said.
“Oh that’s just Shrimp. Of course it’s vegetarian!” said the attendant.
It’s all psychological of course. In my head it’s a living, breathing animal that was slaughtered so that it could one day grace my plate. That’s something I cannot live with personally. I understand the arguments of all my meat eating friends, but hell, this is the way I am. I just can’t eat meat and that’s the way it is.