“Vegging” Out

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - September 22, 2010
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You know, office potluck luncheons aren’t what they used to be. I can remember the days when I could look forward to those in order to eat the kind of foods that would otherwise never get past my lips at lunch. And, for the most part, that food was entirely homemade. Not that the food at today’s potlucks isn’t good, just different.

Last week our office decided to have a small potluck. That’s like organizing an election as people are particular about what they eat. A percentage of us will eat anything. That’s where easy ends.

The rest of the crew has specific food allergies, are lacto-ovo-vegetarians, are vegan, or flexitarian. You have to go to Wikipedia to figure those out, but I’ll save you time and tell you buying something everyone can eat is a pain in the asparagus.

The day of the potluck, I went to the organizer and asked what I should bring. She looked at her list and with a devilish smile said, “Why don’t you get something for the ‘others?’” That being the people I just listed above. I figured they have to eat, too, so I went on a quest.

Luckily, months ago I had spent a lot of time at Castle Medical Center, which practices the values of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In part, that means its cafeteria does not serve meat. I arrived at its cafeteria and hit the vegetarian jackpot.

I loaded up on brown rice, vegetables cooked in coconut milk, sautéed spinach and Spanish rice. I headed to the register with a stack of carryout containers. Just then I ran into the ICU nurse who took care of my wife’s mother. He looked at my bounty and remarked, “Ron, the vegetarian thing? It doesn’t work with that kind of volume.”

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