What the heck does that mean?

All about working as a waiter, pursuing my dream, eating vegetarian, and loving where I live!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hypocrisy: Vegetarian Selling Veal

It's bothered me many times at work. Peddling meat. But that's my job, even if I don't believe in eating meat as a personal choice, I'm still going to sell it to others. When I was looking for a serving job, I tried to find one at a vegan or vegetarian friendly restaurant...but most of those places are so small, that there's hardly ever any openings, and even if there is, I probably couldn't make much money at those places or have a flexible schedule. I tried one of the bigger veggie places, a chain called Real Food Daily... but they weren't hiring or at least they weren't hiring me. So.... I sell meat.

I figure that working at an Italian restaurant is at least better than working at a steak house, which I could certainly never do. I've never tasted 85% of our dishes, but I know the ingredients and their flavor profiles and I ask my co-workers what they think of every dish. So even though I don't eat meat, I know what to recommend. And I certainly recommend vegetarian dishes whenever it makes sense.

But I still feel guilty about it.

And I never feel more guilty than when I sell veal (which, by the way, I never suggest). Even one of our chefs isn't comfortable with veal and says that he tries to avoid eating it whenever he can. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who don't even know what veal is...usually they're under the age of 30.

INNOCENT GUEST: Excuse me, um... but what is veal?

Now I'm wondering if I'll get in trouble or offend them if I tell them what it really is... Baby cow that's been trapped in a cage and not allowed to move. Apparently ours is fed "real" food and not a 100% milk diet which is supposed to be better for the calf?
ME: It's a type of beef?
INNOCENT GUEST: So, it's like, a different cut?
ME: Ummmm... no. It's a calf.
ME: A very, very young cow. 
INNOCENT GUEST: Oh. Does it taste better?
ME: (cringing) Um... I don't really eat it. Um... It's a very thin cut, so it's supposedly more tender. 

The other day, a girl ordered her boyfriend the Veal Chop for his birthday. It's an 18 oz, giant slab of baby cow with the bone still in. I can't think of anything more upsetting or disgusting. They were very excited about it because he had never had veal before and apparently it "melted in your mouth." Again, I had to feign enthusiasm so as not to be rude. Most servers would be thrilled that someone orders the Veal Chop because it's the most expensive dish on the menu.

The other day, an older gentleman and I had the following exchange.

OLD GUY: Ooooo... I'll have the picatta.
ME: Chicken picatta?
OLD GUY: No, veal picatta. Baby cow! Moooooo! Yum.

I did not crack a smile. He assumed I would find this amusing. He was NOT amused that I ignored his remark and moved on to his friend's order. What else could I do? It's my job.

So that's it. My confession. I'm a big vegetarian hypocrite who would someday like to make money by NOT selling meat.


1 comment:

  1. You are not a hypocrit. Meat is a current demand, and if you don't do that job someone else is going to do so. Just by being a vegetarian yourself you are setting the example, and saving around 200 animal lifes per year.