Of lunches and luncheons…

We had (one more) team lunch today.

A double treat – one of our staff bought a car and the second – well I am still not clear why she gave a treat but I ain’t complaining – the food was delicious – or should I say delish – as the lingo goes nowadays.

The food was from Chowringhees – a repeat from last time but a bit more lavish and tasty.

We have a growing tribe of vegetarians in the office and so it sometimes becomes a bit tricky on ensuring that the order has just the right bits for everyone. They aced it this time, no complaints. But it’s easier to order from Indian joints should you require vegetarian options.

Actually, it’s not enough being vegetarian. No sir. In some parts of the world, you have to specify – no meat, no fish. No chicken even. Yes, vegetables. Yes mushroom. No no, I can eat diary – I am not vegan. Confusing.

Restaurant menus do have a customary ‘veggie’ option that is mostly there to demonstrate inclusiveness rather than offer a good choice. Not Indian restaurants -they have a plethora of options to choose from. I’m speaking of paneer tikka pizzas (whoever thought of that, yuck) and KFC rice and veggies (??). Plant-based burgers cost much more and well, taste like the erstwhile cutlets that we used to eat back in the day.

Whoever told everybody that paneer this and paneer that are a must, because we poor people cannot ‘enjoy’ meat!

And so ordering out can be a bit daunting. With this climate change and all the emphasis on increasing plant based diets and the year of the millet, I do hope this changes soon.

For now, what I wrote a couple of years back, still stands. Here it is!

Ever since I turned vegetarian, somehow it is assumed that paneer is the pinnacle of my ordering power at any Indian restaurant.

“Oh, you don’t eat meat? No issues, paneer hai na!”

Arre, I don’t want to eat paneer. There are many other dishes that whet my appetite, and paneer is not one of them.

I have been a non-vegetarian, and on the other side of the table, so I understand where they are coming from. But no, I am not missing anything by not eating meat, in fact, it has been a much better experience!

My sleep patterns have improved, more alertness and less sluggishness during the day, and better thinking, breathing and a lightness after I’ve had a meal. What more can I ask for?

Food is a choice. One does not miss anything by not eating meat (or chicken or fish). But those who eat meat – it’s a choice that they make and I respect that. And I do expect that they respect my choices too.

Vegetarianism, and more lately veganism, is seen as a trend, a hep thing to do. If you make a choice, it’s better to make an informed one. Not just because your favorite celeb decided to ditch meat, or dairy. Find out what works (or doesn’t) for you, and then stick to it. Simple:)

And no, paneer is no substitute for meat. But what about plant-based meat? A lot of startup experimenting in that space, even if it sounds like an oxymoron. Maybe something to try out!

See you tomorrow…