Tasty Vegetarian Concoctions at Café Mac

By Abe Levine

I like burgers on the grill, ribs and cornbread, and the occasional sausage patty for breakfast, but last semester when I decided to try being a vegetarian, I was very afraid of losing these sources of pleasure, as well as getting sick, maybe even turning into a carrot and not being able to sit with my meat-eating friends.
However, today I can honestly say that I’m still here and feelin’ fine. I haven’t even caught a cold yet, which might be because I’m not consuming as many chemicals because I’m not eating meat. And I have joined the ranks of Alyssa Milano, Andre 3000 and even our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, as a vegetarian. While I believe my reasons for becoming a vegetarian are purely logical and compassionate, this article in not so much a rational argument for going vegetarian, as it is a story about how much fun I’m having with it.

At Café Mac, there’s the South Station, where I can get bean burritos, curry and spices from far reaches of the subcontinent (actually it’s just coconut and cilantro, but they make titillating toppings on rice dishes and soup). Kathy serves up stir-fried veggies and if you smile you might just get a wink too, and of course there’s ol’ reliable, the veggie burger. My piece-de-irresistibility is a whole-wheat sandwich with spinach humus, roasted vegetables, some honey, and goldfish on the side (no actual fish are harmed in the making of this dish).

As for other tips, try to keep it simple. Your plates can be elaborate, but don’t mix it all together, or it will look and taste like mush. If you divide your plate into four sections, grab some chickpeas with lime curry and nuts, place them alongside some beans, add some arugula from the salad bar with perhaps some onion and Italian dressing, and then lay down a folded burrito wrap with salsa into the fourth quadrant, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful dish.

Take a little time to plan. Try to imagine how your taste buds and stomach will react to what you select. Does it all go together? Do the colors, consistency and texture jive with your level of hunger, emotional state, and cravings?
Don’t be afraid to go for the desserts; they don’t taste like broccoli. For some reason, vegan desserts taste a lot better this year than last, and that’s according to my dairy-consuming friends. When you think about it, vegan desserts shouldn’t taste that different from regular desserts- you’re just replacing the butter with soy butter.

If you get tired of Café Mac, try shopping for yourself. You can get some experience foraging on your own and you’ll find some space-age products. All of your old favorites are out there, there’s veggie chicken, sausage, ribs, jerky, and lobster, vegan ice cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, whipped cream and cheese that actually melts.

It all tastes great, and overall I have a greater appreciation for the ingredients that sustain my life.

If you’re interested in trying it out and have any questions, please shoot me an email at [email protected], or check out any of these cool books: Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (a philosophical perspective), the China Study by Cambell and Campbell (a health perspective), or Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan’s (a perspective on eating in general). If you don’t become vegetarian, that’s fine. But I’d recommend that you eat less meat- it’s better for you, for the environment, and for the animals.