When I made the decision to become vegan, I knew what I was giving up. Meat. Dairy. Eggs. This wasn’t something I had to mull over for very long. I viewed this as a clean break-up with my former animal-product lovers. I will admit that I occasionally get a craving for a cruel culinary quickie, but I can almost always tame my lust with savvy seasoning. What I didn’t expect to lose through becoming a vegan was feeling like a “normal person.”
I miss not lying about having dairy allergies. I miss not feeling guilty eating something that I was told doesn’t have butter in it but, letsgetreal, I wouldn’t bet a nickel on it. I miss sitting down at a restaurant with my family and not immediately pulling up a search engine on my smartphone. I miss taking a bite of my friend’s dish. I miss bread & butter.
Bread & butter is what normal people snack on while skimming through a menu. It’s kind of silly, really, because there’s nothing all that special about it. If I truly wanted to, I could grab a slice of bread and some Earth Balance at home and indulge, but that’s missing the point entirely.
I never realized how important a little thing like bread & butter was until I had it again. Karyn’s on Green is an upscale vegan restaurant in the Greektown neighborhood of Chicago. I walked into the gorgeous dining room, was seated, and immediately was in awe of what was in front of me; warm fluffy bread with a dainty dish of whipped seasoned butter. The first dip was a divine sensation while I scanned the menu that contained meals made just for normal people like me. Being raised in a western society with western values, this experience made me feel human again, as per my western understanding of me being a human.
If you’re ever feeling stress from your family, friends, society, or your understanding of being a “person,” all because you’re vegan, I highly suggest you visit a vegan restaurant (especially one that offers bread & butter). It’s a great reminder to the soul that hey, you’re totally normal and no one can fuss over you enough to change that.
P.S. If you ever visit Karyn’s on Green, you MUST try their French toast or crab cakes!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.