Last night, Yoni and I attended a ball celebrating the 238th birthday of the US Navy Chaplain Corps. For the most part, we had a lovely evening.
What was the problem, you ask? Food. Of course.
Yoni and I are well-practiced at fighting food battles here in Okinawa. Most of the time we don’t get worked up about it because we go in expecting problems. But last night we had RSVP’d as vegetarians, and so we weren’t wearing our protective armor.
It was a four-course meal. The first course was a salad next to shrimp. No thank you. The next course was a (delicious looking) pumpkin soup, made with beef broth. Thanks, but no thanks. The (vegetarian) entrée was some weird bastardization of eggplant parmesan. And then there was dessert. We were frustrated but not particularly surprised that there was no vegetarian option for the first two courses. After all – T.I.O. (this is Okinawa). We agreed that, after the ball, we would figure out who to talk to and address the issue appropriately.
But then the manager of the Officer’s Club (where the ball was being held) came by our table to ask if everything was ok. And…I might have gotten into it with her. It went something like this.
Manager: Hope you’re all enjoying your evenings. Is everything alright?
Leora: Actually, I’m pretty disappointed with the vegetarian offerings tonight.
Manager: How do you mean?
Leora: Well, we’re here for a four-course meal, but there was only a vegetarian alternative offered for one course.
Manager: Well, it was a pumpkin soup.
Leora: Yes, with a beef broth. That kind of goes against the meaning of the word vegetarian.
Manager: The truth is, we have too many special requests to be able to honor them.
Leora: Well, by offering a vegetarian option, you are pretending to honor them. It’s very misleading to arrive at a meal you expect to be able to partake in only to find out that you can’t eat most of it.
Manager: We’re just not able to accommodate everyone. Too many people want to be gluten free or whatever. Maybe next time, if you let us know in advance that you’re coming, we can work something out. It’s just that a lot of our flavorings have meat bases; we can’t be expected to serve people food without flavor.
Leora: (!!!) If I let you know in advance you’ll accommodate us?!? I’m pretty sure that, by registering as vegetarians, we did exactly that. That was your advance notice. Why else would we RSVP?
It went on and on. She refused to cede any ground even though she was being RIDICULOUS. Eventually, she offered to partially refund the tickets, but then she walked away and never came back. And even when she offered the refund, she was not apologetic, nor did she admit that what I was saying was valid in any way, shape or form. She was just trying to placate me. I’m pretty sure I was right, though. Grrr.
Ok. Rant over. Shabbat Shalom!