No meat, no eggs, no mushrooms

It had become a sort of a ritual whenever we visited a non-Indian restaurant in the US, to go through the mantra of "No meat, no eggs and no mushrooms," with the stewards. My wife composed this mantra, mostly because of her fear of coming in contact with any of those items in a non-Indian restaurant.

It was kind of assumed that the Indian restaurants in the US also had two kitchens to cater to the vegetarian and non-vegetarian eating customers and also understood the seriousness of serving a non-vegetarian dish to a vegetarian customer! Of course, we never checked if any of the Indian restaurants did have two kitchens.

We are vegetarians but not vegans (vegans do not eat and/or use animal products). So, meat was completely ruled out. The restaurants would then take extra precautions and ensure that the dishes would not come in contact with meat and did not have any meat products in them.

Even the sauces being used in the Mexican and Asian dishes, some of which are oyster-based, would be replaced with vegetarian options. The pizza cutters would be cleaned with soap before being run over our pizzas. Of course, we would generously tip the stewards and sometimes the chef too, for their extra attention to these details.

My wife became suspicious once when she was served a funny looking 'tomato' slice at a leading pizza joint in Hawaii. She had placed the order with a 'no meat' instruction. But when the pizza arrived, the 'tomato' slice not only looked stale but smelt horrible, too. (No offense to all the meat lovers!)

In most cases, I would be asked to play the role of a guinea pig to taste the food for quality checks. With this pizza, however, I did not muster the courage to be one; what if that piece was from a pig? Strange it would have been then - 'a pig for a guinea pig'!

My wife's dislike for eggs is mostly psychological and goes back to her childhood days. In order to make her strong and healthy, she was offered eggs (as recommended by the family physician), much to her dislike. She would, however, throw it up after few minutes. That feeling must have stayed with her ever since, for even now, a cookie with the slightest hint of egg is rejected at the plate itself.  

With regard to her dislike for mushrooms, the story is less complicated. Since it is a fungus, it has been easily placed in the 'do not eat' list.

Cut to present. Having relocated to India, I have not heard that mantra for a long time. She has, instead, come up with a modified version to suit the environment here. "Is this chutney made from RO Water?" She is also a SPOC; no, not a 'Single Point of Contact' but a 'Sanitiser Point of Contact'!

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