*Get Some Confidence *
Secretly, vegetarians crave meat. Herbivores covet the freedom of the omnivores, and the omnivores aspire to the swaggering arrogance of the carnivores. The reason lambs lie with lions and run with wolves is the hope a little self-confidence will rub off and they might acquire a rougher mystique.
The reason political activists (who are vegetarian) fight to save the world with such ferocity is because in their dreams they are wolves tearing throats from rabbits and devouring them. If CEOs are the coyotes and the poor are the chickens, this role reversal, even if only symbolic, is a major source of positive energy. It is a transfer of the blood instinct and perhaps the only hope for society is if vegetarians and vegans can someday swallow whole the boardroom boa constrictors. It gives the meatless power and the vegetables soul.
In the meantime, how can vegetarians sate their creeping urges? Until recently they went to The Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant on Pender, a family-run place specialising in gluten-free tofu products untouched by the wildlife proletariat. They served congealed soy pulp textured and flavoured to resemble every galloping, flapping, swishing, slithering, wriggling, fleeing beast a conscientious bicyclist could hope to run down and rend into bite-sized morsels. The Buddhist Veg, one of the last culinary institutions left in Vancouver for the ethical jetless-set, is gone. Never quite able to recover financially from a fire, it leaked promises of a return, but couldn’t gather enough momentum in the end. Perhaps this is old news to some, but nonetheless, a moment should be spared in silent homage to one of the classic eateries of Vancouver.
Certainly there is still the Naam and other places where you can dine on fresh wheat grass and lentils. They don’t, however, offer the orgiastic hedonism of displaced violence, of meatless meat oozing hot rivers of hoi sin blood. It made being a vegetarian slightly more barbaric, primordial, offering up the release of stalking your plate of steaming faux-venison, mock-duckling, sans-foal and imitation-baby lamb. Then, having paid your bill, with a flattering, slightly embarrassed tip, you could saunter into blazing day or bucketing night to rejoin your comrades at the picket line/protest march/mass tire deflation/fire bombing of corporate edifices, feeling morally replete. You might even have a doggybag for lunch tomorrow.
There is no tomorrow for The Buddhist Veg and those who came to depend on it (although there was talk they might just move, but nothing’s come of that yet). In place of the humble diner there now stands a mocking kingdom. The Jade Dynasty laughs in the face of fake meat, what with its glistening carcasses replacing the tofu-substitutes. Not only are former customers of the spot forced out because of the meat, but they’re priced out too, with the Dynasty joining the rest of Chinatown’s over-priced eateries.
We can only hope that holiday tofurkey, ground-round and nut burgers will tide us over until the Buddhists offer up another place to satisfy carnal cravings without losing the moral high ground.