Friday, April 07, 2006

At institutional banquets, always pick the vegetarian

Why do I never remember this rule? I think I always feel a bit guilty asking for the vegetarian meal when I'm not really a vegetarian. It's as if I believe there is a finite number of vegetarian meals in the world and by asking for one I'm depriving the real vegetarians of their sustenance.

Tonight was my college's annual faculty dinner. I never expect a good meal at this dinner. I only go out of obligation. I should always eat beforehand, but I forget this (along with asking for the vegetarian meal.) Usually, I can hope that elements of the meal will be edible. But not tonight. Tonight we had this:



Thank goodness there was a camera phone at our table so I could share the lovely feast with all of you. Our server told us the dish was called "Caribbean Pork." The sauce tasted like a banana popsicle melted down and mixed with constarch and a bit of salt. I scraped up a few broccolli spears that hadn't been touched by the icky sauce. I was hoping that at least the dessert would be good. But no. I've had a better cheesecake from Jell-o. It's a sad thing when the best part of a meal is the iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing.

6 Comments:

Blogger Lisa B. said...

On the other hand, I did spot you afterward carrying away an inflatable flamingo. Isn't that consolation enough?

3:45 PM  
Blogger lis said...

yes, the flamingo was very exciting. I gave it to my niece and she was thrilled--she even showed me how she could stand one-legged like a flamingo. if I had won the video ipod (or any of the door prizes, really) that would have been consolation.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

The vegetarian meals on airplanes are often quite good, plus you get served before the masses. I can remember in particular a delicious curry and stuffed shells (back in the days when you actually received a meal on a flight).

11:40 AM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

You got a flamingo? I could soooo photoshop a flamingo into that dinner shot. (hmmm, maybe that's where the sauce...oh nevermind)

I'm convinced the only thing worse than institutional banquets is themed institutional banquets. Seriously, what clueless person comes up with banana sauce for something like that? I can see fresh banana sauce for some dishes (think jerk pork with a rummy banana habenero sauce...you know, I just made that up but it actually sounds pretty good) but for something that will be plated with lots of other beige(ish) stuff...ewww...

Did it really have that 'cornstarch is alien slime' gelatinous shine look or is that an unfortunate image artifact?

I'm with you on ordering vegetarian, although kosher is often really good too. I think it's the meat quality and the inability to smother everything in some horrendous sauce. I'm wondering what they would do with a "raw food" request. It might be worth it just to watch the response. In fact, since I never do banquets, next time you have one, have everyone you know pre-order some special diet and then compare notes.

6:52 PM  
Blogger lis said...

yes, I'm afraid the gelatinous slime potrayed in the picture is a pretty good representation of what the food actually looked like.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Here's a collection of other grody dishes:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=74050

1:23 PM  

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