Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Todo con carne

posted Thu, 23 Dec 2004

The big challenge in Miami is finding food for Harpo. It’s not a problem when we are at Tom and Marsha’s, of course, but when we are out, it is very difficult. Miami is not a place for vegetarians.

Latinos do not understand the concept of deliberately not eating meat. When I lived in Chile, I had a Chilean roommate for a while. I made a big pot of vegetable soup one night and invited Alejandra to share it with me. She ate, but after dinner, she asked, reluctantly, politely, curiously, “Did you know that soup had no meat in it?” Well, yes, I answered. That’s why it’s called vegetable soup. “No, but there was no meat in it!” she said. I tried to explain the concept of a meatless dish, but I could tell it just didn’t register with her.

When Harpo and I go out to eat in Miami, it’s an adventure. I am an omnivore – eating is my hobby – so satisfying me is not a problem, but our transactions at any Cuban sandwich shop go something like this. It’s actually funnier in Spanish, so Leigh and Internet Person, translate among yourselves.

Harpo: I’d like a sandwich without meat, please.

Clerk: OK, not meat, but ham, yes?

Harpo. No. No meat. No ham. Just bread and cheese.

Clerk: OK, not meat, but beef, yes?

Harpo: No. No meat. No ham. No beef. Just bread and cheese.

Clerk: OK, not meat, but pork, yes?

Harpo: NO. No meat. No ham. No beef. No pork. Just bread and cheese.

Clerk, very confused: Just bread and cheese? That’s all?

Harpo, exhausted: Yes. Just bread and cheese.

Harpo doesn’t like eating in Miami as much as I do.

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