All Hail: Life on the ‘vedge’ not up to par

By Jess Volpe

I walk into the dining hall and see that there is nothing I can possibly eat.

Being a vegetarian, the endless array of grilled chicken, hamburgers, tacos, chicken cordon bleu and chicken noodle soup are completely unappetizing to me. I know I am not alone in my quest to find decent vegetarian food because several of my friends feel the same way. It is a rare occasion that there is something in the dining hall aimed at vegetarians or vegans, aside from salad or rice.

In the two months I have been here, my vegetarian options have been extremely limited. I have been able to eat salad, fruit, veggie burgers, zucchini parmigiana, “veggie cutlet” parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, stuffed portabella mushrooms, cold roasted vegetables and potatoes. That doesn’t seem like too bad of a selection, except they don’t serve these options every day. It also seems the only vegetarian options are in the form of parmigiana, which vegans can not eat because there is cheese in it.

Another problem for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant is the lack of soy milk in the dining halls. From what I’ve been told, there is only soy milk in Stetson East, and there is not a consistent supply of it.

I know I’m not alone in my annoyance at the fact that when I walked into Stetson East tonight I was stuck eating mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and cold green beans. I absolutely love potatoes, but I’ve been stuck eating them every night this week. They get old fast. I also love hummus, but the hummus found in Stetson West has no flavor to it, nor does the potato and corn soup. The consensus is that they both taste like kindergarten paste.

Also, the veggie burgers are usually dry and placed in a “warming tray” that does not keep them very warm. When you ask one of the servers for a veggie burger, they look annoyed. Don’t even bother asking for cheese on it because it won’t be melted like cheese on a cheeseburger would be. Several of my vegetarian friends like panini, but when both panini options are full of meat, it makes it impossible for us to eat.

My friends who are not vegetarian say things like, “Well they have veggie burgers, don’t they? And salad?” I think comments like these are the main issue. Salad and veggie burgers are not a balanced diet for vegetarians, and many people don’t realize that. We need more protein from foods like tofu that will satisfy a healthy, balanced vegetarian diet.

I understand the dining halls cannot accommodate of all the eating concerns of every student at Northeastern. Still, a large portion of the Northeastern community happens to be vegetarian or vegan. Northeastern’s dining halls are rated among the best in the greater Boston area, so why do they choose to neglect the vegetarian population? If there can be a separate room for kosher foods, I do not think it is too much of a stretch to ask for better and more consistent vegetarian options.

It is frustrating when friends from other schools tell us they live in vegetarian/vegan dorms that have their own dining hall catering to their needs. We pay the same amount of money as the omnivores, but they have a plethora of options and we are stuck with a monotony of salad and cold roasted vegetables.

Ultimately, there needs to be more creativity in the vegetarian options so we don’t get stuck eating side dishes as our main course.

I am not trying to be whiny, but I think vegetarians are misrepresented and mistreated. We are not all tree-hugging hippies that want to save the whales. We just want to eat healthy, well-balanced meals like everyone else.

– Jess Volpe is a freshman journalism major.

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