Vegetarians and Vegans: Beware of Texas Roadhouse - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 01-14-2016, 09:16 AM
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Vegetarians and Vegans: Beware of Texas Roadhouse

Hi, friends,

I'd like to share an experience with you all.

My hubby and I received a $25 gift card to Texas Roadhouse from his family for Christmas. My first thought was, "Why on earth would you give this to us? I'm vegetarian (mostly vegan) and he barely eats meat," but I still appreciated the kind gesture and stashed it in my wallet for one of those nights when we're out and about and getting hungry. That night happened last night.

At face value, the only real vegetarian options are loaded with cheese or a creamy dressing, which I try to steer clear of unless I know it's vegetarian and lactose free (I'm sensitive to dairy), and come in the form of sides. I ordered myself the "country veg plate" which allows you to choose four side items, but limits you to one salad, so I asked for one house salad without eggs or cheese, one baked sweet potato, which was served with cinnamon butter on the side and looked like it was already pre-buttered, the mixed vegetables and the seasoned rice. We also got an order of the fried pickle chips to share as an appetizer.

The pickles were awesome and I haven't read anything about them being non-vegetarian, but the dipping sauces aren't vegan (buttermilk ranch and some kind of creamy southwest horseradish dip which I favored). Otherwise, I just found out that Texas Roadhouse bastes their sweet potatoes, baked potatoes and green beans with BACON GREASE. They also use chicken broth in the mashed potatoes. I'm so disappointed because I love sweet potatoes and have the whole potato leftover for lunch today. I'm not capable of wasting, so I have to eat it. I'm also skeptical of the seasoned rice which I finished last night. I think it was made with broth. I won't be getting that again either. The "mixed veggies" ended up being just steamed broccoli and carrots, so they were kind of lame even though I enjoy both. I am certain they were just cooked with butter and olive oil, so vegetarian, but not vegan. The salad was great.

Also, what's up with the peanut shells? I'm not trying to nit pick, so I'm sorry if it seems like it, but I don't understand it. It's unpleasant to crunch on your way to the "outhouse". And I already felt completely out of my element being around raw steaks in a glass cooler, deer and moose heads on the walls and dead armadillos perched behind the hostess (I pray they were fake). That much I didn't anticipate and probably should have.

Nonetheless, I really did appreciate the gift card gesture, but, if you're vegan, steer clear of Texas Roadhouse unless you want a plain salad. And if you're vegetarian, the pickle chips are great, but ask for your baked potatoes plain and don't get the green beans, mashed potatoes or rice! I would also recommend asking what the mixed vegetables are cooked in (although I'm pretty sure it was butter and olive oil). Maybe once day they won't use so much butter. I very occasionally cook with it, so this was the most I'd had in a while.

If I'm ever in a situation where I'm outnumbered, I'll stick with the pickles and a garden salad.

Cheers!
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#2 Old 01-14-2016, 09:32 AM
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yup, there's one fairly close to my work so the inevitable laboratory "off site meetings" and after work lunches tend to end up there. before the first time, I googled that even the vegetables are all bathed in some sort of animal derived grease so I think I have skipped all but one of them when I just had drinks. even when I ate meat, I didn't like that place, but that's mostly because I loathe cheap looking theme restaurants...there are no cowboys in Massachusetts, who are they trying to fool!

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#3 Old 01-14-2016, 09:53 AM
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Thanks for sharing!

Generally i steer clear of any steak house.

It is like trying to find a needle in haystack to look for vegan/vegetarian food in a steak house.

Even the most simple salad or potato sides will contain some form of non-vegan-vegetarian ingredient in the form of dressing or sprinkles.
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#4 Old 01-14-2016, 10:00 AM
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We all tend to steer clear of steak houses, but sometimes that's the place the office crowd gathers for happy hour, or where a birthday is being celebrated. A gift card takes some thought.

With a $25 gift card, you can get drinks and peanuts at Texas Roadhouse, and then eat someplace else. Maybe some other snacks on their menu would qualify. Also, if you were to ask the server to have them leave the sour cream and butter off your food, the server will convey that to the kitchen. Swapping out animal ingredients for vegan ones is something many kitchens won't do. For example, they might agree to use olive oil instead of butter to saute your vegetables, but not soy creamer instead of half-and-half in the corn chowder. Just because of what they do and don't keep on hand. But they can far more easily manage veganizing by subtraction, and if they can't, they can tell you upfront. That veg combo would sort of work if you said (now that you know!!!) "No butter or bacon fat on anything, please."

Also, when you send your thank you note for the gift, it's good to tell them exactly how you used the card: for example, for drinks and pickles rather than toward a meal. Without your having to say so, they'll start to see that for you that menu is a minefield of stuff you don't eat, and they might do better next year.
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Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 01-14-2016 at 10:10 AM.
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#5 Old 01-14-2016, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Muttley View Post
yup, there's one fairly close to my work so the inevitable laboratory "off site meetings" and after work lunches tend to end up there. before the first time, I googled that even the vegetables are all bathed in some sort of animal derived grease so I think I have skipped all but one of them when I just had drinks. even when I ate meat, I didn't like that place, but that's mostly because I loathe cheap looking theme restaurants...there are no cowboys in Massachusetts, who are they trying to fool!
Hahaha. Definitely no cowboys here!!! I'm from the South Coast near RI and I have yet to see any :P
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#6 Old 01-14-2016, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
We all tend to steer clear of steak houses, but sometimes that's the place the office crowd gathers for happy hour, or where a birthday is being celebrated. A gift card takes some thought.

With a $25 gift card, you can get drinks and peanuts at Texas Roadhouse, and then eat someplace else. Maybe some other snacks on their menu would qualify. Also, if you were to ask the server to have them leave the sour cream and butter off your food, the server will convey that to the kitchen. Swapping out animal ingredients for vegan ones is something many kitchens won't do. For example, they might agree to use olive oil instead of butter to saute your vegetables, but not soy creamer instead of half-and-half in the corn chowder. Just because of what they do and don't keep on hand. But they can far more easily manage veganizing by subtraction, and if they can't, they can tell you upfront. That veg combo would sort of work if you said (now that you know!!!) "No butter or bacon fat on anything, please."

Also, when you send your thank you note for the gift, it's good to tell them exactly how you used the card: for example, for drinks and pickles rather than toward a meal. Without your having to say so, they'll start to see that for you that menu is a minefield of stuff you don't eat, and they might do better next year.
Definitely Joan. Seems like happy hours and whatnot always end up at places like this.

If I ever end up there again, I will be sure to ask for my potato baked plain! I honestly didn't consider the bacon grease. I don't do much butter often at all, but I can manage, so I just didn't think twice about it. Yuck though. Bacon grease? Veganizing by subtraction is definitely an option.

For the thank you, I will definitely mention that if it comes up in person, but I honestly am not sure if I would volunteer that info. Unfortunately, I don't have support from that side of our family. I have been called a "p-i-t-a" (you know) for intentionally trying to inconvenience people even though I've even offered to eat before get togethers. I think people feel bad when they see someone not eating and then they take it out on me. It's quite unfair because I don't boast my lifestyle to anyone out of respect for my fellow humans. I would expect the same in return, but don't always get it. Unless it's already part of the conversation or I'm asked, I keep quiet.
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Last edited by ehubert; 01-14-2016 at 10:29 AM.
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#7 Old 01-14-2016, 10:26 AM
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Thanks for sharing!

Generally i steer clear of any steak house.

It is like trying to find a needle in haystack to look for vegan/vegetarian food in a steak house.

Even the most simple salad or potato sides will contain some form of non-vegan-vegetarian ingredient in the form of dressing or sprinkles.
Absolutely. You can say that again. Ever since I learned that McDonald's uses beef fat in their fries (this was about a decade after I stopped eating that crap. LOL), I have tried to be mindful of everything, but this slipped past me. I will stick with a salad and maybe some olive oil and vinegar dressing next time! Thankfully, we were an hour away from home and most of the local places near home have options for me. We particularly love this Korean restaurant that serves tofu bibimbap. If you ever have the chance to try this dish at a restaurant near you, I would recommend it. It usually comes with an overeasy egg on it to fry your rice, but you can always ask for it without. The place we go to always ask if the egg is okay when you ask for the tofu version. We've been going there for three years now. The waiters knows us by name and they still always ask. They're very kind
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#8 Old 01-14-2016, 11:36 AM
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Unfortunately, I don't have support from that side of our family. I have been called a "p-i-t-a" (you know) for intentionally trying to inconvenience people even though I've even offered to eat before get togethers. I think people feel bad when they see someone not eating and then they take it out on me.
The more of a P-I-T-A it makes me look like, the harder a line I take with close family. I always respected their self-imposed dietary restrictions, now they've had several years to get used to mine! I hate to say it because I like to consider myself a nice person, but it kind of amuses me to torment some of them just by sticking to my guns. One sister at this past Thanksgiving and said to me "Sorry, but I put cream and cheese in the scalloped potatoes I brought, hope that's okay."

Me: "Sure, it's okay."

Sis: "Oh good, I was afraid that meant you wouldn't eat it."

Me: "Oh, I won't be having any, but it's okay with me that you brought it!"
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#9 Old 01-14-2016, 11:58 AM
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The more of a P-I-T-A it makes me look like, the harder a line I take with close family. I always respected their self-imposed dietary restrictions, now they've had several years to get used to mine! I hate to say it because I like to consider myself a nice person, but it kind of amuses me to torment some of them just by sticking to my guns. One sister at this past Thanksgiving and said to me "Sorry, but I put cream and cheese in the scalloped potatoes I brought, hope that's okay."

Me: "Sure, it's okay."

Sis: "Oh good, I was afraid that meant you wouldn't eat it."

Me: "Oh, I won't be having any, but it's okay with me that you brought it!"
Teehee.

Yup. I can definitely relate to instances like that!

"Will you eat the salad if there's bacon bits in it?"
"No."
"What if you can't see the bacon?"
*insert eye roll here*

on a positive note, as vegetarian and veganism become less of a "fad" and more of the norm, our society will accept it and not mock us. I hate when omnivores attack us just as much as I hate when vegetarian/vegans attack them. A little fun never hurt! But I sure am sick of "You don't know what you're mising!"

Ohhh, yesss I doooo!!! :P
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#10 Old 01-14-2016, 09:40 PM
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One of the many reasons when asked where I want to eat, I say, "Anywhere but Texas Roadhouse." I kind of figured everything there would be tainted with some kind of animal grease or broth in some way or another.
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#11 Old 01-15-2016, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ehubert View Post
Hi, friends,

I'd like to share an experience with you all.

My hubby and I received a $25 gift card to Texas Roadhouse from his family for Christmas. My first thought was, "Why on earth would you give this to us? I'm vegetarian (mostly vegan) and he barely eats meat," but I still appreciated the kind gesture and stashed it in my wallet for one of those nights when we're out and about and getting hungry. That night happened last night.

At face value, the only real vegetarian options are loaded with cheese or a creamy dressing, which I try to steer clear of unless I know it's vegetarian and lactose free (I'm sensitive to dairy), and come in the form of sides. I ordered myself the "country veg plate" which allows you to choose four side items, but limits you to one salad, so I asked for one house salad without eggs or cheese, one baked sweet potato, which was served with cinnamon butter on the side and looked like it was already pre-buttered, the mixed vegetables and the seasoned rice. We also got an order of the fried pickle chips to share as an appetizer.
Why on Earth did they give you a gift card to Texas Roadhouse, then???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
We all tend to steer clear of steak houses, but sometimes that's the place the office crowd gathers for happy hour, or where a birthday is being celebrated. A gift card takes some thought.

With a $25 gift card, you can get drinks and peanuts at Texas Roadhouse, and then eat someplace else. Maybe some other snacks on their menu would qualify. Also, if you were to ask the server to have them leave the sour cream and butter off your food, the server will convey that to the kitchen. Swapping out animal ingredients for vegan ones is something many kitchens won't do. For example, they might agree to use olive oil instead of butter to saute your vegetables, but not soy creamer instead of half-and-half in the corn chowder. Just because of what they do and don't keep on hand. But they can far more easily manage veganizing by subtraction, and if they can't, they can tell you upfront. That veg combo would sort of work if you said (now that you know!!!) "No butter or bacon fat on anything, please."

Also, when you send your thank you note for the gift, it's good to tell them exactly how you used the card: for example, for drinks and pickles rather than toward a meal. Without your having to say so, they'll start to see that for you that menu is a minefield of stuff you don't eat, and they might do better next year.
I'm going to agree with this to a point. If you are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and your husband "barely eats meat", Why not a gift card to another restaurant more veg friendly? Is there a problem with your veg*anism in your family? This puzzles me more then anything.
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#12 Old 01-16-2016, 02:15 AM
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I agree, it sounds pretty passive- aggressive to give a steak house gift card to a vegetarian. There are sites online where you can sell or trade gift cards, btw.

And peanut shells on the restaurant floor is disgusting. I can only imagine the cockroaches running around in them.
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#13 Old 01-16-2016, 04:00 AM
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I personally would never have eaten there. I would have given my gift card to someone else.

I have spoken up to family and friends a few times in the past when I was gifted something with animal ingredients in it ( while also thanking them for the nice gesture of thinking of me and giving me a gift). Otherwise, if I didn't say something, chances are I would keep getting these types of gifts and I am not comfortable with that.

That said, I have had to go to a restaurant or two that was questionable as part of a work gathering for a few retirements. I called ahead and inquired about menu options for vegans and if they were willing to alter menu items as some places are and some aren't. It does sometimes require knowledge on our part about how restaurant food is cooked. I am aware that sometimes Mexican restaurants use lard in their tortillas for instance, or that fish sauce is used on otherwise vegetarian dishes at Asian types of restaurants, or that rice is often cooked with ghee at Indian restaurants. Steak houses are nororious for coating everything with grease lol, and cooking many food items on the same space. I am also aware that honey is often used in breads at some more organic progressive restaurants. I even went to a restaurant once where a meal was labeled vegan but the waiter warned me that the bread had honey in it. I changed my choice and thanked him profusely for letting me know.

I rarely eat out, but I like to research the heck out of places before I do lol. Here is a very helpful site that does this kind of research themselves for vegetarian/vegan consumers:

http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

Usually I can find one or two items that can be made vegan at any restaurant, but i looked at the menu for the Texas Roadhouse and My! Even the salads are loaded with cheese and questionable dressings. It would definitely be a challenge to veganize anything there!
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#14 Old 01-16-2016, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Purp View Post
Why on Earth did they give you a gift card to Texas Roadhouse, then???

...


If you are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and your husband "barely eats meat", Why not a gift card to another restaurant more veg friendly? Is there a problem with your veg*anism in your family? This puzzles me more then anything.
The gift does sound hostile or passive-aggressive, or at least clueless. Trying to influence your behavior without saying so, is what it sounds like. Worst case, somebody thought they were giving ehubert's husband a break from what they see as ehubert's food-controlling ways. But with a family I don't know, there's always room for the benefit of the doubt for any individual giver.

Members of my own large family have mostly tried following a vegan or vegetarian diet (however they personally define those terms, which is pretty freakin loosely), though never for very long. (I might be known among them as a p-i-t-a, but it doesn't get back to me.) Or somebody's stepping off gluten, caffeine or alcohol. People are constantly giving one another things the person can't use, or can't use today. But without a spreadsheet that's updated regularly, there's no keeping track of who isn't eating or drinking what. ehubert's husband "barely eats meat," which possibly looks a lot like "eats meat" from all they see. What did he order at Texas Roadhouse, anyway? People in the family who don't know ehubert well might either not know, or have forgotten, or assumed it would be a short-lived experiment. Or assumed "there's always something a vegetarian can eat." If they looked at the online menu, it might have even looked veggie-friendly to them.

It can bite, tell you just where you stand with somebody, when they should know better but they don't, or they do know but don't care. Like when a sister gives you pierced earrings, and not for the first time, and your ears have never been pierced, and she's your sister.
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Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 01-16-2016 at 12:04 PM.
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#15 Old 01-16-2016, 04:08 PM
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Absolutely. You can say that again. Ever since I learned that McDonald's uses beef fat in their fries (this was about a decade after I stopped eating that crap. LOL), I have tried to be mindful of everything, but this slipped past me. I will stick with a salad and maybe some olive oil and vinegar dressing next time! Thankfully, we were an hour away from home and most of the local places near home have options for me. We particularly love this Korean restaurant that serves tofu bibimbap. If you ever have the chance to try this dish at a restaurant near you, I would recommend it. It usually comes with an overeasy egg on it to fry your rice, but you can always ask for it without. The place we go to always ask if the egg is okay when you ask for the tofu version. We've been going there for three years now. The waiters knows us by name and they still always ask. They're very kind
Yes, i absolutely love Tofu Bibimpap.

In fact, bibimpap is one of my stable vegan meals. There is just so many vegan/vegetarian ways to make them, and they taste hot and good

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#16 Old 01-19-2016, 01:18 PM
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I personally would never have eaten there. I would have given my gift card to someone else.

I have spoken up to family and friends a few times in the past when I was gifted something with animal ingredients in it ( while also thanking them for the nice gesture of thinking of me and giving me a gift). Otherwise, if I didn't say something, chances are I would keep getting these types of gifts and I am not comfortable with that.

That said, I have had to go to a restaurant or two that was questionable as part of a work gathering for a few retirements. I called ahead and inquired about menu options for vegans and if they were willing to alter menu items as some places are and some aren't. It does sometimes require knowledge on our part about how restaurant food is cooked. I am aware that sometimes Mexican restaurants use lard in their tortillas for instance, or that fish sauce is used on otherwise vegetarian dishes at Asian types of restaurants, or that rice is often cooked with ghee at Indian restaurants. Steak houses are nororious for coating everything with grease lol, and cooking many food items on the same space. I am also aware that honey is often used in breads at some more organic progressive restaurants. I even went to a restaurant once where a meal was labeled vegan but the waiter warned me that the bread had honey in it. I changed my choice and thanked him profusely for letting me know.

I rarely eat out, but I like to research the heck out of places before I do lol. Here is a very helpful site that does this kind of research themselves for vegetarian/vegan consumers:

http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

Usually I can find one or two items that can be made vegan at any restaurant, but i looked at the menu for the Texas Roadhouse and My! Even the salads are loaded with cheese and questionable dressings. It would definitely be a challenge to veganize anything there!
Thanks so much for that website!

Most of the places we eat out at are vegetarian/vegan only, are local places where I can be sure that my meal is actually me-friendly or have small menus just for vegetarians (like the new vegetarian menu at 99 where you can order a veggie and hummus platter. I ask for it without the feta and it's great! Can't imagine how a place can screw up hummus! Lol), but there's always the occasional place where I keep to myself and don't mention why I'm not eating a certain thing because I get that look like I have six heads when I say "I don't want to eat the chicken rice because it's made with chicken broth." Oh, was it a battle when I first became vegetarian......
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#17 Old 01-19-2016, 01:35 PM
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Why on Earth did they give you a gift card to Texas Roadhouse, then???


I'm going to agree with this to a point. If you are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and your husband "barely eats meat", Why not a gift card to another restaurant more veg friendly? Is there a problem with your veg*anism in your family? This puzzles me more then anything.
I'm not sure exactly how passive aggressive it actually was, but I can say that the person giving us the gift card has made it abundantly clear that she thinks my lifestyle change is stupid, so it's not impossible. We were all out for dinner at a nice restaurant once (one that actually had REAL vegetarian and vegan options too! More expensive, but great) and she was asking me why I've changed my diet. At first, I was thrilled that someone was asking me and not lecturing me about how I'm destroying my body, but that quickly changed. She said she "gets" vegetarians not wanting to eat meat because they care about animals, but a vegan is "just trying to be a p-i-t-a," as I mentioned in a previous response. I kind of looked at hubby who was sitting right near me because I didn't know what to say since I didn't have anything nice to say besides "Sorry you feel that way" and she ended up getting up to socialize with the other family in the room. I've been a part of this family for eight years now and am on year five of being vegetarian, so I'm wondering if that attitude will ever change. I think it's an agree to disagree case here.

With that said, it very well may have been passive aggressive, but there's a small part of me that thinks it was just a gift card that was purchased without thinking/caring.

Hubby got a salad, by the way. It wasn't a bad looking salad, actually. It came with chicken, but it was all cut very small and wasn't meat heavy at all. It came with minced egg too and he asked for no egg, but, of course, they still put egg on it -_- He ate it anyway because he's like me. He won't ask them to take it back because he's not okay with wasting a whole salad.

As for food-controlling ways, it wouldn't surprise me if that's the family theory. He's getting closer to vegetarian every day on his own though. I don't push him because I am respectful and he says he doesn't want to label himself and just wants to be free to make his own food choices, which I appreciate, but I see those choices involve less meat all the time, so I don't even care if he labels himself (I call him a flexitarian because he'll have chicken or turkey once a week, maybe, but that's just me). Plus, I don't cook meat and he enjoys my cooking very much, especially my stir fry wraps. He actually went to school for pharmacy and started leaning toward the holistic medicine field. He believes in healing with good nutrition, so his dietary choices don't have so much to do with me as some may think
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#18 Old 01-19-2016, 01:50 PM
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I'm from the South, for generations back, and I can assure you its quite "normal" in Southern cooking to use fat back or bacon grease in vegetable dishes, some people call it "seasoning " which conjures up images of spices, but nope....this stems from a time when it was considered economical and moral to use the entire animal, in a similar manner to tribal people. I mean if you're in a culture that consumes animal products, it probably is least wasteful to use the whole pig.

The peanut thing was typical in saloons and road houses in the 19th and early 20th century.

I'm not negating anything you said. But much like with traditional Mexican restaurants, it's probably best that you assume Southern style cooking incorporates lard or bacon grease unless they specifically say that they don't.
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#19 Old 01-19-2016, 02:15 PM
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Why on Earth did they give you a gift card to Texas Roadhouse, then???


I'm going to agree with this to a point. If you are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and your husband "barely eats meat", Why not a gift card to another restaurant more veg friendly? Is there a problem with your veg*anism in your family? This puzzles me more then anything.
I agree..I mean unless they bought everyone on their list Texas Roadhouse gifts cards, en masse...it doesn't make any sense. I tend to buy people gift cards to places I know they enjoy or would probably like because of their other tastes.

I think the OP is being overly kind though, it's pretty obvious that a person who basically called her a p.i.t.a. in a veiled way on another occasion clearly has passive aggressive hostility. ..also I never feel bad about sending back food in chain restaurants unless I'm in a hurry, because trust me, someone will eat it back in the kitchen if it's untouched. I used to wait tables in those kinds of places.

Happy Cow has a good app for veg friendly future options when you can't choose a specific vegetarian restaurant.
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