Let the Pagans Eat Eggplant… and the Vegans Too

KARA: “You can have crazy foods passed during the cocktail hour,” my mother says to me on the ride up to the meeting with our chef. “But right now you have to remember your audience. No one is going to eat duck.” Brian sinks lower in his seat.

“And the pagans can have that baby eggplant dish,” she adds, “that sounds elegant.”

“You mean vegans,” I correct her.

Kara and her mom.

Peter, the chef, greets us warmly. I fixate on his credentials: six years with Todd English. My mother’s eyes fixate on his earring, but happily, she says nothing. Everything goes smoothly.

“How about the center cut filet?” my mother asks.

“I think you’ll want sirloin steak,” he replies. “It doesn’t sound as fancy, but it’s extremely flavorful. I slice it thinly and fan it out on the plate, surrounded by vegetables from our garden. Beautiful presentation! Plus”–he leans in conspiratorially–“it’s cheaper.” My dad sits up a little straighter.

We shake on sirloin, swordfish, and roasted baby eggplant. All is calm until we’re halfway home.

“Did he say sirloin steak?” my mother queries.

“Yup,” Brian and I reply.

“We can’t put that on the invitation. It sounds like the Outback Steakhouse,” she says.

My dad jumps in, “But it’s cheaper.”

“No, no, no. We’ve got to rename this steak!” Let the Pagans Eat Eggplant… and the Vegans Too