Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Takeout Pet Peeves of the Vegetable Adventurer

Takeout is an inevitable part of city life. Often, we are too tired, lazy or hyper to cook. When one's vegetables are delivered to one's door, it doesn't happen often, but still, there comes a time when you pick up that box or bag or folder of leaflets and browse through them, searching for something that the good city restaurateurs can haul over to your doorstep.

Such, indeed, was my mood a few days ago, when I picked up the Tel Aviv Food Book, proclaiming itself to contain menus for most of the restaurants in Tel Aviv. Now, we are very fortunate here in this respect; there's more than pizza and MG-laced Chinese. The city has hundreds of wonderful food digs and many of them offer deliveries.


However, the offerings in the vegan/vegetarian/whole grain department are pathetically slim. I assume there's not much demand: folks who like wholesome food have often gotten used to making it themselves, thus diminishing the supply market for such foods. But wouldn't you occasionally like someone *else* to bring you your quinoa bowl? Also - it's possible that health food is considered snobbish and expensive; but so are many of the extravagant items on the menu, and whole grains and beans don't have to be expensive, at all.

So, here are some of the things I was disappointed with.

1. I *know* there are organic restaurants in this city. I've *eaten* in them. Why no deliveries?

2. Is it too much to ask for Chinese and Indian restaurants to offer steamed brown rice, in addition to the white rice? I'd be willing to pay more and I bet many others would, too. It could make a whole lot of difference for me. One Indian place already does deliveries with brown rice; others should join.

3. It'd be kind of fun for those of us that eat eggs to be able to order Shakshuka from eggs that don't come from chicken coops. Again: there are people who care about this. Would anyone pick this idea up?

4. How about marking the menus, to let us know which dishes are vegetarian/vegan and which aren't? We hate being pests and asking on the phone "does this have meat?". Yes, there are people who won't eat the soup if it's chicken broth. Yes, there are people who want to know if there are eggs in the cake. Why not help them out?

5. Sometimes, generous restaurants give us really nice offers: if we order a certain value of food, we get desert - free! That's really nice of them. Would it be possible to ask them to extend that good will, and offer a free small salad, or water, instead? Some people in this town are diabetic, and it'd be really nice to treat them to something as well, if they spend a lot of money ordering food from your establishment.

6. We can deal with paper containers. No need to produce and consume all this plastic. How about that? And, while we're at it, most of us can, and will, use our own cutlery. The less plastic in this world, the better.

Thank you for your attention, restaurateurs of Tel Aviv; there are many, many great options for folks who eat locally and ethically, here, if they want to eat out. All we need to do is stretch them out a bit, so they apply to folks who order in, as well.


Kate said...

I find on days when ordering takeout is absolutely necessary I remember how hard it is to find good food. The only option for me as a vegan is to try to ask the place to change things in the food. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesnt. Takeout is a gamble for me. I find that when cooking somthing I really like, I will double the amount and freeze it. Then, when takeout moments strike, I can just reheat and serve. That saves money, and time. Just a Thought.

Hadar said...

Absolutely, Kate. Indeed, our freezer is full of stuff left there for that precise purpose... only sometimes we want to eat things that others cook for us. But the benefits in money and time can't be discounted, that's for sure!

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