I enjoy eating a variety of foods and have a number of cuisines that top my list, but I’m not real big on 100% raw food diets. To each their own, but much can be said about how regional changes in climate and seasonal availability of locally sourced ingredients play a role in our health and wellbeing.
Last year a friend and I stopped by a raw food restaurant in Brooklyn. We’d just finished a sinfully good dessert brunch at a great but now closed raw food restaurant a couple of neighborhoods away, but had heard about a family day event they were hosting and decided to check it out.
After balking at the $35/adult entry fee (for a family event? WTF) we decided to go check out the restaurant instead. I decided on a “flatbread” and dip-like appetizer. The “flatbread” wasn’t sure if it wanted to be crackers, bread, or biscuits, but succeeded at tasting awful and being incompatible with the flavor of the dip (which was good).
While we were sitting there, taking in the atmosphere, the host (and maybe the owner), a beautiful and glowing brown beauty, noticed that I hadn’t touched the crackers (which outnumbered the dip, btw) and asked us about our meal. When I replied that I didn’t like taste of the ‘crackers”, she exclaimed, “You don’t like them? You must not be into raw food…This is my FAVORITE dish!” We exchanged a few more words about plant-based diets, and my companion and I spent the rest of our (his) meal snarking about what the she could do with her FAVORITE meal (remove it from my sight and eat it herself).
Yesterday, I had lunch with a few members of Black Vegetarian Society of NY at a raw food restaurant in Harlem. I have enjoyed a number of the dishes I’ve had there previously, although I’ve grown tired of veg*n and raw interpretations of SAD cuisine. I also don’t quite understand the value in spending hours dehydrating a food you just spent hours soaking because it’s supposed to be better for you that way. Really?
Three of us ordered a bowl of marinated greens. I had ordered mine first, which, after sampling, the other two decided they wanted their own order.
Their greens were swimming in the marinade, to which I wondered aloud if it was simply because they’d gotten the last of the greens and it wasn’t drained out.
One of my lunch companions decided to bring it up to the chef.
When the chef/owner came out, the member complimented him on an overall great meal, but had a problem finishing the greens because of how much marinade was in the bowl – overwhelming the greens.
And his following response is partly the reason why people don’t complain directly to owners, instead choosing their friends or the interwebs and costing the business unknown financial losses.
The chef/owner politely informed us that the marinated greens were SUPPOSED to have all the juice with it, that it was part of the healthiness of the juice (like pot likker?). He then went on to say that a lot of people come in not knowing what to expect from raw food and the next day look at their poop and exclaim, “Is that what just came out of me?!” and promptly share the news with their friends. Then we got an education about how healthy and better it is to eat this way (uncooked and dehydrated foods).
We laughed about the defensiveness of raw food chefs and finished our meal. Not too long after that, we were asked to leave as the restaurant was approaching their peak hours and needed the tables. It was just after 3 o’clock. The only other customer in the restaurant ordered to go. A big snowstorm was about to hit NYC.
What’s the moral of this story? 1. I observed that I was more thirsty during this raw meal than when I make my own uncooked meals (whole food juices, smoothies, salads, and other non-dehydrated dishes) 2. You need to be qualified as a raw foodist before you can criticize a dish.