Thanks to several co-workers who lead a meatless lifestyle, I've become a lot more sensitive to the tribulations that local vegetarians and vegans must endure in Kansas City restaurants. Even though I still eat meat, I find myself asking questions in dining venues that my vegetarian friends might wonder about. Are the refried beans cooked in lard? And speaking of lard, what about the biscuits -- or the pie crust?
Recently, I dined in a new upscale restaurant that offered, as the potage de jour, a bowl of potato soup prepared with caramelized onions. The waitress raved about the soup. "It's not a vegan soup," she informed us, "because it's made with cream. But it's a wonderful vegetarian soup."
For some reason, I didn't trust her.
"So is the soup made with vegetable stock?" I asked, looking up from my menu.
"No," she said. "It's made with chicken stock."
Nothing more needed to be said. This young woman was intelligent enough to suddenly make the connection: Chickens do not grow in a garden with the peas, carrots and potatoes. And on the subject of spuds, the soup -- as tasty as it was -- needed more of them.
Which restaurant offered this soup?