Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vegetarian Naval Officer

For my last tour, a cruiser out of Norfolk, I was actually the Food Service Officer (FSO). We had a set menu, a 21-day rotating carnivorous delight that allowed very little tinkering. We served two meat options for breakfast and three each for lunch and dinner. Admittedly, there was plenty of food, and much of it fresh. A far far cry from hardtack and grog and scurvy to be sure, but it's still difficult when you're a vegetarian. My proposals to Big-Navy for increasing vegetarian and vegan options on the grounds that it was healthier, cheaper, safer and more supportive of physical and operational requirements predictably fell on deaf ears and so I settled into a routine of rotating condiments on my mashed potatoes.

My conscience requires that I disclose that the Navy's Standard Menu did include a weekly veggie burger (availability permitting), but can I still get a collective eye roll from my fellow vegetarians? I've been off the ship for over a year now, but this week's mandatory fun event, a change-of-command dinner, offers a menu that flooded back those salty memories. From a discussion with our wardroom officer regarding the bill of fair for the dinner:
Zak, as you can see, there are many options for a vegetarian at the Water Street Saloon. This is the menu we are able to order off of for Saturday. You can choose from the fresh catch o' the day, shrimp, seafood sampler, crab cakes, seafood pasta jambalaya, shroom chicken, hand cut rib-eye, or a side spring salad with walnut and dead-animal juices dressing.

What sounds good?

BANQUET ROOM MENU
$18.09

Guest’s will be able to select one entrĂ©e from the choices below:

Fresh Catch of the Day
8oz filet of fish mesquite grilled or blackened.

Gulf Shrimp
Eight gulf shrimp butterflied, lightly breaded, and deep-fried.

Seafood Sampler
Five-ounce filet of Tilapia, two shrimp, and two oysters deep-fried.

Crab Cakes
Three delicious cakes, consisting of crabmeat and our signature mixture of seasonings served deep-fried.

Seafood Pasta Jambalaya
Pasta tossed in an Andouille cream sauce with shrimp, succulent crawfish tails, smoked chicken, Andouille sausage, and fresh vegetables.

Brandy Mushroom Chicken
8oz breast of chicken, marinated and mesquite grilled, served w/ Brandy Mushroom sauce.

Hand Cut Rib Eye
10oz steak hand cut, and grilled to perfection.

All Entrees Served with a Crisp Spring Salad w/ our Famous Walnut Dressing, Water Street Rice, Vegetable, Freshly Baked Bread, Ice Tea and/or Coffee.

I can't wait to move to Austin.