Meatless in Kansas City

by Anne Bennett on January 11, 2012

Today’s New York Times features an article in the Dining section about Kansas City! This could be construed as good news for us Midwesterners, who–let’s face it–are aware that the folks in the East and the West generally consider the central part of the country as a place you experience from no closer than 30,000 feet as you fly from one end of the country to the other.

The author has been recently relocated to the land of beefeaters (and I’m not talking gin here) to report on the Midwest for the Times. (You have to wonder what he did to deserve such a fate.)

The poor guy is a vegetarian! Of course, the first restaurants he visits are the Golden Ox Steak House and Arthur Bryant’s legendary Barbecue, where the only completely meatless option (the fries are cooked in lard!) is a mug of Budweiser.

According to him, the most common salad ingredient here is iceberg lettuce. A Chinese restaurant provides him with the best meatless sustenance he can find–a plate of tofu.

Now, all of this makes for quite comical reading, and I can picture New Yorkers smugly chuckling into their latte cups this morning as they read this.

While I can understand that some parts of the Midwest (he must travel to places like Iowa City and Omaha!) might provide less-than-stellar veggie fare, we denizens of Kansas City regularly munch such big-city delicacies as arugula and watercress. At this moment I have rainbow Swiss Chard in my refrigerator, and I didn’t even buy it so that I could say so!

I’m a born-and-raised Northern Californian (alfalfa¬†sprouts were invented there) who has lived in the Midwest for the last 30 years. I am frankly relieved that, due to the arrogance of a displaced New Yorker, our secret remains secure.

Don’t move here. Please. The fewer Easterners, the more arugula for us.



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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike January 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Anne- I was going to send this to you, I just saw it. And let’s not be knocking Iowa City, please. Some of my fondest memories are from my college days there. That’s the parts that I remember, anyway. And I think the statue of limitations is up by now anyhow.

The Midwest imust be the target of people from the East Coast of late. Some transplanted New Jersy professor, who has been teaching in the journalism dept at Iowa had an on-line article in The Atlantic Monthly online about the REAL Iowa:

Let the East Coast snobbery think this is a lousy place to live, work, eat. We know better.

Sharon January 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Geesh. You don’t have to look very hard to find some great places to eat vegetarian and even vegan in Kansas City. FUD has a great vegan BBQ sandwich — he should have gone there! : ) But, alas, like so many, he didn’t call me for advice…! And, ditto on Iowa City — I went to grad school there and had a great time!! Sharon

Connie Fairbanks January 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

There’s a very good restaurant in Iowa City with many vegetarian options. It’s Chef’s Table – fabulous.

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