Marillac Leaves Vegatarians Hungry

Students walking into the Marrilac cafeteria have been accustomed to settling for whatever is available. We have realized that we shouldn’t expect to have a Sizzler or Applebee’s in our school food court, and there really is a variety of food for students. Vegetarians, however, who have voluntarily opted to restrict their diets, have it tough. There are only so many times vegetarians can eat the vegetable pizza with three pieces of onion on it and two microscopic pieces of green pepper. The infamous bean burrito has become a regular meal for many. And still others settle for eating a side of corn for lunch.

Vegetarians know they have a limited selection of food both in school and out. However, with a significant population of vegetarians in our university, the school must recognize the number of starving individuals. Vegetarians have reached a threshold of helplessness and hunger.

Aramark is an independent food service that provides much of the food in St. John’s. The choices they make are influenced directly by what sells, and what doesn’t. The cafeteria has tried to sell halal meat some time ago. The idea was unsuccessful and Muslim students were not buying it. Religious Jews need not be vegetarians because all meat served at St. John’s is kosher. Observant Catholics have a choice of fish on Fridays.

All soups provided by St. John’s are for non-vegetarians only. They all contain a chicken or a beef base. The usual corn and mashed potatoes will never be changed because of popular demand, and even though prices are not higher for vegetarians, they definitely are not lower. Even without meat, meals cost the same. However, there are some alternative choices for vegetarians, though many people are not aware of some of the meals available to them.

Burger King Express has a veggie burger, which is heated on a separate grill for vegetarians only. Cranberry Farms has been trying to rotate vegetable side dishes, alternating between green beans and mixed vegetables. Taco Bell has vegetarian Gorditas, and can substitute any other taco or burrito with refried beans. If you have a few extra bucks in your wallet, you can try a salad without chicken or a grilled vegetable wrap. Bene Pizza always has a vegetarian pasta dish available, and their spinach pizza isn’t too bad. The deli can make sandwiches with only lettuce, tomatoes, and up to four slices of cheese. Sushi is available in the cafeteria as well, for those who enjoy a Japanese flavor. Fresh fruits are always available, though there could be a larger variety than just apples and bananas.

For those who still aren’t satisfied, don’t give up yet. Changes are being made in Marillac cafeteria. Soups will be vegetarian once, if not twice a week. Sobe, a popular health drink, will be added to the evolving menu. There is the possibility of adding read beans and chick peas added to the Pangeos wraps and salads. Veggie and soy-based patties will be considered at the deli. Eggplant parmesan might replace the chicken parmesan once a week, and another side of vegetables could be added. The most encouraging news is that the Food Production Management is always looking for novel ideas and suggestions. Even though it’s hard to believe at times, the suggestion box is reviewed and considered.

Being a vegetarian is a tough position to hold, but the bottom line is that a stronger choice of vegetarian food would be beneficial to all people. Vegetarian food is healthy and, though the Marillac cafeteria has made stride in their efforts to make vegetarians feel comfortable, much more improvement is needed.

It may be on its way.