I Survived a Vegetarian Meal: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival Against All Odds

I’ve been eating meat since day 1. It’s true–I emerged from the womb and immediately ordered a steak. Look it up on Wikipedia.

At every dinner for the last 36 years, I’ve eaten an animal. Salmon, cow, octopus, emu, alligator, frog, chicken, turkey, cricket…the list goes on. Somehow I’ve always managed to find meat and devour it.

Until last Friday.

I found myself sitting at a table with a few friends at Small Batch, a restaurant near the theater where we would soon be watching Raiders of the Lost Ark in symphony. The menu had a variety of delicious sounding dishes…but something seemed off.

I couldn’t find the meat.

My heart rate rose as I desperately flipped through the menu, searching for any sign of animal flesh. There was page after page of every whiskey known to man, but not a single dish with meat.

I did what any sane person would do: I made a run for it.

But I was too late. The servers had seen the wild look in my eyes, and they were no stranger to this situation. They barred the doors and surrounded me. I put up a fight, taking down several of them, but there was only one of me and dozens of them. They tied me to the chair with green onions and left me to die.

My friends started monologing, revealing the elaborate plot they had devised to lure me to the restaurant. They had been planning this for years, carefully planting a garden of lies, manipulations, and red herrings. Plant-based red herrings.

When the food arrived, I clamped my jaw shut, buying time. Little did my friends know that I always carry a grilled pork belly in my back pocket. I was slowly but surely wiggling free of my restraints, and soon I would dine on swine.

‘Twas not to be. Without warning, the server ripped my mouth open and shoved inside a spicy chickpea taco with raita sauce, red cabbage, and pickled cucumber. Like any good waiter, they had duct tape on hand, and within a millisecond my mouth was taped shut.

I had no choice but to chew.

And chew.

And chew.

Then something remarkable happened. I realized…I realized that I liked it. Yes, there was no meat, and I knew I would starve to death mid-flatulence within the hour. But the taco was delicious. It wasn’t trying to be meat. It was its own thing. And it was good.

I gestured for the server to remove the duct tape, and I took another bite of the taco. The raita sauce was a beautiful complement to the spicy chickpeas and the crunchy cabbage. Even the soft tortilla shell was perfect.

With grace and poise that finished my meal, the pork belly in my pocket long forgotten. I continued on to the theater without stopping for fried chicken, and I even went to bed that night without a single bite of rib roast.

Look, I don’t like to use the words “hero,” “saint,” or “legend.” Those are your words, not mine. I’m just a normal guy who single-handedly saved the environment by eating a vegetarian meal.

I’m Jamey Stegmaier, and this is my true tale of survival.


For other true tales of survival, scroll to the bottom of this page.

12 Responses to “I Survived a Vegetarian Meal: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival Against All Odds”

  1. Emma says:


  2. Jeff Spenner says:

    Ah, Jamey…Mira and I remember this a little differently. It was more like…How Jamey Stole Vegetarian Dining. Everyone, here’s the other side of the story:

    Every person down in Small Batch liked their veggies a lot…
    But Jamey, who always insisted on eating meat, did NOT!
    Jamey hated Vegetarian dishes! The whole meatless lot!
    Now, please don’t ask why, he’s a bit of a snot.
    It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
    It could be, perhaps, that his pants were too tight.
    But I think that the most likely reason of all,
    May have been that his colon was two sizes too small.
    Whatever the reason, his bowels or his shoes,
    He sat there that evening, hating all but the booze.
    Staring down at his menu with a sour, Grinchy frown,
    At the wonderful dishes on the clipboard of brown.
    For he knew every food on the paper he had,
    Had no meat to behold, and that made him quite sad.
    “They have tacos and pasta!” he snarled with a sneer,
    “But without any meat? That is really quite queer!”
    Then he growled, with his ten fingers nervously drumming,
    “With all this vegetable fiber, it’ll undo my plumbing!”
    For tomorrow, he knew, may wreck havoc below,
    He would wake bright and early – to the toilet he’d go!
    And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
    Noise! Noise! Noise!
    That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE!
    Then the fiber, having worked, would have him be regular.
    And he’d poo! And he’d poo! And he’d poo!
    POO! POO! POO!
    After a feast on some veggies, there’d be no more to do.
    Which was something that Jamey couldn’t stand, no thank you!
    And THEN would be something, though good, he’d still be upset!
    He’d feel better! And lighter! His system reset.
    He’d be much more healthy, a balancing diet.
    His friends tried to tell him, but he wouldn’t buy it!
    They’d plead! And they’d plead! And they’d plead!
    And the more Jamey thought he was just eating weeds,
    The more Jamey thought, “Meat! A man has his needs!”
    “Why, for thirty-six years I’ve had meat every meal!”
    “I MUST stop this awful food from coming! For real!”
    Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
    “I know just what to do!” Jamey laughed in his throat.
    And he pulled out some meat balls right out of his coat.
    And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great meaty trick!”
    “With this coat and this beef, I’ll make my own nice picnic!”
    “All I need is a fryer…” Jamey looked around.
    But, since the kitchen was far, there was none to be found.
    Did that stop Jamey? No! Jamey simply said,
    “If I can’t find a fryer, I’ll use the candle instead!”
    So he tried all his best, holding meatball to flame,
    And he burnt his hand slightly, just himself to blame.
    After nursing his wound, he gave up this plan,
    though still desperate for meat, of which he’s a big fan.
    Then Jamey said, “Aha!” And pulled out his phone,
    And he tried dialing for pizza, before his plan became known.
    His friends all stopped him. Quiet sulking filled the air.
    All his friends knew he’d like it, though he didn’t care.
    The waitress then came with her orderbook square.
    “I guess I’ll take the tacos,” Jamey hissed,
    And he sat at the table, his burnt hands both in fists.
    Then his friends ordered, too, knowing the goodness to come.
    But Jamey, thinking of meat, just looked glum.
    He’d never not had it, not at dinner or lunch.
    He liked all his animal protein a bunch.
    After dinner on the way to the concert, he thought,
    “I’ll just visit a drive thru.” He grinned, “And I’ll order a lot!”
    Then he slithered and slunk, with a scowl most unpleasant,
    through pre-dinner conversation, full of fear and resentment!
    Chickpeas! And carrots! Chopped cabbage and raita!
    Buttered bread! Wantons! Spices! Enough for later!
    And he stabbed at the tacos with his fork. Then he, very nimbly,
    Slid them around his plate, one by one, grumbing grimly.
    Then he slunk back in his chair, this was nobody’s feast!
    Where’s the steak? Where’s the bacon? And where’s the roast beast?
    He’d clean out an icebox as quick as a flash.
    Why, Jamey would eat the last can of Who-hash!
    Then, stuffed with the food, he would smile with glee.
    “But NOW!” groaned Jamey, “I’ll be hungry, by 8:53!”
    And Jamey sat there and glared for what seemed like an era,
    When he happened to hear the voice of his friend Mira.
    He turned around fast, and he looked at her face.
    Vegetarian Mira, who’d brought him to this place..
    In his poor meatless state, he’d completely forgot her,
    She’d looked up from a drink from her cup of cold water.
    She stared at Jamey and said, “Jamey, why,”
    “Will you not eat your tacos? Not even give them a try?”
    But, you know, that old Jamey was so smart and so slick,
    He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
    “Why, Mira my friend,” That old Jamey lied,
    “I’m certain I ordered the sauce on the side.”
    “So I’m sending it back to the kitchen, my dear.”
    “They’ll fix it up there. Then they’ll bring it back here.”
    And his fib fooled his friend. She went back to her meal,
    And he drank from his drink hating veggies with zeal..
    And after Mira began once again to sup,
    He had pains of hunger, and he almost gave up!
    But the last thing he wanted was a meatless repast!
    So he further resolved that his will would outlast.
    Off his plate he’d eat nothing, he’d treat tonight like a fast.
    And the one speck of food that he left on his fork,
    Was a chickpea that was in no way near to pork.
    Then he sat watching his friends each with their separate meals,
    They weren’t too adherent to his great appeals!
    It was quarter past five… All his friends, still enjoying,
    All his friends, still eating, happily – annoying!
    Loving their pasta! The rangoons! The mushrooms!
    The pad thai! And the cheese! The cocktails! The rangoons!
    His own food untouched, save for when his fork bumped it,
    He looked ’round for a trash can to dump it!
    “PoohPooh to the veggies!” he was grinchishly humming.
    “I like some good meat to clog up my plumbing!”
    “My friends are finishing up! I know just what I’ll do!”
    “That Rally’s we passed, it has a drive-thru,
    Then I’ll get a good burger and a fry or two!”
    “That’s a meal,” grinned Jamey, “That is simply yummy!”
    So he paused. And Jamey, put his hand to his tummy.
    He was hungry and so it grumbled, and whoa,
    It started in low. Then it started to grow.
    So he took a small bite of his tacos, so wary,
    But it couldn’t be so! It was tasty, and VERY!
    He stared at his plate. Jamey popped his eyes!
    Then he shook! What he tasted was a shocking surprise!
    Every one of his taste buds, those receptors so small,
    Was happy! Without any meat product at all!
    He liked the vegetarian tacos as they came!
    Somehow or other, it tasted just the same!
    And Jamey, with his face embarrassed flushed all aglow,
    Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
    “It’s good with out ground beef! It’s good without ham!”
    “It’s good without chicken, bison, or spam!”
    And he puzzled three minutes, till his puzzler was sore.
    Then Jamey thought of something he hadn’t before!
    “Maybe dinner,” he thought, “doesn’t come from some flesh.”
    “Maybe dinner…perhaps…can be a little more fresh!”
    And what happened then? Well…his friends, they say,
    That Jamey’s small colon grew three sizes that day!
    And the minute his pants didn’t feel quite so tight,
    He loved the cuisine his friends introduced him to that night!
    And he ate all his food! He enjoyed all the feast!
    And he, HE HIMSELF! Jamey craved not roast beast!

    With many apologies to Dr. Seuss…

  3. Steve Klemish says:

    Wow. I am impressed! Jamey, that was hilarious. But I have to say, Jeff’s reply is absolutely Epic! Bravo!

  4. Conor McGoey says:

    LOL! Well done Jamey and well done Jeff! Wait your a veggie … so… raw done Jeff? 😉 a great read from both of you!

    • Jeffrey Spenner says:

      Oh, I’m not a veggie. I’m just married to one and, since I’m the cook, I know well the greatness that can be vegetarian cuisine. Thanks, though! 🙂

  5. Joe Babbitt says:

    Small Batch is pretty fantastic.

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