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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How survive being damned to vegan hell (aka how to survive a trip to Cracker Barrel).

If you've ever been on a road trip (especially in the South) you've more than likely eaten in, or have at least seen a Cracker Barrel Restaurant/store. They are everywhere! For those of you who haven't been in one, Cracker Barrel is part store and part restaurant. When you first walk in, you'll see the store, which is set up to look like a little mom and pop country store. They sell candy, toys, jewelry, candle, soap, clothes, ect. I must admit, I love to shop in the store. They sell some unique and beautiful things. Cracker Barrel is also generally a safe and clean place to stop and take a bathroom break on the road, so they do have some positive things going for them. The back half is the restaurant. This is where things get very tricky for us vegans. Almost everything on the menu has milk, butter, or meat in it. The really scary part is that if you read the fine print on the menu, it says this:

 "We want to make sure you know that some of our offerings, like turnip greens, green beans, corn muffins, hashbrown casserole and pinto beans, are made the old-fashioned way using meat seasonings and are not strictly vegetarian. Please ask your server about any particular dish if you have any questions. " (emphasis mine) Click here to see this statement for yourself. Yeah, you read that right. Now you can see why I call this place vegan hell!

Unfortunately, I am the only vegan in a family of omnivores and Cracker Barrel is my mom's favorite restaurant. So occasionally I get roped into going there. On Monday my mom, dad, and I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner to celebrate her birthday. We asked the server if they had anything vegan on the menu. The server checked with the kitchen and they said that the only vegan options that they had to offer were a salad, plain applesauce, baked potato, steamed carrots, and corn. I was hoping to get oatmeal, but they only offer that until 10:30 am. I ended up getting the salad,applesauce, carrots, and corn. They were pretty good, but I later found out that the carrots and corn are made with margarine (which may or may not be vegan). Needless to say I left the restaurant fairly hungry.

If you find yourself on the road with your omni family who are insisting on eating at Cracker Barrel, I suggest you take a look at this website . It's called Vegan Eating Out and they have posted an E-mail from Cracker Barrel outlining which items are vegan and which are vegetarian. As you can see, the options are limited.

Overall, if you are a vegan on the road and you need a safe place to take a break, then Cracker Barrel is great. But I'd highly advise avoiding the food if possible (unless you really want oatmeal or a plain potato).

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