Vegetarian Envy

Dinner, Recipes, Seasonal Foods
on April 1, 2011

My husband Bill, a vegetarian, doesn’t make a fuss about his food choices, but for dinner parties, I try to give him a special entrée. Whenever I do, a curious phenomenon occurs. I call it “Veggie Envy.”

The first time I noticed this was during wedding rehearsal dinner I was catering. I served grilled beef tenderloin to the guests and eggplant roulades to Bill. One by one, those seated near Bill sent they requests back to the kitchen to me: Could they have a roulade, too?

Another remarkable incident took place at our annual lobster pot dinner. Wanting to give Bill something “seafoody” while the rest of us were dining on lobster tails, I made zucchini cakes, which taste remarkably like crab cakes. Despite the drawn butter and succulent lobster meat, everyone at the table looked with longing at Bill’s plate. “What are those?” “Don’t we get one?” “Are you sure there’s no crab in these?”

Simple to make, we served the zucchini cakes recently at a fundraising dinner for our local food bank. Again, they sparked good-natured arguments about their true nature, ending in a bidding war for the recipe.

—By Nancy Vienneau, a food writer in Nashville, Tenn.

Related: Zucchini Cakes