The other day I overheard a conversation amongst vegans:
“You HAVE to try this ice-cream. It's soy free!”
“Really? Where did you get that? I bought the most incredible vegan mustard last week, no oils added.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for vegans. I cannot imagine a diet lacking in obscure cheeses or scrambled eggs. I appreciate Iowa City for its organic-conscious atmosphere, and vegan restaurants such as The Red Avocado and Fair Grounds Coffeehouse. But when does eco-friendly behavior become borderline crazy? In the television series Portlandia, the vegans, dumpster divers, and feminist librarians of the unique city are shown in a humorous light.
In one particular skit, a hip adult couple is shown ordering food at a restaurant. They ask their server about the chicken on the menu. What did the chicken eat? What about the farm? Is it local? How big is the area where the chickens are allowed to roam free?
To calm the couple’s nerves the waitress fetches a portfolio of the chicken, complete with a heavy stack of papers and a photo of the deceased bird. Luckily the chicken, which goes by the name of Collin, had 4 acres to roam. He ate a diet of soy, whey and hazelnuts, and lived on a farm approximately 30 minutes away. Before ordering a meal, the couple decides to double check on Collin’s environment by visiting the farm.
As I watch the show pigging out on high calorie, soy induced ice cream, it seems as if Portland and Iowa City may not be so different after all. In fact, the more I watch the more I get angry at Whole Foods for being corporate, and realize that dumpster diving may not be a shabby gig. The show portrays Portland as strange, yet so inexplicably wonderful.