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I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post, how I feel a pang at paying $9 for a salad but, when you’re a vegan traveling through beef country; beggars cannot be choosers.

My family and I just took a quick trip to Nebraska.  My niece graduated from Northeastern Community College’s Vet Tech program and I wanted to be there.  I am still recovering financially from the Utah trip but my niece has worked so very hard to complete her schooling, she scored a prestigious internship, and I did not want to miss her special day.

As always, I overprepared for the roadtrip.  I packed the back of the car with two bags of groceries and a cooler, just in case I couldn’t find anything to eat anywhere in Nebraska.  But, fail to plan-plan to fail as the wise say.

We began our trip soon after my getting home from work on Thursday and planned to spend our first night in North Platte.  Thus, our first meal stop was Grandma Max’s in Big Springs.

My mother and I had perused the online menu before heading out and Grandma Max’s is NOT vegan friendly.  It looked like I could order a plain baked potato and a salad from the side menu and Grandma Max’s does have a salad bar so there were, at least, vegan options.

I ran an eye over the salad bar while waiting to be seated and was both impressed and depressed.  The lettuce and vegetables were wonderfully fresh but there were no beans, all the dressings were dairy based, and half the salad bar consisted of salads that contained dairy or eggs or both.  Even the peas had been made into a salad containing eggs, cheese, and bacon (the humanity!).  The hot side of the buffet had nothing a vegan could eat beyond white rice.  Still, there were enough veggies I could get by and it seemed there were black beans somewhere in the restaurant because they were listed in the description of the taco salad under the Side Dish listings.  I asked if I could get a side of black beans with my salad bar and the waitress was happy to comply.  My salad bar cost me a dollar less because I wasn’t doing the hot side.  My cost?  You guessed it.  $9.00.

The side of black beans ended up being more of a relish.  I got a little plastic cup filled with black beans, corn, and peppers and it made a nice topper for my plate of lettuce and veggies.  As I couldn’t eat any of the dressings (even the Italian was creamy), I asked for extra lemon wedges.  I read in one of Julianna Hever’s posts that she squeezes fresh lemon juice over a salad in place of dressings and here was my change to try it.

The verdict?  It was quite good!  As I said, the veggies were wonderfully fresh and crisp, something that can be hit or miss at truck stops.  The lemon juice was tangy on the vegetables and my black bean relish added a hint of grilled flavor.  All in all, I was very pleased with my vegan dinner at Grandma Max’s.

My meal ticked several of my diet boxes.  It was mostly raw and completely oil free.  It did take a long time to eat though and I can’t thank my family enough for their patience.  A plate of roughage takes a long time to chew through at the best of times and I’ve become rather aware of chewing since reading my book on macrobiotics.  I always thought I chewed my food well enough: it wasn’t like I inhaled food off my plate and swallowed it whole but, since beginning to study macrobiotics,  I’ve tried to slow down and thoroughly chew my food.  The result has been interesting.  There are several things I can’t eat anymore because they become disgusting as they’re chewed but, oddly enough, I taste the sweetness in vegetables as I focus on chewing them.

My point being, if you find yourself at Grandma Max’s, chewing your way through a plate of raw veggies touched with a squeeze of fresh lemon, prepare your traveling companions for the time it will take.  Or, maybe order the baked potato.


My $9.00 Salad!