Tuesday, January 15, 2013

At Cracker Barrel restaurants, some of the 'vegetables' hide meat

The homey dining room of a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Small bowls of turnip greens, left, and pinto beans contain ham. The sweet potato is cut open and served with a couple of spoons of brown sugar inside.


On vacations, my family soon learned that Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores were among the few reliable roadside places to eat, have coffee and rest up for the next few hours in the car.

On Monday, when I visited Mechanicsburg, Pa., I made sure to stop at a Cracker Barrel for a light lunch before driving back to New Jersey.

Looking over the menu, I saw a list of vegetables and side dishes, and decided to order a Country Vegetable Plate -- four selections for $7.59 -- because I don't eat meat.

The menu said nothing more about the vegetables, only that they are prepared "in the traditional country style."

My platter included okra -- beautifully fried -- but I added hot sauce for flavor.

 Greens with ham

Cracker Barrel serves turnip -- not collard -- greens, but I know they are usually prepared with turkey or meat, and asked the waitress.

She came back from the kitchen and said the turnip greens contained ham, but I ordered them anyway, thinking I could separate the meat from the greens.

I was wrong. There was shredded ham throughout the greens, and I didn't eat most of them.

The pinto beans I ordered contained diced ham, but the pieces were easily removed. A sweet potato and fried okra completed my platter.

The Cracker Barrel menu could be more helpful to people like me who want to avoid meat. 

And the Tennessee-based restaurant chain might consider making non-meat versions of greens, beans and other side dishes.


  1. Cracker Barrel is great for me as their chicken and turkey is antibiotic free and I am highly allergic to the antibiotics that are fed to animals.

  2. Yes they should make vegetarian vegetables. Not every body eats pork products.


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