Trying to make it easier on those who cook dinner for me. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-30-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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I need some advice. My aunt offered to make me a bday dinner and I reminded her that I'm vegetarian. She sounded frustrated and asked me several time if I would absolutely not eat any meat. I felt so bad, but I am totally firm on not eating meat. I'm not vegan so cheese and milk and eggs are okay, but I feel like it's going to be a big family ordeal and I'd like to make it easier on them. Also there is no trader joes or whole foods where she lives so I'm not sure if she could get fake meat. 

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#2 Old 08-30-2013, 09:43 AM
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You could eat the side dishes? Does eveything they make havr animals in it? Do they eat salads w ok th every meal? If so, eat a bigger salad.

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#3 Old 08-30-2013, 08:02 PM
 
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Even their salads and most of their veggies have meet in it :/. But my Aunt wanted to make me this special dinner and I'm making it hard on her :/. 

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#4 Old 08-30-2013, 08:40 PM
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What about spaghetti? They can put meatballs in theirs and leave yours alone. Spaghetti is super easy and if your aunt wants to cook more fancy she can chop celery and herbs to put in it. Vegetarian doesn't need to be difficult. Or she could make enchiladas or tacos and just put beans in yours.
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#5 Old 08-30-2013, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ime Caldwell View Post
 

I need some advice. My aunt offered to make me a bday dinner and I reminded her that I'm vegetarian. She sounded frustrated and asked me several time if I would absolutely not eat any meat. I felt so bad, but I am totally firm on not eating meat. I'm not vegan so cheese and milk and eggs are okay, but I feel like it's going to be a big family ordeal and I'd like to make it easier on them. Also there is no trader joes or whole foods where she lives so I'm not sure if she could get fake meat.

Have you told your aunt you can have a make your own pizza or taco bar? Just make sure she has daiya cheese (or bring some--not all dairy cheeses are vegetarian) and have several bowls of veggies and beans and meat for everyone. You get an excellent bday meal, no one is put out, and your aunt doesn't have to worry about lack of food. And happy early birthday to you. :o


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#6 Old 08-30-2013, 11:04 PM
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Even their salads and most of their veggies have meet in it :/. But my Aunt wanted to make me this special dinner and I'm making it hard on her :/. 

 

Well it doesn't seem that hard to just leave the meat on the side?  Like, if the salad has chicken or bacon in it, that can just be put on the side, or you can take a serving, and then it can be mixed in.  

 

Does she cook with lard?  Can she use margarine just for this one meal?  If she uses chicken broth, can't she just use vegetable broth for one meal?  

 

Can you find some recipes she might be willing to follow?  Or just say, I want a salad with x, y, z vegetables, pasta, and this type of dressing, but no meat...  

 

It sounds like it's just a foreign way to cook for her, and if things could really be spelled out what you want (rather than what you don't want - meat), that might make it easier on her?  Good luck!  If she enjoys cooking, it may be that in time, she starts to see it as a challenge and not a burden - at least I hope so :)


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#7 Old 08-30-2013, 11:36 PM
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When I was younger I always turned down these passive-aggressive "favors" attacking my moral choices. "Thanks, but since cooking something in respect of MY CHOICES in celebration of MY BIRTHDAY doesn't seem logical or obvious to you, I'd rather pass. I love you (all/individual) but the one thing that I would love more than anything for my birthday is a little respect for the choices I make, even if you don't agree with them.

 

I don't know how old you are and I don't know if you have access to food on your own, but you are a vegetarian, correct? As such, you have managed to maintain that eating habit. You don't NEED your aunt's food. She acts as if she is doing you a birthday favor, and the guilting is working on you. However, your birthday should be a celebration of your life, your choices and your future. You have made a decision that is yours to live by, and it sounds like you are almost considering giving in for the day because your aunt feels inconvenienced.

 

You don't need her food; you are being inconvenienced, disrespected and having the enjoyment of your birthday diminished by having choices that you don't want pushed on you. I hope you are strong enough to resist this sort of familial pressuring and to be strong.

 

I hope in spite of all of this that you have a good birthday and that someone in your family shows you any sort of respect for the choices that you have made. Just by making a choice that ISN'T based on you, that is based on the respect of other lives, and it is something that you actually "suffer" for (we all suffer to a degree socially for something that is still quite stigmatized by-and-large), you deserve that respect.

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#8 Old 08-31-2013, 06:16 AM
 
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Yes, I might just say forget it, but she might be hurt-- so I think I'm just going to try to explain how easy it is to keep meat out of things because she does not use lard. At home, while my parents don't like it they don't mind too much cause all my groceries end up being cheaper or I just buy it myself and I have never asked them to cook me a meal. I'm hoping me showing her how easy it is will put less stress on her(: Thanks for the advice and my bday was on the 23rd, but thanks for the bday wishes. 

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#9 Old 08-31-2013, 07:18 AM
 
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Let her know that you're REALLY grateful that she wants to do something nice for you, but your vegetarianism is an ineradicable part of you and your sense of self. It's who you are, and any true celebration of your birthday needs to celebrate that part of yourself.
 
Don't ever let her think that you're not appreciative though! I think she's just afraid that if she doesn't cook something she's already very familiar with, her dinner won't be as successful or enjoyable as she would like it to be, and I can sorta get how she feels if she's been cooking these dishes for years. Let her know that it's the thought that counts, and you'll be very happy with whatever she makes if she takes the effort to exclude meat.
 
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#10 Old 08-31-2013, 11:46 AM
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^
THIS!
 
Try to sit down with her, have a calm conversation where you let her know your thoughts on how to deal with the situation as well. She might feel like you're just being stubborn or unappreciative, which in turn makes her defensive and hostile. A conversation is impressively effective when it comes to calming hurt or frustrated family members :)
 
As for meals that are easy to turn into a nice time for everyone, regardless of diets:
- Taco always is a big thing in my house. I'm the only veggie, but we keep things in different bowls and everyone just assembles their own taco. Everyone's happy and everyone gets what they want. Just put a bowl of kidney beans or quinoa or something. Then she can still keep the meat in another bowl for them to eat.
 
- Pizza. Make individual pizza bases or pita pizzas. Make it fun, get the family together and encourage them to make a pizza that is entirely their own, while still retaining that family connection over a meal
 
- Salads are easily customizable. Kindly ask your aunt to prepare a salad, but set aside a portion for you without the meat in it
 
- Base your meal around side dishes. As a vegetarian, go for things like bread, beans, cheese, eggs... Talk to your aunt beforehand so that you know if she might be cooking the beans in lard or whatever. Again, ask if she could leave out a portion for you cooked in butter/oil/some other sauce.
 
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#11 Old 08-31-2013, 03:18 PM
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Hi Ime.
Here's a blog of vegetarian food that will satisfy non veggies. Some of these recipes show how to keep meat separate until the end so the veg can get his food before this step. http://www.kitchentreaty.com/30-super-fast-vegetarian-dinner-recipes-ideas-that-take-20-minutes-or-less
Your aunt probably just doesn't know how to cook vegetarian; most omnis only have a handful of recipes they make repeatedly. If she's resistant, maybe you could suggest would be fun if you cooked together, and make one of the easy recipes above, and she can make whatever she was planning for everyone else at the same time. Everyone can have some of each food then, and you're all set with vegetarian food. Happy Birthday.
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#12 Old 08-31-2013, 03:19 PM
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Check this cool recipe. Talk about easy! http://www.marthastewart.com/978784/one-pan-pasta
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#13 Old 09-01-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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^ ditto offering to cook together. It's probably likely that your aunt isn't frustrated with you but is nervous and unsure how to proceed with what she's intending to be a nice gesture. The first thing to do is to thank her for the offer.

After that, it's a matter of shifting focus. Is there some dish she makes that's already meat-free? Start by complementing that! "You know aunt soandso, i've always loved your *baked macaroni and cheese. It's awesome and I have so many great memories attached to that." Then, as LedBoots suggested, offer to cook with her. This will not only take pressure off of her but turns what could be a tough situation into one with potential for both sides to learn. For example, if  she make delicious chicken and dumplings*- Make a batch of homemade seitan** to take over and have her teach you how to make them, with you following the steps using your own ingredients. She'll get to feel like the authority in the kitchen and you'll get to share a part of your life with her.

 

 

 

(*my family (omnivores) and I (not)  are from the midwest so I'm using examples that I've thought about with my own traditions, feel free to sub in whatever makes sense here)

 

**http://www.theppk.com/2009/11/homemade-seitan/

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#14 Old 09-02-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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Thank you guys so much! I talked to her before the dinner and gave her some ideas. She made this really delicious spinach ravioli stuff. It did have chicken broth in it, but I did not make a big deal because I know she tried very hard. I am so glad she understands how serious I am about this and I will pbly try the recipie, but replacing the chicken broth for vegetable broth. 

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#15 Old 09-02-2013, 06:10 PM
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It did have chicken broth in it

 

I know people don't like change.  But it still baffles me how a literate adult fixing you a "vegetarian" dish wouldn't be able to figure out this wasn't what you meant...

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#16 Old 09-02-2013, 08:29 PM
 
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I feel they think that as long as it is not actual animal flesh it's okay. I'm one of the kind of people who appreciates people just trying. Next time she will know not to use chicken broth. 

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#17 Old 09-02-2013, 08:52 PM
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I'm glad you were able to explain it to her so she understands for next time :)


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#18 Old 09-02-2013, 09:44 PM
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I feel they think that as long as it is not actual animal flesh it's okay. I'm one of the kind of people who appreciates people just trying. Next time she will know not to use chicken broth. 


My hat is off to you, for your patience and understanding! I don't know that I would have been that generous. Still, it's very nice of your family to try. Sometimes, as others have said, it's a passive aggressive attack on your choice and other times, it's just people being worried about what to serve you.

 

Something that works for me, when trying to explain why the byproducts are also off limits is to say something like-

"I don't eat any part of the animals. When you give me food with something like rennet or animal stock in it, it's just like if you gave me fried rice with bits of pig in it. Doesn't matter how small the pieces are chopped up. It's still part of an animal. There's enough alternatives to things as well, like vegetarian friendly cheeses and vegetable stocks don't taste that different to animal ones anyway". That usually goes some way to helping them 'get it'.

Happy Birthday, by the way!

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