Cooking for none vegetarians - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-21-2015, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Philadelphia suburbs
Posts: 76
Cooking for none vegetarians

I'm sure this is a topic that has been brought up many times but I want to know after discussing how I feel where you can all relate and possibly help me out.

I used to cook dinner a lot for my family (I'm in my twenties and I got used to enjoying cooking up until the beginning of my twenties) - now I feel off base/pushed away from their dinner habits because of me changing to vegetarian. They're not against it but my parents in particular basically put it simply that they wont change the way they eat - and I don't have anything against them.

With that aside - what do you do if you like cooking but are feeling 'too good to admit people still eat chicken' (and those are my own words because that is just an example of how I feel)?

I can't picture myself preparing meat anymore, I NEVER liked putting my hands in raw meat at any age and now I know why but even chicken (which is what I could say weened me off of the meat wagon, is now the obstacle I see most people still making my life tough. Please note I don't blame anyone for anything this is just me opening up and relaying my mind. So for example I see myself making xmas dinner for basically myself, although I think I can incorporate it into the whole meal, and see others catching on to how good it is to eat vegetarian and how a lot of the time it's possible to do so and not change anything you're already doing.

But what about the turkey? I don't even cooking near someone whose cooked meat (especially any type of fish, as a) I'm allergic to tuna, and b) we all know fish is a thick scent and doesn't mix well with other dishes sometimes) - so the turkey they (my family) will be cooking, what do I say/do? Do I participate? Do I put gloves on? Sorry for the basic questions but what do you all do? I try to envision a life where these things such as animal cruelty, and even eating animals, are gone, so every time I get near such a situation I feel I'm failing myself.

Last edited by highlyoriginal; 12-21-2015 at 02:44 PM.
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#2 Old 12-21-2015, 03:06 PM
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Location: Central Virginia, USA
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What you cook should align with your beliefs, and once you have control over your own kitchen, this will be possible 100% of the time. Until then, offer to cook at least one vegetarian (vegan) dish for the family and let the meat-eaters prepare their own dishes as sides. If they get busy or lazy, oh well, you'll have a lovely vegetarian meal instead.

I would encourage you to be as gracious as you can be. Until you have your own kitchen, you're not in a position to complain if your family continues to eat the way they always have.
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#3 Old 12-21-2015, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: US Midwest
Posts: 187
Yes, you can't dictate what people eat or prepare in their own kitchen, but I personally, would not prepare any meat for anyone. Just make some delicious vegetarian dishes for yourself, make enough to share, and ignore the turkey as much as possible.

Since you like to cook, there are plenty of wonderful things you can cook that everyone will enjoy. After the holidays (people have so many memories and traditions associated with this time of year that food can be a surprisingly sensitive subject) why not experiment with preparing some vegetarian entrees for your family? There are plenty of "naturally" vegetarian dishes that don't involve anything off-putting (i.e. tofu) that your family might enjoy and that you could enjoy preparing for them.

Even the meatiest of meat-eaters don't need to eat it at every meal (and it really isn't good for us to do so.)
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#4 Old 12-21-2015, 05:45 PM
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I've lived with an omnivore almost five years as a vegan. From the start I made it clear I would and will not handle or cook animal products. I am also the cook of our house and the breadwinner. What I have done is find vegan foods I know my partner will like and make those for him, or I make stuff like baked potatoes or tacos (I make a mean red lentil/bulgur wheat taco mix) or spaghetti, and he adds his stuff to his and I add my own stuff to mine.

If your family expects you to help out, you can still make vegetarian food for yourself and share, and you can offer to do other stuff like dishes and clean up, or help with grocery shopping so you can pick out what you need.

I set aside a time, away from the kitchen and food, to talk to my family and friends about why veganism is so important to me. I tried to do it in a nonjudgmental way, to make it more about me and what I learned, and not accusing others. But it was important for them to understand why I decided to go vegan and that the decision was and is very serious and not something to dismiss. My Mom still likes to give me a hard time sometimes when I visit her house and I read the labels of products she offers to put on my meal (nine times out of ten those products contain some animal ingredient I am not comfortable consuming, and my Mom does not read labels well). She'll tell me I am being too extreme and ridiculous, and yes it does hurt to be ridiculed in a condescending tone and not taken seriously, but I have learned to take it with a grain of salt.

I think it is really important to communicate your wishes with your family and why they are important to you, so that they have some kind of understanding. It may be difficult at first, so be willing to go out of your way in other regards to make up for the changes that may be hard for them. But also stand your ground and be consistent. When they see that this is truly important to you and not just a fad, they will begin to respect your decision more, especially if you work hard and take good care of yourself. Hang in there!

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel

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#5 Old 12-21-2015, 05:51 PM
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Holiday meals really can shine with veg'n offering as the stars. Stuffing, all kinds of potato dishes, the relish trays of olives and pickled things, waldorf salad, cranberries, that 'ambrosia salad' with the canned mandarins, pineapple, and coconut that often has marshmallows but doesn't need them if you use full fat coconut creme, cashew cheeze balls and this spinach dip that I brought for a work potluck and everyone loved--

I box silken tofu (firm is best)
I bag or box chopped spinach thawed and drained
between 1/2 and 2/3 cup vegan mayo
I envelope french onion soup/dip mix
Not sure how much lemon juice I used -- maybe 1/4 cup--taste
a jar of artichoke hearts if everyone like them

Blend in food processor. Fridge overnight. warm with Vegan mozzerella is divine, but that may just be me...
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#6 Old 12-21-2015, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Philadelphia suburbs
Posts: 76
Thank you all for the replies.

Naturebound, you definitely answered some questions for me that I needed to see someone else answer - thank you for your post.

I also do not feel as off-put as I did just hours ago, so once again thank you everyone for the replies.
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