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Hey there, i jsut joined the site but i've been vegetarian for at least a year now and i'm slowly going into veganism. But to get to my point lol me and my family went to see other family while on vacation. And since my family is italian we're big on meatballs and sausage and other meats. I guess it's odd to say but good italian meatballs remind me of my grandmother, so naturally its all a comfort food for me. But how do i sit there and politely refuse the food, i feel horrible because my relatives made it for me. To them a meal isn't a meal without the meat. Even my mom 'forgets' most of the time. Sicne me and my sister have become vegetarian together she started to stop cooking because we tell her we can't eat what she makes.<br><br><br><br>
Anyways lol i went a little off. How do you give up that stuff? I mean i did sit there and not eat the meats and such ,but i felt really bad.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Try using veggie meats. Veggie meats make a great alternative for the real thing in cooking and recepies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Seb_0810</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Try using veggie meats. Veggie meats make a great alternative for the real thing in cooking and recepies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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Lol I do when i cook for myself, but my family doesn't really... accept the vegetarian diet. I don't think anyone in my family has tried a veggie burger in their life. I don't even think they've had tofu..
 

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For me, the holidays after i became veg were awful at first. All the traditional foods that we ate and only had at that time were so nostalgic etc.. that I felt bad about not eating them. Especially now, since some family members have passed & we don't do the usual get togethers, when those certain foods are around they remind me of old times. I just know that I don't have to eat them to remember the good ol' days. I've been wanting to find alternative recipes (especially for my mom's sugar cookies-YUM) just haven't gotten around to it yet.<br><br><br><br>
My suggestion is to start bringing your own dishes to family events. Maybe they'll become a tradition. I know my pasta salad has become a hit, and everytime i get together w/my dad's family I'm sure to make plenty of it!
 

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There are tonnes of Italian recipies that do not require meats-- cheese I think is hard though. Why not buy Mom/grandma a nice big Italian Vegitarian cookbook? Say "this is the sort of stuff I can eat." Explain that you are worried about your health and so on. Make it simple.<br><br><br><br>
Food is definately a focal point of family relationships.
 

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It is hard. Food is the center of everything it seems! Any type of socialization seems to always include some kind of food. I just try to focus on why we are getting together. The focus shouldn't be on the food but instead it should be for celebrating 'family' and being together. (Trust me, I love food). It's hard to pass up the meat, however, to some of the real oldtimers. I had to go through it at my daughter's wedding two weeks ago. My husband's aunt is 95, Italian, and saw that I wasn't eating the appetizers or dinner. I had special vegetarian dish. Someone else caught on and asked if I was vegetarian. She took it pretty well, but I did get the lecture on the need to be 'healthy'. Most people get the not eating meat thing, but find it harder to accept the no dairy/eggs, let alone reading ingredient lists for trace ingredients!
 

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I wish I could help you on this topic.. I go with what Gita said - try to find an Italian Vegetarian cookbook! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Welcome to VB, by the way! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hi.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hi:">
 

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Traditions shouldn't involve killing, if they are good ones, at least. Make your own traditions. Be proud of who you are.
 

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I say build some new traditions. As Gita pointed out, there are lots of classic Italian dishes that are meat free, and there are others that are vegan or can be veganized. Maybe you and your sister can get together, come up with some recipes, and work with your mother to see how she feels about trying some new classics. Bring your own dish to share at family gatherings.<br><br><br><br>
A lot of the classic Italian farmhouse cooking is either meat-free or uses small amounts of meat as a seasoning, because rural Italy has a long history of extreme poverty. If they're scared of things like vegetarian "meatballs," focus on foods that don't mimic meat. There are lots of great Northern Italian dishes featuring canellini beans and/or polenta. Fava beans are another popular Italian bean (although I never see them around here). In Southern Italy, of course, pasta reigns supreme.<br><br><br><br>
I have a really neat cookbook called the <b>Italian Farmhouse Cookbook</b> by Susan Herrmann Loomis, and while it's not a vegetarian cookbook, many, many of the recipes in it are either completely vegetarian or you just have to omit a small amount of pancetta or anchovies. It also contains a lot of background on the history and culture of rural Italian cuisine.<br><br><br><br>
It strikes me as funny that you would say, "And since my family is italian we're big on meatballs and sausage and other meats," because Italian cuisine for the most part is really not a meat-intensive cuisine.
 

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As said before, simply make up a batch of veggie 'meat'balls and bring them to the next gathering so you can eat with the family while still being true to yourself.<br><br><br><br>
I once asked my grandma for various family recipes and then converted them to meat-free versison which I would bring over when visiting (ever had vegan chicken fried steak? It works!). Grandma felt proud that I was carrying on her cooking even though it was vegetarian.
 

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I have Italian friends who cook for me all the time (and they are very good cooks): homemade marinara over pasta, stuffed shells with marinara, veggie lasagna with marinara. (All with ricotta.) That stuff is really really good. They've even sent me home with huge jars of marinara that I've frozen. I get the impression it's pretty easy to do a smaller pot of marinara while you're doing the big pot of meat sauce. Just divide up the sauce before you add the meat.<br><br><br><br>
Also, look for some Italian Vegetarian cookbooks. They have some good ideas, too. So, tweak the traditions, don't give up on them entirely.<br><br><br><br>
And, as long as you're still ovo-lacto you can still enjoy pizelles.
 

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eat before you go. even though the food is a big part of it, the conversation and visiting with family should be more important. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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The hardest holiday family meal for me has always been Thanksgiving, because it's one of my favorites and my family ALWAYS eats together. A few years ago I started offering to bring a side dish. I made yummy-licious stuffed squash (recipe in "The Moosewood Cookbook") and everyone loves it! It's become a tradition. Since I'm now vegan I'll modify the recipe, and I'll also ask my mom to simply not put butter in the veggies, sweet potatoes, etc. That gives me more options.<br><br><br><br>
Tesseract is right, a lot of Italian food is not meat-based - however, a lot of Italian-American food is, for some reason (uh, because Americans are freakin' obsessed with meat?!?!?). But the pasta dishes mentioned are all delicious, and "Vegan With a Vengeance" has a killer recipe for tofu basil ricotta. I made it a couple weeks ago and it was delicious. (On a side note, the whole dang cookbook is brilliant and should be on every veg's shelf) You can add the ricotta into a baked ziti dish, put it on pizza, in a panini sandwich, stuff peppers with it - the options are endless.<br><br><br><br>
There are lots of white bean dishes from the Tuscany region as well, and all that I've tried are delicious. Again, look at the better veg cookbooks for ideas. "Diet For a New World" also has a vegan pasta salad that has always been a hit at gatherings - it's one of my potluck staples.
 

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I know exactly how you feel.<br><br>
I'm Hawai'ian, and my family's big on the fish and pork! When I went to visit, they had a pig roast.<br><br>
And I'm not a huge biased vegan, I just say "whatever floats your boat," to anything. But a lot of my family was surprised that I refused the meat. My Dad's proud of me, the rest of the family just questions me haha.<br><br>
I've built up a good argument over the past 8 months. (=
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ommmmaggie</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Tesseract is right, a lot of Italian food is not meat-based - however, a lot of Italian-American food is, for some reason (uh, because Americans are freakin' obsessed with meat?!?!?).</div>
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Exactly-- it's mostly the American interpretations that are loaded with meat!<br><br><br><br>
I've been hearing a lot of props lately for both <b>Vegan with a Vengeance</b> and <b>Nonna's Italian Kitchen</b> (by Bryanna Clark Grogan). I'll have to look into them.
 

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oh yes the tofu basil ricotta recipe from vegan with a veng is awesome!!!!!!! i copied it from the library copy of the book, but i am buying the book for myself, the recipes are really good...........my hubby loved this recipe i used it in lasagne.........<br><br>
on a side note, i used the gimme lean sausage style with my moms italian meatball recipe and they were fabulous, the meat eaters in my family loved them!!!!!!!!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>penny79</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Traditions shouldn't involve killing, if they are good ones, at least. Make your own traditions. Be proud of who you are.</div>
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agreed
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Exactly-- it's mostly the American interpretations that are loaded with meat!<br><br><br><br>
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I'm not so sure about that. I just came back from a week in Tuscany and I'm glad I had access to a kitchen to cook my own meals because the veggie options in Tuscan hill town restaurants were minimal if existant at all. Tuscans love steak!
 
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