Catering to Fussy Non-Vegans

34 thoughts on “Catering to Fussy Non-Vegans”

  1. Great blog Kara! I feel so bad for what you had to go through with those bullies, we’ve all been there!! Yesterday we have the 3rd Anual Vegan Festival, it was awesome and the food was delicious, as soon as I got home with plenty of vegan food my family jumped over me to give them some, we had falafel wraps, burritos, burgers, cakes, pizza…and they loved it!! Although they’re not vegans, they do love vegan food, at first (as everyone) they were skeptic but once they tried the vegan food it made them realize that it is exactly the same they eat, the only difference is that it is way healthier and way more delicious, if only people knew how easy it is to go vegan! I did it overnight, my last night as a vegetarian I was eating a cheese sandwich (delicious!) the next night I was eating a tofu sandwich (even more delicious!). You don’t have to give up anything, you can still enjoy the same foods you enjoy! 🙂

    This is a great blog and I congratulate for it, definitely will keep checking it out! Totally accurate what you said! Here in Costa Rica we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, but I always look forward to prove people how easy it is to enjoy vegan food and how incredibly delicious it is. All the best! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Ricardo! I’m glad your family has opened up to vegan options. I just wonder… if they like vegan food what’s stopping them from going vegan? I know a lot of people who eat at a vegan restaurant one night, and a steak house the next. It baffles me. If they enjoy vegan food why do they feel the need to keep eating animal products when these products are undeniably cruel and unnecessary? I can only guess that it is because they are trying to be healthy by eating less meat (perhaps to lower cholesterol and/or weight), but not wanting to stop consuming it entirely. They probably do it less for the animals and more for themselves.

      There are many people who claim that they are “almost vegan”, as if such a thing exists. You either see the connection or you don’t, and you cannot see the connection and continue eating animal products unless you lack the ability to empathize (a lack of conscience is common in sociopathic individuals). Even a lack of money shouldn’t stop someone from eating a vegan diet, as rice, beans, lentils, and the like are some of the most affordable foods money can buy (it’s just the processed vegan faux meats/cheeses/etc. that are expensive, and they are certainly not necessary for a healthy vegan diet).

      My mom tells me she’s “almost vegan”. She says she hardly eats any meat and that when she does it’s probably only about once a week. I tell her that if that’s how little she eats then why does she feel the need to eat meat at all? She says she thinks it’s unhealthy, a fact of life, she’s too old to change, etc. The same is true of my fiancé’s parents. “I eat sooo many salads”, his dad says, as if salads are synonymous with health. Salads can have meat, cheese, eggs, sugar, all kinds of unhealthy things in them. Pour ranch on a pile of vegetables and guess what: it’s not healthy. Plus, many non-vegans have absolutely no idea of all the hidden animal ingredients in the food they eat. I remember when i first went vegan I was shocked at how many things I ate had animal ingredients that you would never in your wildest dreams imagine contained those things.

      I recently posted a link to ButterballAbuse.com on Facebook (about a new MFA undercover investigation at a Butterball turkey concentration camp — Butterball is one of the largest Thanksgiving turkey suppliers in the US) and tagged my mom and this is what she wrote to me:

      “I just read this message after reading your most recent blog, seeing the photo of the sod on the front lawn, and then sending T a note via “message” that I’d like to come over for a Vegan Thanksgiving and a non-meat meal and am willing to contribute to the cost of the meal and bring a Vegan dish – salad and main dish. Thank you for the invite. I’d love to come! What time? Just telphone me and leave me a message as I don’t turn on the computer on a daily basis, while I get my phone messages daily. Love to you.”

      This comes after last year, where my mom came over but didn’t want to eat anything because she was saving her appetite for a non-vegan Thanksgiving meal at a friends house later on that would center around a dead turkey. Maybe there is hope 🙂

  2. I agree! 🙂 My family has never focused much on health, they also love animals and I’m sure they eventually will go vegan, and they even admit they should stop eating meat, they just say they don’t have the will power yet, but knowing them I know eventually they’ll do it :).

    Yesterday I went with my family to a non-vegan restaurant, all salads had bacon, chicken and cheese and it pisses me off that I have to ask “which salad has more veggies and fruits?” Because I don’t want to say “Take off all the animal products” and then just have lettuce and tomatoes. It shouldn’t be that way, thankfully it had beans, tangerines, apples, among other fruits and veggies, but we shouldn’t ask for that.

    I do know the world is going vegan, no doubt about that, I’m surprised at how you can find vegan options all over the place and now almost everyone knows what the term “vegan” means 🙂 Those meat-eaters better start saying good bye to their meat because it’s temporary and it’s on its final years 😉

  3. Hi! As always a wonderful and thought out post. Even my husband who is a claimed ‘meatatarian’ had felt your co-workers were a bit rude to say the least. While he still shies from vegetables (another story altogether) he will happily dig into side dishes, desserts, and even tries mock meat. Thanksgiving should be more on getting together than the food (remember Peanuts Thanksgiving). If they were that concerned they could have something before hand. Heaven help if they eat something healthy:-) Anyway, we are going to a mutual friends’ house for Thanksgiving as our family is not near us here in Ohio. Of all things guess who is bringing the vegetable and cracker (no cheese) tray? Yes,and by my HOST’s request. Have a wonderful holiday and next year: invite us. LOL With all of us readers it will rock. I will even bring the wine as well. Hugs!

    1. I’m so glad you’re having Thanksgiving with friends who aren’t completely terrified of veganism. You’re definitely a lot more tolerant than I am, I must say. I spent last Thanksgiving watching a seven-year-old spend what seemed like hours slowly gnawing away at the hacked off leg of a very fat turkey. He looked like King Henry VIII with that thing. It was disgusting. I don’t know what I would have done if they had one of those whole roasted pigs with the apple in its mouth. I probably would have flipped out and caused a scene. Later on the kids were telling me about their favorite animals and how cute they are. They had no idea, they really didn’t. I ate biscuits the whole night (we already had our Tofurky feast at home beforehand) as there was nothing else for me to eat there. The stench was revolting. Strangely familiar, but disturbingly grotesque. The whole night I had to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out how speciesist and selfish they are, bowing their heads to say grace over a murdered, dead sentient being.

      I will certainly take you up on that wine for next Thanksgiving. We’re doing something low-key this year, but next year… let’s rock!

  4. Kara, the photo you selected of the ’50s? . . . ’60s? . . . ’70s? dinner party reeks of the kind of mindless, orthodox, snobbish uniformity that you describe so well in your blog. The men and to some extent the women look like carbon copies of one another, don’t they — so unoriginal and uninspiring.

    I feel sorry for those who don’t dare tear themselves away from their ingrained habits — from their selfish appetites — to experience something new and different and cruelty-free. Heck, they could at least be kind to and considerate of the feelings of their caring, compassionate, conscientious, uncompromisingly ethical would-be hostess with the mostest!

    I read your “about” page just now, and had to laugh when I wrongly guessed that “bunny boy” was the nickname you had given your fiance. 🙂 I’m sure he’s perfectly fine with sharing you with your rabbits companions. In fact, he probably feels a complete affinity with and affection for them. After all, you and your four-legged friends come as a total package, right?

    Congratulations to your mom for being willing to evolve — or, as a friend of mine puts it, to “emerge gently.”

    1. CQ, I always love your comments. I agree with you about the picture of the dinner party. They just look so uncomfortable and unhappy… stuck in a rut, I suppose. It’s as if you can hear the awkward silence taking place in that photo.

      I seriously LOLed so hard reading that you thought my “bunny boy” was my fiancé. I suppose if I was a bunny he would be — he’s quite charming. You know, not many people know this but he’s actually the Prince of the bunnies. Yes, heir to the bunny throne, to rule over all bunny kind with a furry fist in the Kingdom of Lagomorphia. He loves sleeping in my arms for hours and kisses on his forehead. He’s my best friend. In fact, when my fiancé first met him he didn’t like him. “You spend all your time with that rabbit. What about me?”, he would say. “You love him more than me!” Now he understands that he is my human soul mate and Shfanfi is my bunny soul mate. Plus, I think he’s being nicer to him because he’s so old. He’s about 10 years old now.

      Thank you for the congratulations about my mom, but she’s still got a long way to go, at least with her mindset. She’s still a carnist in her mind, but she’s willing to go along with me if it’s a special occasion (I suppose). I’m just glad she’s at least giving it a try. My dad is totally vegan and even teaches his martial arts and personal training students that a vegan diet is the best diet for health. He’s gotten a lot of people to change their shape with the help of a vegan diet. Anyway, I hope my mom will become vegan eventually. I want her to be around as long as possible.

      CQ, you’ve surely had experiences with non-vegans about dinner parties like I have. Which was your most memorable?

      1. OK, I’m still confused. So, your charming fiance is a Prince? Heir to a throne? Rules over Lagomorphia? Where’s that, pray tell? 🙂

        Who didn’t like whom? Fiance didn’t like Shfanfi or Shfanfi didn’t like fiance? If the latter, no wonder fiance had an inferiority complex — or would that be a pique of jealousy?! 🙂

        You say “he’s so old” — who, your fiance? Personally, I think 10 years old is a little young for a fiance. Maybe double that number would be more appropriate! 🙂

        My confusion would be cleared up by now were Shfanfi a “she” instead of a “he,” ya know?

        I agree with your quote, Kara. The thing is, they counter the claim that it’s destructive by hauling out that tired “circle of life” line — all to excuse their lust for flesh. Sometimes do you just want to shout to the rooftops: “What is it you don’t get about needless killing being violent and cruel?”

        Hmmmmm, I don’t think I’ve dined with any non-vegans for Thanksgiving or Christmas in the eight or so years I’ve been vegan. At the handful of non-holiday meals I’ve eaten with omnivores, I don’t recall ever being dissed. But if I think of any funny or sad stories, I’ll pass them on.

        If I were your mom, I’d admire you and want to be like you. Have you watched Tribe of Heart’s DVD “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home”? A friend of mine watched it with her family (maybe they were already vegetarian), and they decided on the spot to quit eating dairy and eggs, when they realized that each animal whose secretions they had been stealing is charming (like Shfanfi and fiance), loves family and friends, and wants to live free, just like you and me — and Mom!

  5. Well, it can be a shocking experience to run into the power that cultural myths exert on the “minds” of human animals. I extend my sympathies to you for your dismay and hurt. One way to think about the resistence you encountered is to realize that the degree of uproar was approximately proportonate to the irrationality of the belief that the killing and eating of our fellow animals is necessary. On some level each of those who objected to your menu knew you were speaking truth and offering kindness. Coming face to face with the ugliness of their own behavior offered the choice of listening and seeing or turning away from truth and attacking the messinger. You bore the brunt of their choice.

    A few years ago I added the sentiment to the prayer given while the family was gathered around the table that apologies should be extended to the animals that were killed for the thanksgiving meal. The reaction was so outsized that you would have thought I jumped up on the table and defecated in the sweet potatoes. I eventually was asked to leave.

    In retrospect it is sort of funny…but I assure you that at the time it wasn’t. For most of the family it still isn’t. I was seriousl shocked at the uproar (and still am to some degree) but I do understand that very very few of us are able to recognize truth when we first encounter it…especially if truth conflicts with powerful and long-standing cultural behaviors. It is ususally easier to marginalize the speaker than to examine un-thinkingly accepted beliefs and behaviors…especially if those are shameful and vile practices.

    This year I am invited to come and visit briefly before the meal…and then I leave before dinner. That’s an adequate compromise for me…although I must admit I fantasize about passing around vegan literature to those present…I probably won’t. 🙂

    Congratulations! You now know what it is about us that allowed human slavery to exist legally for thousands and thousands of years. Rare are the people who actually think…most go along with the crowd. Just about every mass injustice or atrocity ever perpetrated by our species has occurred and does occur because few are willing to step outside the cultural tales they are presented with when they are children. One of the premier tasks of becoming a grown-up is to look at what we were taught when we were small and see if it corresponds to reality and to what we think and know and believe as adults. Most of us have not done much in regard to this important task of growing-up…and worse…most of us attack those who try to go beyond the limits of our own growth.

    You now have more knowledge and awareness than you did before, but learning can be painful and sorrowful and for that…for you…I offer my regrets and sympathy. I hope your holiday is enjoyable and thank you for being on the side of freedom and life for all animals. That’s truly something to be thankful for.

    1. I’m so sorry about what happened between you and your family. It seems to me that people wouldn’t react with such extreme horror if they didn’t feel (in some deeply hidden part of themselves) that you were at least somewhat right. If you were to say “let’s apologize to the sweet potatoes for taking their lives” your family probably would have laughed at how silly you were being and gone right back to what they were doing before without a second thought. It was because somewhere inside of them, they knew you had made a valid point and that their actions were selfish and wrong.

      I honestly don’t know whether I would visit those same people this year, if I was in your shoes. Sure, they’re family, but to treat you that way and be completely unremorseful, asking you to leave so you don’t ruin their meal of a dead sentient being again with the stench of the truth.

      I was reminded of a quote while reading your fifth paragraph, about how most people don’t bother to think for themselves and repeat the same behaviors they were raised to believe are correct.

      “Re-examine all you have been told, dismiss what insults your soul.” ~ Walt Whitman

      If only more people would do just that.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I’m thankful that there are sane people like you in the world who see that oppression is going on and choose to acknowledge it and change it, rather than brushing it under the rug just because it makes their lives easier not having to clean it up.

  6. I just discovered your excellent blog and wow, my mind is officially boggled. WTF is wrong with people?! I’ve never experienced anything remotely like this, but have heard similar stories (well, maybe not THIS bad, nor as bad as veganelder’s experience!). Major kudos to you for standing your ground, but what a shame you were put through that, couldn’t enjoy your delightful party idea, and that your willfully ignorant co-workers missed out on a fun-filled evening with great food, as well as an opportunity to open the door – at least a little – on their own innate compassion and the gift of some valuable food for thought along with the yummy vegan buffalo wings. (I’m ever the optimist that most people DO possess innate compassion, walled off from their consciousness though it may have become. And I also can’t help but think that regardless of their abhorrent behavior, in at least a few cases you did plant some seeds. And maybe those seeds even germinated down the line, nurtured further by others like yourself).

    Great graphics on this post, by the way!

    Don’t know if you’ve read it, but I think you’ll really appreciate Marla Rose’s <a href=
    "http://veganfeministagitator.blogspot.com/2012/11/thanksgiving-when-vegans-almost-rule.html"Thanksgiving post!

    Wishing you a peaceful holiday of delicious food and amiable dinner companions! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Laloofah (I like the name!). Luckily, most people don’t get to this extreme, but when you get enough carnists together they kind of feed off of each other. It’s like they all merge together into some giant defensive omnivore blob-monster, stomping on busses and kicking down buildings — “Raaaawwwrrrr!!!! Me hungry!!! Me eat what me want!!!!”. It’s a lot easier to attack the messenger than it is to look at themselves and evaluate their own actions.

      I like to think that most people possess innate compassion, I just think that certain people are too concerned with maintaining appearances. Sometimes even though people may come around and actually agree with you, they will never admit to it because to them it means that they lost the debate. They forget that it’s not about winning or losing. Others just want to be accepted into societal norms and not stand out because they’re afraid they’ll have to put up with what we vegans put up with on a daily basis (and in reality, they would). I think a lot of this is why vegan women outnumber vegan men 3:1. Men don’t want to be seen as ‘weak’, ‘soft’, ‘feminine’, etc. It all has to do with the fact that we live in a culture where masculinity is praised and revered, while femininity is looked down upon and considered weak. What is truly weak is not being able to see the truth for what it is, be the bigger person, take ownership for your actions and change.

      Anyway, thank you for the link. I will go check it out now!

    1. That looks so interesting! It’s true, rabbits are most definitely misunderstood. I know that all animals are innocent creatures who have no reason to be slaughtered, but for some reason when I see a rabbit being slaughtered it hits me just a little harder. They’re just so harmless — they really are. How could anyone ever justify murdering them? — Murdering any animal? I guess it’s because when I see a rabbit I think of my Shfanfi… I couldn’t imagine anything happening to him. He carries a little piece of my soul inside of him.

      1. Hi!

        Same thing when I had my guinea pigs; I was getting tired of being reminded that in South America they are food. I finally asked when did the earth shift; I thought we were still in North America.

        Anyway, curious readers would like to know how did it go?

            1. Ohhh!!!! Duh! lol It went well! Aside from the usual mom-knows-best lectures (thankfully, not veganism related), it went off without a hitch. I’m lucky enough to have a very handsome fiancé who not only loves to cook, but is actually GOOD at it (and yes, he’s vegan too). We even had pumpkin pie with whipped cream 😀

              How about you guys?

              1. At a Saturday-before-Thanksgiving vegan feast I went to, we had delicious pumpkin cheesecake pies (though without whipped cream) as well as pumpkinn spice mini-cupcakes with delectable frosting.

                Please let us know when the nuptials take place with your Prince Charming.

  7. As usual, you nailed it!! This especially resonated with me: “What really amazed me was that these people couldn’t seem to allow themselves to go even one meal in their sheltered lives without a single animal product.” My own dad is like this!! He turns into a petulant child – buys his own meal/ingredients even if I’ve spent hours making something I’m sure he would love if he’d just take a bite. Put the “magical” word vegan in front of it and he heads for the deli counter.

    1. That’s how my fiancé’s father is. We’ll say:

      “Chris, we’re about to grill up some portabella burgers, you want some?”
      “Look. Look. I eat a TON of salads. A TON. I love salads. I’ll eat a salad when I get home. Okay? I just I appreciate what you’re doing but I just — I just — I love salads.”
      “Okay, Chris. Do you want us to make you a salad?”
      “No, it’s okay. I’m really not that hungry.”
      “But you just said you were going to go home because you were hungry… Why not stay and hang out with us and enjoy a free meal?”
      “Look — I… I eat a TON of salads.”

      *Rolls eyes*

      Like, seriously? My mom was like this for a while. Either she just ate, she had leftovers to finish at home, she was about to go out to dinner with friends afterward… there was always an excuse. I appreciate that at least they’re trying to be polite, but holy crap it’s just food! Food from the earth, not a slaughterhouse! You would think they would be more horrified of the things they actually put in their mouth! Corpses that are covered in feces, urine, blood, vomit… It’s mind-boggling. They look at it like it’s not “real” food or like it’s missing something. It’s in their minds — it’s imaginary. Then they use the “I’m too old to change” excuse. *Face-palm*

    1. Thank you! It’s just so silly to have non-vegans demand animal products just because they’re attending an event at a vegan household. Vegan food is for everyone.

      This post is also for people living in a household that is not entirely vegan (as in, you are vegan but other members of the household are not). If you are the one doing the shopping and cooking, then YOU are the one deciding what’s for dinner. If anyone has a problem with that they can shop, cook and clean for themselves.

      1. Thanks much for dissecting this dilemma most of us are either going through or have gone through before… My take on restricting guests to “just” vegan food rather than flesh as well is that everyone does eat “vegan” already – Everyone does eat some plant food or another. So that would be a gathering with meal options everyone already eats. Adding any animal products to the spread is “above and beyond” and so it becomes an option – Not a necessity. Factor in complexities with cross-contamination of “unsafe” foods AND the ethical considerations – Only the extremely hard headed would be stubborn about an exclusively vegan spread!

        I’m glad you were able to stick with your very rational and compassionate choices! 😉

        1. You know, I’ve noticed that a lot of non-vegans don’t eat nearly as many fruits and vegetables as they should be eating. They live in what I call a “meat box”. They need to think outside of the meat box and see all of the amazing foods out there that don’t contain animal products. It’s like if their meal doesn’t have meat in it it’s missing something. They claim to love food so much and yet every meal revolves around the same basic ingredients: meat, dairy and/or eggs. It’s pretty funny when a meat eater tells you that you don’t know what you’re missing, that they couldn’t stop eating meat because it tastes so good, and that they’re a “food lover” — while eating a Big Mac. Yeah… they’re such a food lover eating fast food garbage every day.

          I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Hooray for Tofurky! 🙂

  8. Just saw this and loved it. You know that I agree with you completely. It really does drive me crazy that people don’t get the fact that EVERYONE can eat vegan — better for you, for the animals, for the world– and yet non-vegans do feel it is a deprivation to have even ONE damn meal that doesn’t include anything from an animal. So when are you going to have a Vegans only dinner party and when do I get my invite??

  9. Two words: THEIR LOSS.

    Oh boy, do I know this scene well. You have just described why I opt out of family holiday dinners the whopping majority of the year. On the bright side, being forced to opt out inspired me to host my own gatherings in the office space I rent. I started hosting a vegan Thanksliving event last year with great success. I’m planning a decadent feast for this year too, no meat-dairy-eggs allowed.

  10. “Most people are followers. They allow other people to do their thinking for them. They don’t realize that change has only occurred when people disregard this fear of ostracization and overcome it. The status quo will remain the status quo until someone has the courage to change it.” Amen, so true!

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