Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The herbivore's guide to surviving holiday meals

    Though my enthusiasm is somewhat curtailed by lack of sleep (three weeks 'til graduation!), the holidays are upon us and I don't have to dig too deep to find reasons to be thankful. The kitty I've been taking care of just found a wonderful home, I got to spend the day in Austin with my mom and I get the day off work on Thanksgiving to spend with family -- and since the university is officially closed, I don't have to feel guilty about not spending the time off working on my senior portfolio! 
     Now throw this in with the fact that I just received my adoption certificate from Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey program (I selected "choose for me" and was pleasantly surprised to find I am sponsoring the lovely Hannah!), and that my mom is going to make her delicious yam dish vegan, and I'm one lucky, er... turkey.

    So what about those veggies out there who aren't lucky enough to have an accommodating family? What if you are a non-veggie trying to be the accommodator for a vegan friend/family member? How do you explain the lack of bird-corpse on your plate to prodding omnivores without simply telling them to go get stuffed? Hopefully these all-purpose tips will help deflect some of the stress so you can focus on the true spirit of the holidays.

If you are a non-veggie playing host to a vegetarian/vegan, SuperVegan re-posted this helpful how-to from about.com (and now I'm reposting it too: reduce, reuse, recycle, repost?!).  

If you're a veggie dining among the not-yet-enlightened, hopefully you will both give and receive compassion. Here are a few ways to keep the conversation from boiling over:

* Omnivores may feel vegetarians are judging them for their eating habits or attire.  It’s not uncommon for a non-veggie to “apologize” to a veggie for the chicken taco they ate for lunch or the leather coat they are wearing. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks suggests (via podcast) that veggies use a little humor in this situation. “Don’t apologize to me, apologize to the chicken/cow!” (or turkey!)

* When faced with an argumentative fellow diner, it's your decision whether you really want to get into the "top of the food chain" debate or if you will seek a peaceful way out, but remember that you don't have to be the spokesperson for all veggie-kind. Patrick-Goudreu reminds veggies to be confident and willing to leave it at a simple statement: " I do know that I feel really good about eating this way."

on the other hand...

Meals with omnivores can be a really great way to break the ice and literally put animal advocacy on the table. If those around you inquire why you are abstaining from the poultry or ask why you're veg, you have the perfect opportunity to be a voice for the animals. You don't have to get down to the dirty details of factory farming while forks are flying, but let the inquirer know you're veg for the animals and offer to talk about it after dinner, advises Matt Rice of Farm Sanctuary's education department. 

A few last things:

*Don't forget to R.S.V(egetarian).P.! Don't be shy about vocalizing your dietary selectivity to your host or hostess and of course bring a scrumptious vegan treat to share.

*If you feel like splurging financially instead of slaving culinarily, check out your local vegan or natural foods grocer/co-op, Whole Foods, or veggie restaurants to see if they offer a catered meal for T-giving. With work and school and a mountain of laundry, I know I'm thankful this year for Green Vegetarian Cuisine's pre-prepared vegan feast. 


If you're a traditionalist and have the time to do it all, vegan yum*yum's got you covered: Thank Seitan

*If your city has a food-not-bombs program, soup kitchen, or holiday event to feed the less fortunate, show you are thankful for your community and all the creatures therein by donating a dish or pitching in and helping out. 


Mélano said...

I m a French student and I research a training course on a farm. The farm where you are seems to be very interesting, maybe you could help me...
Thanks for your help
Mélanie Couriera

FarmFreshFem said...

Cher Mélanie,

I would love to help. Let me know if you have any questions!

-Farm Fresh Fem