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Topic: Having a holiday vegetarian meal for the family....just need some advice  (Read 2709 times)
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missliz01
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« on: September 16, 2007 07:23:04 PM »

Hey guys and gals,
  This may seem stupid or lame, but being that I've only been veggie for about a year, I'm not sure about this and thought maybe you guys would have some friendly advice for me.  My boyfriend and I just bought our first house and are super excited about it.  Now that we've got plenty of space for entertaining, we wanted to have our families over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or something like that.  I guess my only worry is that we are the only vegetarians and I'm not sure how everyone would react to eating a vegetarian dinner.  I think my parents and brother and his mom and brother would be cool with it, but I know his aunt is a real "meat and potatoes" kinda lady.  She raised her kids that way too, so I know his cousins love meat as well.  I guess I was just wondering if anyone else out there has been in this type of situation and what you did for dinner.  I really don't want to prepare any meat.  I was thinking I could do a nice veggie loaf with nut gravy or veggie lasagna and then some cool, creative side dishes.  Should I let them know they can bring a dish if they really want to eat meat?  Am I making way too big a deal of this?  I know every family is different but I was just hoping to get a little perspective on this.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007 07:24:41 PM by squozentoad01 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2007 08:43:45 PM »

I don't know how to say this w/o being mean. The thing is, if you went to someone else's place for a meal you would probably expect them to offer something to accommodate your vegetarian diet or give you the option to bring something. In my opinion, I think your best bet would be to either:
a.) Explain the menu when sending/calling invites and ask them to bring a meat dish.
b.) Suck it up and go to Boston Market (or the like) and buy an already cooked turkey/ham. That way you don't have do deal w/ the raw meat, but you're still offering a meat dish.

I really hope I'm not offending anyone w/ this post. I just remember when I was a vegetarian people always went out of their way to accommodate me, so I would make a point to do the same for them.
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missliz01
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007 06:41:43 AM »

No it's not mean at all.  I didn't think of it that way.  I think my problem was that I didn't want to deal with the raw meat, but getting it catered from somewhere is a great idea!  Thanks:)
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007 08:40:31 AM »

Thank you for taking what I said so well. I know exactly what you mean about the raw meat. I cooked my first turkey last year and it was the most disgusting thing ever. If I wasn't such a traditionalist I would buy a pre-cooked turkey myself.  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007 11:55:14 AM »

I've been a vegetarian for 10 years and even had a potluck vegetarian wedding.  I'm not some raging angry vegetarian, and I don't mind someone eating meat in front of me.  But, in terms of whether you should buy prepared meat for the meal is really up to why you became vegetarian.  If it's about animal cruelty, then why would you participate in buying it for them, if you wouldn't eat it yourself.  If it's just about diet and health, then you don't necessarily need to force that on others and can accommodate their needs.  I have held holiday meals for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and always just made a range of delicious meat free dishes.  I make a hearty mushroom gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes with fresh dill, Martha Stewart's nut loaf that is divine, real green bean cassarole with fried shallots, stuffing with rosemary bread, celery, mushrooms, onions and cranberries, ginger carrot soup, fresh cranberry sauce with pineapple juice, and good chewy crusty bread and a salad.  If someone really misses the turkey, maybe they can buy a roasted breast or two to share, but if you make an awesome meal with all the sides people love, I think the meat eaters can make it one holiday meal without the turkey. 
Just my opinion and experience talking.  Not gospel.  Congrats on your new house and upcoming entertaining.  Should be fun!  Just do your best, whatever you feel is right, and if people don't like it, it's their issue, not yours.  Besides, you are having them over.  They didn't have to cook everything.  You also could ask the people who you know are good cooks, to bring a dish.  Then it's not all on your shoulders.  Best of luck to you!
 
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kala
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007 10:20:35 AM »

I agree with the last post, if you're veggie for ethical reasons it doesn't make any sense to provide meat at your meal.  You're doing something nice by providing a delicious holiday meal, your guests will appreciate that (hopefully) and won't die from having one meatless meal. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2007 12:24:48 PM »

I've been in this situation before - I think what's key is, how much do your/his family members complain?

It may be worth it to just suck it up and make 1 turkey, keeping all else vegetarian.

With some people, you know they won't make an issue of one meatless meal. But others, they will NOT stop bringing it up, which can make things unpleasant. On the one hand, well, too bad for them right?  But if you can't find a way NOT to include "Uncle Bob," well, just make it easier on everyone and give the guy some turkey.

I'm something of a conflict avoider - I'd rather compromise then spend a full day bickering, or listening to bickering, etc...

If you think everyone is down and most won't whine, or if you think that one aunt/cousins won't make a scene, make some tasty sides and get a tofurkey!
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bigeyes
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007 01:29:07 PM »

Please don't take this the wrong way, because I mean it with the most sincere and honest kindness.

I would never, ever try to sneak meat or eggs into the food of a vegetarian friend or family member, or give them grief for their beliefs, but you would not believe how many times I have had people try to sneak tofu into my food. Angry

I am completely anti soy.  I do not like it when someone tries to force me to eat it and I think I would leave if they didn't warn me beforehand or ask me if I'd like to bring something myself.  I feel the same way about spam, and I get really pissed when someone tries to hide it in my food also.

You might want to ask one of the relatives if they want to bring a small turkey roast.  That way everyone has the option of trying the veggie dishes if they want, but nobody feels pressured to convert for the day, ykwim?  And you don't have to cook it in your house, which I can understand being upsetting to you.

I totally respect other people's beliefs and would think by offering a blended veggie/non veggie meal you could maybe win over some of your relatives while not completely shutting down communication with the others.  Since thanksgiving is about spending time with your family more than it's about the food, really.  So, generally, what poo head said. Wink
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007 01:44:12 PM by bigeyes » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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missliz01
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007 08:36:28 AM »

Thank you all so much for your advice/opinions/contributions.  It's really helped shed some light on the whole situation and has given me great ideas!
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dbh2ppa
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2007 08:43:58 PM »

IMHO... it's YOUR house, it's YOUR dinner... they are not gonna die because they spent one holiday without eating a dead animal! And you shouldn't have to compromise your beliefs in order to offer someone dinner.
As long as it's a healthy, tasty meal, they don't have anything to complaint about.
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