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Topic: Having a holiday vegetarian meal for the family....just need some advice  (Read 2911 times)
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bigeyes
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2007 08:49:40 PM »

Yeah, that pesky soy or nut allergy that causes their throat to close up is only a minor inconvenience. Roll Eyes



Really, it depends on your family and friends how big of a deal it is.  You're the only one who can figure that out.  What a bunch of people on the internet think about it isn't going to make a bit of difference.
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starblossom
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2007 10:08:54 AM »

It depends on how strongly you feel about meat. If it upsets you to handle it, buy it, and/or have it in your home, that is something to consider. If your relatives will whine endlessly that there is no dead bird on the table, that is worth considering as well. I do think that since they are going to be guests in your home, eating the food that you prepared for them, you should do what you feel most comfortable with. It would help to find out what sort of veggie dishes they do like, and explain the menu to them ahead of time so they aren't faced with the surprise of weird soy and vegetable products they don't want to touch. If you feel comfortable having meat in your home, you could invite them to bring something. If you don't want a gigantic bird in the middle of your table be specific in what you t hink would be a good dish to bring (I think I would explode if someone brought a whole turkey into my home!!)

I'd also like to note that it is completely different for a vegetarian to provide a meal for meateaters, than it is the other way around. It is not against the ethics of a meateater to serve vegetables but if someone is vegetarian for ethical reasons, it is against their belief to serve meat.
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littlehajerika
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2007 01:26:44 PM »

I am completely anti soy. 
Yeah, that pesky soy or nut allergy that causes their throat to close up is only a minor inconvenience. Roll Eyes

So are you anti-soy because you are allergic? That is quite different from a moral opposition to eat it, though I don't know why you might be morally opposed to eating soy.  In any case, I would think that people who are allergic to soy would have to be as careful as vegans in what they eat since soy or soy lecethin is now in so many processed foods.

Anyway, I had a graduation party this summer for 50 plus non-vegetarian people where all the food served was vegan. Except for a very few silly comments before the meal was served no one complained and almost everything was eaten. I come from a family of VERY traditional eaters. (One of my cousins gave me a bag of whole wheat pasta that she had because her husband only eats white pasta) A large number of them are also hunters or waterman who make their living from the crab and oyster industry. 

I think that you should probably not make anything too crazy but I don't think that you should break down and buy meat for them. You can tell them before hand if you want, I didn't, but everyone knew that I was a vegan and it was a party for me.  This isn't exactly the same for a holiday like thanksgiving and christmas where there is so much emphasis on the traditional foods being served.
I guess the decision is up to you, but I think you might find that people are more open minded then you think and as long as the food is good and you serve most of the familiar staples, I think you will be fine.

Good luck!
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bigeyes
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2007 07:42:29 PM »



I'd also like to note that it is completely different for a vegetarian to provide a meal for meateaters, than it is the other way around. It is not against the ethics of a meateater to serve vegetables but if someone is vegetarian for ethical reasons, it is against their belief to serve meat.
True, but when you are dealing with family and you tell them their beliefs are unethical, it makes for some unpleasant holiday meals.  Isn't it easier to just tell the meat-eaters to bring something they like because you won't cook it. 

The OP asked.  Each person has to consider what their friends and family believe and how open they are to vegetarianism, though I have to figure if they are coming to her house they have a pretty good idea it's going to be meat-free, ykwim?  If they don't know and they get a speech, it's possible they are going to always remember that you use the holidays as an excuse to force your beliefs on them, and that isn't going to be pleasant for any of you.   People can get touchy when they are told their desires are wrong and horrible.   I'm just telling you this because I once went on a trip with a friend who converted to vegetarianism, but I didn't know it in advance.  We all chipped in for groceries and she bought them....then we found out.  Angry   What would have been a pleasant weekend with old friends turned into a huge debate about who was the most ethical and moral instead.  Not fun for any of us, and much alcohol was consumed.  Cheesy

Of course, I still chuckle at the fact that my ex-friend is an 'ethical vegetarian who wears leather.'  Huh


I'm not bashing vegetarians, I'm just saying when it's family, you ought to be able to ask them what they want instead of having strangers on the internet guess.


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bigeyes
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2007 08:02:20 PM »


So are you anti-soy because you are allergic? That is quite different from a moral opposition to eat it, though I don't know why you might be morally opposed to eating soy.  In any case, I would think that people who are allergic to soy would have to be as careful as vegans in what they eat since soy or soy lecethin is now in so many processed foods.
I am extremely careful, I make my own mixes for pancakes and bisquick because they contain soy.  I buy organic shortening made from palm oil.  I use an oil pump sprayer instead of buying the sprays with lecithin.  I read the labels on everything and if I can't find it without soy, I just don't buy it.

Soy allergies are common, that's why I mentioned it. I am anti soy because it's a GMO and is hidden in so many foods since it's cheap that it's difficult for people to know how much of it they are actually ingesting.  You can't eat something in moderation when they call it by aliases like vegetable broth, thickener, and emulsifier.  It is an endocrine disrupter and is a huge no-no to thyroid patients like myself.  I think if people are going to eat it they need to be able to make the choice themselves, that's all.  In my case my veggie friend lived on soy products, and I can't live with them.
I think that you should probably not make anything too crazy but I don't think that you should break down and buy meat for them. You can tell them before hand if you want, I didn't, but everyone knew that I was a vegan and it was a party for me.  This isn't exactly the same for a holiday like thanksgiving and christmas where there is so much emphasis on the traditional foods being served.
I guess the decision is up to you, but I think you might find that people are more open minded then you think and as long as the food is good and you serve most of the familiar staples, I think you will be fine.
Yes, that!  If they know you are a vegetarian they shouldn't be surprised, but it might be nice to tip off the diehard carnivores, yk?
I agree that you shouldn't have to buy or do anything with meat yourself, and now that I think about it, you can tell them that it makes you physically ill to smell it.  If you told me you couldn't have meat in your house because the smell made you nauseated, I could sympathize  without feeling like I was being preached to.   It's the way it's presented, and sometimes with family it's easier not to have the arguments about whether it's right or wrong.   
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littlehajerika
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2007 10:29:39 PM »

I am anti soy because it's a GMO and is hidden in so many foods since it's cheap that it's difficult for people to know how much of it they are actually ingesting. 

I agree with this problem with soy, fortunately alot of processed vegetarian products are also organic and therefore non-GMO. So I don't know that this is as much of a problem with these types of processed foods. If squozentoad01 is making these things from recipes, they will probably be more whole foods based anyhow, so this wouldn't be as much of a problem.
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bigeyes
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2007 11:07:45 PM »

Hopefully.  It's scary to me how many things they have replaced with soy.  It's even in water packed tuna, which isn't a concern for a veggie, but for me it was like WTF is soy doing in my tuna? Huh (enough of this, if you're curious, PM me, otherwise I won't threadjack any more.)

Back to the topic, I think the important thing is that everyone has a good time and neither the hosts or guests feel uncomfortable or judged.  Maybe this will be the year your aunt discovers veggie food isn't all bad.   Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2007 06:27:25 PM »

Thanks again everyone for your opinions/ideas.  It has all given me great insight.  Though I feel completely comfortable talking to our family about this issue, and I do not look to a bunch of "strangers" to tell me what the answer is, it does help to get other's perspective on the topic.  Thanks!
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starblossom
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2007 08:15:25 PM »

True, but when you are dealing with family and you tell them their beliefs are unethical, it makes for some unpleasant holiday meals.  Isn't it easier to just tell the meat-eaters to bring something they like because you won't cook it. 
Where did I suggest that she should say "your beliefs are unethical" or "wow you're a horrible person"? I am merely explaining that some vegetarians consider it unethical to cook or serve meat. Therefore, a vegetarian preparing meat for an omnivore is not the same as an omnivore preparing a salad or whatever for a vegetarian. The ethics involved are different. I meant no offense by the terminology I used; I was simply stating a fact. It has absolutely nothing to do with you personally.

I think the difference between you and me is that we disagree on how guests should be treated. I do not expect meateaters to cater to my diet; I understand it can be a pain in the ass, so I offer to bring a dish to the host's home to share at dinner. Similarily, I don't appreciate someone expecting me to cater to them, especially when serving meat is against my beliefs. I will certainly try to make something they will enjoy, but it won't be meat. Smiley

The OP asked.  Each person has to consider what their friends and family believe and how open they are to vegetarianism, though I have to figure if they are coming to her house they have a pretty good idea it's going to be meat-free, ykwim?  If they don't know and they get a speech, it's possible they are going to always remember that you use the holidays as an excuse to force your beliefs on them, and that isn't going to be pleasant for any of you.   People can get touchy when they are told their desires are wrong and horrible.  I'm just telling you this because I once went on a trip with a friend who converted to vegetarianism, but I didn't know it in advance.  We all chipped in for groceries and she bought them....then we found out.  Angry   What would have been a pleasant weekend with old friends turned into a huge debate about who was the most ethical and moral instead.  Not fun for any of us, and much alcohol was consumed.  Cheesy
I'm sorry you had a bad experience with vegetarians. I hope you realize not all of us are like this. I haven't seen anyone in this thread suggesting that the OP stand on a table and give a self rightous speech. I am well aware of the fact that many meat-eaters are touchy (your reply to my post is evidence of this, and I didn't even attack you!) Smiley. This is actually a topic I normally avoid, especially in real life. I am only discussing it now because I am on a vegetarian board where no one is forced to read my words, especially if vegetarianism bothers them it is easy to avoid such posts Wink
I'm not bashing vegetarians, I'm just saying when it's family, you ought to be able to ask them what they want instead of having strangers on the internet guess.
But the OP doesn't have vegetarian family members and wants advice from other vegetarians on how to gracefully deal with the situation. Smiley I agree it's important to consider her family's tastes, but I don't think she should make herself feel uncomfortable in her own home. Finding a balance can be difficult.

And I am finished replying to this thread now. I don't enjoy explaining my diet to other people any more than you do! It's not nice to feel judged so I do my best to be sensitive to other people. I think it's important to realize that many things that vegetarians say are not meant as insults and it can be extremely difficult at times to say anything at all without it being taken the wrong way!!

« Last Edit: September 25, 2007 08:22:44 PM by starblossom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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cinnamon teal
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2007 09:46:46 PM »

Hi!  It sounds like you have a plan and you've already had a lot of advice given to you, so I'm not going to add anything there.  I just wanted to make a recipe suggestion.  For the last few years, my mom's been making the most kick-ass stuffing ever, and it's totally veg friendly.  It's the Wild Rice and Porcini Stuffing from Joy of Cooking.  It's got cranberries and mushrooms and it's a hit with veg and omni people alike.  If you're interested and you don't have a copy of the Joy of Cooking, pm me and I'll type it out for you.

Best of luck to you with your holiday meal. Smiley
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