Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vegetarian Thanksgiving!

I was inspired to write this after reading Janae's post about having special food needs at large gatherings/work/whenever.

I've been vegetarian since college (which ended almost 5 years ago. Sad) and my journey to figuring out how/what to eat has been difficult on my end, but it is complicated even more when holidays and other events come up because my food preferences are forced upon other people (that's how I see it at least). With Thanksgiving coming up, this has been on my mind extra since Nick's family is trying to be super accomodating to my needs, which is great, but I'm left thinking about how far other people should be expected to go...

After college, I went to Thanksgiving at the home of my then-fiance's family. We had been dating for over a year, and I had been vegetarian for most of that time, so they were aware of my limitations. I asked if I needed to bring anything special and was told no. Still, I showed up to that meal to find I couldn't eat anything but rolls... there was meat in the stuffing, the green beans, the mashed potatoes, seemingly everywhere. They didn't have a salad, and I don't like cranberry sauce so it was bread for me! Needless to say, I was grumpy and hungry and hurt that there was no tweaking of any recipes, seeing as I was going to be marrying into their family. Fast forward to the next year, and I brought huge salad in anticipation of needing something. It was big enough to share, but when it went on the table it pretty much disappeared..so I had a tiny salad and rolls. Again.

Basic consideration of other people's feelings means, to me, you should be mindful of other's limitations and make an effort to accomodate them, but don't go too out of the way. I would have been happy with ONE dish that was not made with bacon or chicken stock, or even an acknowledgement of "oh, holy cow, how'd we forget that you don't eat animals! Silly us!"

I'm not bitter. Not at all.

At work gatherings, I'm known as "the vegetarian" in my 30some person group, and that works for me since I hope it means my coworkers get a few more veggies in their diets as well. "Vegetarian" doesn't mean only vegetarians can eat it, and I think some of my very very very carnivorous coworkers are finding that out, which is super cool. I even showed up at work on Monday and was told "We ordered you a pizza and some salad stuff for lunch on Friday and you weren't here!" There was a whole pizza for me in the fridge!!! They're the best.

Anyways, with another Thanksgiving coming up, and Nick's family being so thoughtful, I'm trying to let go of discomfort from Thanksgivings (and Christmases... and birthdays) past and enjoy being a little different. I have a hard time doing anything that I feel inconveniences other people, so hopefully I can get past that and just be thankful to have people considerate enough to think of my needs and plan accordingly.

Plus, I can't wait to eat some pies.

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