I’m still feeling ranty. Still a word.
I broke this up from the first rant because this has an actual question to go along with the rant. I’ll try to keep my thoughts concise but I make no promises because for some reason I’m gut rumblin’ angry today. Not about this specifically but I’d just like to punch something. Not a kitten or anything. Probably not a child. Most likely just a pillow. Or Miley Cyrus.
Last Thanksgiving was my first almost all vegan holiday dinner. I remember eating a tiny bite of turkey the year before that and thinking: “This is dry and flavorless, why the fuck would I bother eating an animal if it’s not even amazingly delicious?”. So last year we made vegan mashed potatoes, pecan pie and a Tofurkey turkey to bring with us to the family dinner.
(Side note: I seriously dislike Tofurkey turkeys. Maybe I haven’t had one made properly. The boyfriend douses it in soy sauce and then cooks it. Is that normal? Plus the shape is disturbing. It looks like a giant goat turd pellet. I’m open to try it again but I’m happy with just side dishes as well.)
The boyfriend had told me stories of the amazing vegan Thanksgivings that he and his friends had here in Portland. At this point we were living in southern California near his family and therefore we we certainly in the minority at the dinner table. One story he told me though, always bothered me.
Apparently, the majority of his friends here were vegan and everyone was super down for an all animal free Thanksgiving. But one couple, close friends with everyone, was not vegan. They asked if they could bring turkey to dinner. Not cook it there, but bring it prepared and have it for themselves. The boyfriend was absolutely adamant that this was NOT okay.
His thinking was that everyone can enjoy ALL vegan dishes, even meat eaters. I get that.
I don’t think his relationship with food is as emotional as mine is. Holiday food especially has a lot of emotion tied into it for many people. It’s a time of year to be nostalgic, to enjoy flavors from your childhood. It’s like eating memories. Memories of family, togetherness, tradition. There are foods that I’ll eat just because I miss my mom and eating a dish that she used to makes me feel closer to home. People are very attached to food and the traditions they grew up with.
Is killing a turkey every year a good tradition? No. It’s fucked up and they don’t even taste good.
The thing that bothered me was that it sounded like his friends were trying to be respectful. They didn’t want to bring in a raw ham, cook it in the kitchen and then slice it up in front of a bunch of vegans. They wanted to bring what they wanted to eat, a small portion for themselves, prepared. Instead of being respectful of what their choices were, even if they’re not the same or even wrong choices, it was made difficult for them to come to dinner.
What I’m getting at is that human connection and friendship is incredibly important. If these people are good enough to be your friends, if you love them enough to hang out with them, stay in touch with them when you’re away, go to their wedding and all that, then why make them feel so shitty for turkey?
I know that the boyfriend would STRONGLY disagree with me on this one. And that’s fine.
The situation randomly came up with some other people who had been at dinner that year (vegan people) who were a little confused by the decision. So I know I’m not the only one who feels like things like that, especially around holidays when we are all pretty much orphans, shouldn’t matter so much.
If your veganism is more important than your friendships, perhaps only have vegan friends?
I went to a BBQ a few years ago where the hosts were vegan. Everyone was encouraged to bring food that they wanted to eat. The hosts made little flags for each dish that said “VEGAN” or “NOT VEGAN”. There were two grills, one for meat one for veggies and Boca burgers. Everyone was having a great time and I never heard any food discussions while there. Why can’t it be like that?
You can’t force your friends to make a lifestyle change.
I’m curious as to what others think. I can see both sides of the argument. But I’m sure I’ll get my ass reamed anyway.