Food Stories: Vegetarian

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When I first decided to be a vegetarian there were not very many options or substitutes. My parents were supportive and did the best they could figuring out healthy options for a 5yr old vegetarian. Now, they too try to eat less meat although it is for different reasons from my own.

From others I have had mixed reveiws. Some share my thoughts and also refrain from eating meat, while others just want me to attempt to have a rare steak for dinner.

Jenn, Vegetarian

Most of my friends know I don’t eat meat, I don’t hide it, but I don’t make them feel uncomfortable either. They will make a veggie dish or I’ll bring a veggie dish if I have time to make one. If I go to a party where I don’t really know anyone, I’ll usually eat dinner beforehand in case there are no veggie options, which has happened before.

Most wedding events are amazing and I end up getting looks from people because I get a huge plate of roasted veggies and pasta in a marinara sauce or eggplant parm instead of the standard issue chicken or sirloin. And I usually get served first, which can be somewhat awkward.

If I go to a restaurant, I ask if their are any ‘vegetarian friendly’ items. Sometimes people have no idea that soups aren’t vegetarian because they’re made with chicken or beef stock, i.e. French Onion Soup (which I have now mastered with mock beef bullion). If I don’t say anything I’ll most likely end up with something that has meat in it. I once got breakfast at an awesome joint in Somerville, the hash browns were riddled with bacon.…upon comment, the waitress said that she was really sorry, the person plating food just felt like adding it.

Kim, Vegetarian for 5 years

My sister was very supportive, she understood my decision and sends me recipes. My father didn’t care. My mother had trouble with it. My whole family cares very much for animals but my mother has trouble with anything that breaks from the way she grew up. She panics if I come for dinner. She literally has no idea what to make. I think it also bothers her that I had to give up a lot of traditional family dishes when I made this choice.

I get a great deal of flack about it from friends. My close friends are accepting but some find every opportunity to give me crap about it. Some people are even defensive. I never push my beliefs on others but once they find out I am a vegetarian I think they fear I am judging them. They will get defensive and start attacking me for it. Dating is difficult, people connect a lot of emotion to food. And if I am not like them in dietary choices they feel uncomfortable. They also stress about where we would eat and sometimes feel awkward eating meat in front of me, even though I say it does not bother me. I was surprised by how much it affected people around me.

Melissa, Vegetarian for 8 years

At first my family was not very supportive, my dad would make animal sounds when he was eating meats, and my mom would just say I didn’t like vegetables so how could I be a vegetarian. Things have changed and they now support my decisions.

Kerry, Vegetarian for 20 Years