Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Dating

"I got some mayo for your sandwich," he said. "Thanks," I respond, "but that has eggs, so I'll just eat my sandwich without it. I appreciate the thought, though." Not understanding is fine if someone chooses to take me out on a date, but the following part is what I really hate: right before he is about to bite into his medium-rare steak, his quarter-pounder burger, or indulge in his veal or other offensive food, the question of "Why?" inevitably arises. How am I supposed to answer? I try to cite the reasons: compassionate living, environmental concerns, a big happy world without murder and slaughter. For a second he looks touched, almost admiring. Then the bite enters his mouth and all is forgotten again. Was that brief moment of his realization worth the disappointment of him taking the bite after all? I sure hope so.

Halfway through his meal he will usually ask the following question: "You don't mind if I eat this in front of you do you?" Now what am I supposed to say to that? Not wanting to force my views on him, I tell him that I don't, that it's alright. But a voice inside of me tells me I need to be more assertive and find a time to explain how I truly feel. Before I can say anything, he mentions that he could never be vegetarian, let alone vegan. "I'm sure you could!" I tell him. "You wouldn't be cutting out all that much, and vegan food is really quite tasty. You should try it sometime." Sadly, I receive the standard reply, a retelling of when and how he likes to consume his animal products: eggs for breakfast, cheese for lunch, and every meal must include meat.

By the end of the meal, I am so sick and tired of all the questions, followed by him chewing and swallowing bits and pieces of animal parts, that the thought of doing it all over again next week does not sound too appealing. Neither does the almost obligatory kiss at the end of the night. Another failed date.

Simply hanging out with friends has always been much easier for me. Now that food has become such a topic of conversation, I am most comfortable when there are others whose company I enjoy and who are able to make plenty of conversation that is not food oriented. I suppose that the way to my heart will be through a man's respect for me, shown not just by finding a restaurant where I can have a good meal, but also by understanding how deeply I feel about being vegan. No man needs to be a vegetarian for me, but I would love it if at least one would choose to go to the library and pick up some books and educate himself. Right now, random dates are not for me. That is not what it is all about in the long run.

Jane N.
New Jersey

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