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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Double Dating

"Hi, Valerie? Joe and I would like to know if you and your husband would like to go out to dinner with us on the nineteenth."

These kinds of telephone calls are more frequent since I became vegan a few years ago. No one wants to cook for me anymore. My husband and I used to get together with other couples twice a month. Lately it is once a month. In the last six months I think we have been dinner guests at someone's house twice. In general, I think many people don't know how to prepare a vegan dinner, and they don't want to try. If we are invited into someone's home for dinner I always offer to bring a dish. More often than not, they want someone else to be responsible for preparing my meal.

Just as likely is that people don't want to take the time out to change their normal meat centered meal into a meatless meal. They ask, "What do you eat?" My suggestions of salad and pasta with tomato sauce go unheard. They would rather eat out than eat vegan. This leaves me interrogating the server about the food, only to end up with a salad, no dressing. The rest of the party will order meat, poultry, or seafood without asking if the sight of dead flesh bothers me. Usually, the smell is worse than the sight.

The other option is to invite guests to my house. When invited to my house one woman walked in and announced "I hope you didn't make tofu, because I hate tofu and won't eat it." She did not mention this when accepting the invitation. She barely touched her dinner of grilled vegetable kabobs with quinoa, but had seconds of the tofu chocolate pie. I didn't tell her it was tofu.

Last week my friend Susan invited us over for a cookout. I was never more pleasantly surprised by a menu. Her husband, Tom, offered us vegan Boca Burgers cooked on a clean grill, before the hamburgers went on. Tom pointed out to me that the box said "vegan" right on it. Susan made vegetarian baked beans without her usual cup of honey; she used maple syrup instead. She also prepared a pasta salad, greens salad, and corn on the cob. It took some effort on her part to make the side dishes vegan, instead of just making the usual mayonnaise laden potato salad and the original recipe of baked beans. I was so appreciative. I must have said so a thousand times.

I think vegan dating, even as married couples, is similar to the singles dating I did years ago. Those people who are or really want to be my friends will respect my lifestyle and not try to impose theirs on me.

Valerie K.
Virginia

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