At the very least, food is usually a centerpiece of these gatherings. There is usually the option to try new or traditional family recipes. This is the most exciting part, especially because I love to eat. Due to the large quantities I eat, I sometimes wonder what I would look like if I did in fact eat meat and highly processed foods.
This past weekend I attended my Uncle’s 50th Birthday party. The highlight of this party was the six-foot-long Italian sub in the middle of the dining table. The sheer length of it was impressive, never mind the fixings that went inside. As is customary for an Italian sub, most of the ingredients were meat, including ham, salami and pastrami.
Nearly all of the people at this event were heavy to moderate meat eaters. However, my Aunt and Uncle were sympathetic to the fact that my father and I do not eat meat. In an attempt to make fun at the situation, they stuck a little sign in the veggie-friendly section of the sub. My Aunt printed out a sign taped to a plastic fork that read “Vagan Territory!” Sadly, the word “vegan” was poorly misspelled. This “Vagan Territory” was simply lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and hot peppers.
There were several other veggie-friendly items at the birthday party such as salad and hummus dip. There are some days when I think “wow we have come a long way to integrating veggie-friendly food options at social events” and then there are other days like at this birthday party when I see how lame the scene still is.
I had a conversation with a friend over the weekend who described his Thanksgiving. He said they almost always include a “real” turkey and a “tofu turkey” at the table. The “tofu turkey” accommodates his brother and sister-in-law who are both vegetarian. I was shocked and delighted! I haven’t heard of too many families willing to accommodate two drastically different eating habits over a big traditional dinner. Many times the vegetarians get pushed to the way side and are offered the small “side dishes” of a few potatoes or vegetables.
So, if you are planning a holiday gathering don’t forget the vegetarians. Make sure you offer them a selection of more than just salad!