THE VEGETARIAN AND HER FAMILY

My niece-in-law celebrates her 30th birthday over the Thanksgiving holiday. So we all got together this weekend to celebrate since we're all scattering for the holidays. While we were in Tulsa, we took advantage of their Whole Foods store to stock up on groceries for our Thanksgiving dinner for two. I got a tofurky and Chris got a really nice turkey breast from the butcher. We also got some things that we don't have easy access to at our local grocery stores like tempeh and fancy cheeses and other things we didn't really need. But who cares? We are going to have the best Thanksgiving dinner this year! Yes...the best Thanksgiving dinner, even though it involves a fake turkey. My mother is having a hard time accepting my vegetarianism. I was going on and on about the tempeh I purchased and the future tacos they would become when my my mom turned to my niece and said "can you believe they eat like that?". Can you believe it? There were other little jibes through out the visit, but it got even better when we met for Melissa's birthday lunch today. Melissa's original choice for today's lunch was closed on Sunday's, so it got moved to the local BBQ joint. I casually pondered what I was going to eat when my mom said "well, they have chicken and sides". Yum... sides. While I was looking over the menu, Mom said to Melissa that this was a great place to take a vegetarian. She made it seem like I was the "complaining, stick-in-the-mud, how could they make me eat at a BBQ place" vegetarian.

Melissa didn't know I had gone vegg. I told her that I didn't care where we were eating. It's not my birthday and it's not about the food. But the incident left a sour taste in my mouth. It made me feel guilty and wrong. It was like I was asking my family to go meatless on my account. But that's not what I want and I'm not asking for a seven course vegetarian spread, just a little bit of consideration and a tiny bit of thinking outside the box. Everyone has been pretty accepting of my food choices except my mom. She sees it as a big inconvienance and that our only eating out options are places like iHop or the Cracker Barrel or something with eggs (and once again...chicken is not a vegetable!). Being a vegetarian is not that big of deal. I do live with a carnivore and we seem to be making it work.

My mom hasn't always been this way. When my sister went vegetarian for a while, my mom was very supportive. She praised JaNell and how well the diet was working for her. Why am I any different? She sees me as odd and eating foods that no one in their right minds would eat. I've become a hassle and require more "work". It's like I've decided to take on a new radical religion and shave my head.

I'm saving that one for next year.