I used to LOVE hosting dinner for family and friends… But since becoming a vegetarian, I find it extremely hard and rather unenjoyable. I don’t want to cook meals for anyone anymore because I feel like I’m constantly disappointing someone and being negatively judged for not including meat. I am rarely told my meals taste awful, but I feel the unnecessary pressure of trying to prove that we can be healthy while eating meatless meals. It’s stressful.
I may be biased, but I think I cook some pretty tasty meals with the main substance being lentils or beans. However, if I mention a dish with beans, the reaction is one of disgust. Your poor daughter… all she eats are beans now. Ughh no, I don’t want to eat beans… Eww, veggie burgers… If I mention spinach or cabbage, I get similar reactions. You’re eating rabbit food. Poor children…
Do you know just how many dishes can be made with beans? Like a billion… and they ALL taste different. Just like meat, plant-based foods can be seasoned and prepared in a variety of ways to satisfy a colorful palette. Do I eat beans at every meal? No. Do I like beans? Yes. I eat a ton of black beans and pinto beans in Mexican dishes (enchiladas, wet burritos, tacos, taco salad, quesadillas etc). I eat kidney beans in chili and homemade veggie burgers. I also toss chickpeas into veggie burgers and the occasional salad. You use chickpeas to make hummus. Who doesn’t love garlicky or peppery hummus? Anytime I can, I sneak healthy greens into casserole or pasta dishes too. I’m not one to skip out on awesomely delicious snacks like chili cheese bean either! Mmmm SO good!
What exactly should I be feeding my family? Ice cream and pie all day? Maybe I should feed my children hot dogs and macaroni and cheese at every meal. We all know that artificially-dyed powdered cheese and salty pureed meat scraps from various carcasses are super healthy!
So when I host dinner, I feel like it’s my ONE chance to shine and show my family and friends a great tasting vegetarian meal. But how unfair is that? How can I possibly satisfy their empty stomachs when I’m doomed by their negative mindset from the get go? As a vegetarian, I clearly only eat salads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. How can I possibly satisfy the tastebuds of several different people and combine ALL my knowledge of excellent tasting meatless options into ONE performance? If one person doesn’t like the meal, then the assumption is that ALL vegetarian meals are unfulfilling.
Is every single person in my family a royal douchebag? NO. This is just the mindset of an overly self-conscious person trying to live in an extreme, animal-cruelty-free, save-the-world, yadda-yadda lifestyle. Why do I give a damn about tiny, uneducated comments? Maybe I’m overthinking it… It’s not like I’m trying to convert people to vegetarianism. I just want to peacefully cook and serve delicious food because I enjoy it.
So yeah, that was my little rant on how I feel about hosting vegetarian meals to meat lovers. Any other vegetarians feel this pressure ever? How about you meat-lovers? How do you feel about eating vegetarian meals? << I promise the last question was not a set up to attack you!