Locally Grown

Laying Down The Slaw/Holiday Meal Education

We stand here this crisp and sunny Monday morning looking to the East, soaking in the beautiful, inspiring sunrise cresting the skyline, then to the horizon West, where October stands ready to bring us the cool of fall, the threat of snow, and the beginning of the Holiday Season.  For many this time of year marks the start of family gatherings, team sports watching with friends (and all their fantasy equivalents), teaching their children holiday traditions, warm apple cider, pie, presents, and a good reason to re-decorate their houses each month with new holiday themes, including a dazzling light show.

Another Issue To Debate...Global Warming Due To Holiday Lighting.

For some people, it’s even a good time to just invent new holidays (because you can’t have enough holidays during the holiday season).  For those who have decided to make the plunge into non-meat-eating waters it is also a time to educate family on what constitutes a Vegan or Vegetarian lifestyle.  For many of you within that realm, it adds to the stress of the season.  Gone are the days when you could just show up at family dinner and eat, eat, eat.  Now there is a little worry that goes with your meal, and beyond the scope of uncomfortable family discussion moments.

The Royal We here at Locally Grown understand this plight, as your Kinda Humble Cook spent his Vegan years returning home to Mother Cook’s house for holidays to find her stocked up on bananas and animal crackers, and tempting me with meatloaf.  This was all in good nature, of course, but I have also been to holiday dinners with friends (who were also VEG), only to be berated for being Veg, or even worse been secretly fed tainted food only to find out minutes later while running to the bathroom.  I would like to think these mistakes were out of lack of knowledge than spite, and to narrow that margin of Holiday Dinner error for you all this year, I would like to open a discussion with you tens of readers as to how you have educated your families, how you can better educate your families, and MY NUMBER ONE GOAL which is how we can all get along and celebrate together, without arguing, name-calling, and without leaving people out of the celebration because of their dietary convictions.

I will start this discussion with a short list of

Top ? Reasons/Ways To Culinarily Coexist With Others

  1. Sharing IS Caring – Sharing is the reason for the holiday season, or so I am told.  Learning from each other and sharing in the foods of your veg-minded friend/family member is a great way to show you care about their lives.
  2. Exclusion is NOT caring – Giving someone the “here’s some beans, that’s all we have for you.” line is not caring.  If you don’t know how to prepare, or don’t care to prepare, proper food for your Veg guest, encourage them to bring a dish or two for themselves, and for other people to try.  I personally have always had better luck just bringing my own Vegan dishes to family dinners, and having enough on hand for the adventurous diners to try (and sometimes to completely finish off).
  3. Quit name calling.  I once went to a girlfriend’s family Thankgrubbing meal out in the country.  I brought my tofu-stuffing casserole thing (which has been discontinued), and many of the family members on hand at least tried a bite, some of them actually ate whole portions.  Everything was going well until the Drunk Uncle decided to start questioning my sexuality because of my Veg tendencies.  Totally uncalled for, and spoke more of DU’s own personal struggles, but this is not totally uncommon.  If you don’t like the fact that someone chooses not to eat meat, just fucking deal with it.  You don’t need to be an asshole about it, unless you are being attacked by one of those “Preachy Vegans

That’s enough for now.  Please, allow yourselves to share any stories or tips or to please ask questions.  The royal We are more than happy to answer question.

On to some Monday News:

I hereby declare that the DSM Register, Juice, Cityview, and Metromix sites need to be made more user friendly.  How am I supposed to complain about their content if I can’t even get to it?

In last week’s Datebook, a certain somebody extolled the virtues of the Baked Cavatelli from Ranallo’s in Ankeny.  (I would link this, but see above note).  What the Certain Somebody did not state is that those home-made noodles were made in the home of Cafe Di Scala, as are the cavatelli from Centro.  I know that Pete Ranallo’s Cav dish is delicious, and I love you guys, but maybe the food press could give credit/do their research a little bit better.

I, without announcement, took the last week off from Locally Grown.  I would like to apologize, and to give you an explanation.  I built a new bike, and rode the crap out of it.  Honestly, I didn’t really feel like writing anyway.  I think the Seasonal Laziness Syndrome might be kicking in a little early!

I awoke from a wicked dream this morning, remembering only that I had shaved off my beard and somehow smoooshed a chihuahua by rolling over in my sleep.  Neither one of these events happened, but I am still reeling from the perceived experience.

Yep, time to get back to riding.  Enjoy this wonderful day.

The Cook


2 Comments so far
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Safety doesn’t take a holiday…

We loved your article, so we included it over at RMG, since we found our readers might find your site of interest….

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I have never had the privelage/torment of getting/having to cook for a vegetarian or vegan, but I do have one friend who is a bit picky about what he eats. In general I think that many “traditional” holiday favorites could be offered for vegetarians the same way I make everything available for my friend.

V isn’t exceptionally picky he just doesn’t eat eggs or cheese…in anything! I know, I know the veggies and the vegans out there are thinking “big whoop, that’s not so hard.” Well for a cook who has yet to find food he doesn’t like and really only cooks for himself and his wife, who while picky, will try anything once, it can be difficult to think things through thouroghly before cooking. I’m digressing big time here, the point is I don’t try to make different things for him, I just try to make the same stuff, just V friendly.

When I have something to make that has cheese or eggs in it I go to the store and get a small, oh lets say 3″ disposable loaf pan and cook his portion in that. I think the same idea could be used for vegan cooking, at least from side dish standpoint. Need stuffing? Just make a small on that uses vegetable stock and no cheese. Green beans? Just leave out the bacon or whatever you get my point. As for protien I think the idea of bringing something of your own to share certainly is a great idea as I have very few ideas for what to do with things like tofu and soy and usually don’t like the things I make with them.

So to sum up my ramblings: 1. those who love you should care that you have something to eat at holiday dinners, 2. You should always feel welcome to bring something to share, especially if it is yummy and I get to try it, 3. Tell DU to stick it the same place he put his hamster.

The Server

Comment by The Server

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