Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegan Etiquette for Vegans and Non-Vegans

Coming off of a really busy and fun Halloween weekend, I wanted to blog about my vegan Halloween party. I wanted to tell you how awesome all my friends are & talk about all the delicious food we ate. Like the BEST EVER guacamole, pumpkin dip, hummus, spicy pumpkin tofu phyllo dough yumminess, oshi tashi, and more! But then I realized that maybe not everyone has such cool people in their lives who support their vegan lifestyle...or maybe they're just not sure how to. So I decided to write about how you should act in these vegan situations! Just a few simple guidelines:)

For Vegans:
1. If you are invited to someone's house for a party or dinner, do not expect them to make food for you. I know, I know...if they love you & know you are vegan, they likely will have food for you to eat. The important thing is not to expect it. Come prepared! Bring a vegan dish to share with everyone. Nobody likes the bummed out vegan snacking on a bag of granola at the table while everyone else eats. And make sure it's something that you think your hosts will like. If you know your hosts hate olives, do not take your world famous olive tapanade. Duh.

2. Do encourage your friends to bring vegan dishes to your own party, but again, don't expect that. Have plenty of delicious vegan food & a variety to accomodate all tastes. It's ok to ask that your party remain vegan, but please don't starve your guests. And offer to give suggestions if they want to bring food. Also remind your guests that they do not have to bring anything! You are the host & you will provide plenty of food and drink. Right??

3. DO NOT lecture your friends about living the vegan lifestyle at gatherings whether it's your hosue or not. By all means, do answer questions about why you are vegan if they are asked of you. But a party is not a time to point out the horrors of factory farming. There is always the person who really wants to discuss this subject. I say, if they ask for it give it to them. But be cognizant of the others in the room & again, don't be the vegan bummer. Exception: If your party is a screening of the movie Earthlings, then lecture away...they knew what they were getting into when they rsvp'd.

For Non-Vegans:
1. If you are invited to a party for a vegan or at a vegan's house and want to bring food, make sure it is something that your host can eat. Do not show up with a cheese plate & say that's the best you could do. If your host went through all the effort to plan a party & provide you with booze and food, do not show up with something they cannot eat. You wouldn't show up to a friend's house who has a peanut allergy with peanut butter cookies & say that's the best you could do. It's honestly better to take nothing. Or when in doubt take a bottle of wine. If they don't drink, maybe a nice box of tea. Or how about some chips and salsa or hummus. None require any prep & your host or guest of honor will really appreciate that the "best you could do" thoughtfully included them :)

2. If you are having a party of your own & you invite a vegan, have something for them to eat. Most likely they will bring some food (especially if they've read this blog) and will be so wonderfully surprised at your thoughtful inclusion of them in your menu-planning!

3. If you are having a formal event, especially one in which your guests will be bringing you gifts or money (like a wedding)...feed your vegan guests. Honestly, I know this is like regular etiquette and not vegan specific etiquette, but I feel it should be said. Caterers are accustomed to catering to special dietary needs, so  vegan hors d'oeuvres or a meal will not be a stretch for them. It also shouldn't cost you any extra. In Pittsburgh especially, the caterers are used to dealing with crazy celebrity requests 'like no white food' or 'I only eat raw almonds, organic apples, and kosher dill pickles'. Again, if you've gone to the trouble to invite your vegan guests and let's face it, you know they're bringing a wedding's not too much to ask to make sure they have food to eat. Imagine how hurt they would be if there was nothing for them to eat? It would make them feel like you don't care. Hubs and I had an amazing meal at my cousins wedding this past was just one call to the caterer, & we appreciated it so very much!

Like I said earlier, my friends are awesome! They are so creative with the food they make. From Birthdays, to Book Clubs, to summer cook-outs...they have thoughtfully made food for us to eat. We feel so very loved and blessed.

A spooky photo from out "Horror Film" Halloween Party