How Vegans Are Doing it Wrong

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Initial disclaimer: I have lived as a vegan. I enjoyed it very much. This is mostly a reflection on my experiences with dietary restrictions.

I go to social events a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. At many of these, the whole group brings vegan-friendly foods, because there are a small number of vegans in the group. This does not bother me one bit, because it was the norm for me when I lived as a vegan. All my friends were vegan, so when someone joined us that ate meat, they brought their own meat or non-vegan dish.

I make a point to take yummy stuff everywhere I go. My recipe for Caramel Cherry Pie is amazing, if I do say so myself, as is my molasses-bacon-asparagus. I will be making the pie for Thanksgiving, and I’m excited for my soon-to-be in-laws to try my favorite dessert.  I did the same thing when I was vegan, and still do the same when I dine with vegans. For example, last year, I made orange-chocolate cupcakes with orange fudge icing, orange honey mustard salad dressing, and orange carrot soup for a gathering. All of it was vegan, and I gave out TONS of copies of the recipes later. I always surprise.

The position this puts other people in is a hard one. I’ve heard many a vegan in my new social circles say “consider bringing a vegan-friendly dish for your vegan friends.” I have been known to respond with, “I’d be happy to. Please consider bringing bacon for me, next time.”

While checking in on what will be served at Thanksgiving this year, I found something interesting. Our family members with dietary restrictions have collaborated and are bringing their own food for dinner. I was excited to hear this. It means that everyone is taking care of their own needs, and not making it anyone else’s issue.

Remember: The number one rule of pot-luck dinners is that YOU ALWAYS BRING SOMETHING YOU LIKE. If someone else brings bland soy-custard with pita chips, you can turn around and eat your molasses covered bacon (which happens to have asparagus in it), and enjoy! On the flip side, if someone is so inconsiderate (snark) as to bring bacon to a “vegan-friendly” dinner, you can turn around, and eat your amazing Oreo cookies, bag of Fritos, and—of course—homemade chocolate fudge brownies (which happen to be deliciously vegan).

Problem solved, no?

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  1. Sandra

    You should probably learn the difference between a polite request and a demand. This group sounds like they are just letting people know there are vegans in the group. Some dishes easily convert to a vegan version, allowing more people to join in enjoying the food. I feel sorry for this group if they have to listen to you complain about a wider range of choices for all who attend.

    • I appreciate your concern, because I truly want everyone to have choices. I have never complained to a single person in this group about the food choices. I have gently reminded two of the event organisers that we aren’t all vegan because at 8 out of the 10 official functions I’ve attended with them, the only foods available were vegan dishes. More than once, I was reprimanded for not being “considerate”. I simply won’t stand for that. I have brought many vegan dishes to our pot lucks, including cupcakes, fudge, salads with homemade dressings, and savory dishes (mostly nutmeg, mushroom, and eggplant type things).

      I am not bothered by the request for variety, and consideration. I am offended, however, that some people in that group would feel slighted by my bringing food I enjoy. Especially since there are, I don’t know, 6 total vegans in a group of over 50. I would never have been bothered by a 70:30 split of vegan/non-vegan. Hell, a 85:15 would have been fine! But a 100:0 situation in which a person feels guilty for bringing (God forbid) dessert with butter in it? That’s not fine. The groups I am in are advocacy groups. One is a secular government group (some of us are religious, but whatever), and another is a cooking group. Neither of these are vegan groups. I am no longer vegan, but when I was, I would never shame somebody for following the best rule of pot lucks. Bring something you like. If others like it, great. If others don’t, then try something else next time.

      For the record, my vegan dishes go over well with everyone. My meat dishes also do. Even with the vegans. It’s about respecting that EVERYONE has a right to enjoy their meal. That’s all there is to it.

  2. It doesn’t necessarily allow more people to join in enjoying the food to bring vegan dishes. Some of us really don’t like most vegan protein sources (sorry to say, but that’s the way it is for me), so bringing everything laced with tofu or beans leaves me out. But I don’t see them considering my dietary preferences.

    My philosophy with potlucks is to bring something I like to eat. Then I’m guaranteed to like at least one thing there.

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