Grumpy Vegan eats ice cream to save face...and eat ice cream

Yesterday I had an email conversation with a friend who's also playing vegan. Annoyed with a houseguest who had given up meat and dairy to reverse his diabetes and lower his cholesterol, she nonetheless worked with his new diet and found herself feeling great. All hail another newly minted vegan.

We both acknowledged that in the past we've been annoyed with the When-Harry-Met Sally's of the world, who grill waiters, demand off-menu items and want everything on the side. In Colorado this is the rule rather than the exception. Dine with a group and someone is either gluten-free or lactose-intolerant, vegetarian or has a peanut allergy, doesn't eat red meat or avoids fat, won't shop at Wal-Mart or hates brussels sprouts. Odd that we're such a precious lot here in the Wild West.

People with special diets can be annoying. Now we're the annoying people with the special diet.

This week I've been working in an office. (You people who do this daily are frickin' heroes. Just to leave the house with a touch of mascara on my lashes was like marshalling the 7th Airborne.) On Tuesday afternoon I was invited to a good-bye celebration for an intern with ice-cream cake starring. New to this group, I loathed pulling the vegan card or even abjurring for the calories. "I'll just have a bite," I thought, until I bit. And bit. And bit. And all but picked up the plate and licked it.

I started eating the ice cream for social reasons and finished it because it was DQ and a warm afternoon and it tasted like summer. And I wanted to fit in.

It doesn't help when celebrity chefs with arteries like super highways use their bully pulpits to snipe at veg heads. In Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain wrote, "Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn... Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food."

Well, Tony, that's open-minded.

Crypto veganism

In truth, I don't want to be one of those people friends have to plan meals around. I don't want to become so controlling and difficult that deciding on a restaurant requires strategic planning. I don't have it in me to be an ideologue; I wear leather shoes and happily knit with wool. It would be rather disingenous to go all PETA on folks, don't you think?

Labels are dificult no matter how you slice it or what you slice. Today my policy looks something like this: Whether it's been cooked in chicken broth or pigeon fat...if it looks like a vegetable, it's a vegetable and it's going down. Don't ask. Don't tell. Let's eat.


Comments (2) -

May 12. 2011 13:18

RobinJ

Hey, moderation in all things - even moderation in moderation.  

I've recently discovered that gluten is not my friend but I don't want to be one of those people either.  However, by not letting hosts know I end up making them feel bad when I avoid food, they ask why, I tell them, and then they want to come up with an alternative on the fly.  Dudes!  I won't starve if I can't eat your orzo.  Just keep that broccoli coming.  It is a balancing act.

RobinJ |

May 12. 2011 14:32

Jo Morgan

Loved this post!  It is such a refreshing point-of-view and you have almost made me want to try my own vegan experiment!

Jo Morgan |

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