Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More about being a vegetarian

In the May issue of the Vegetarian Times magazine there is an article I have been thinking about. Maybe it stands out because it echoes the sentiments in a passage of a book I happened to be reading on the same day. The book is The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

In any event both of them spoke of how isolating it can feel to be vegetarian. And, how awkward it can be sometimes, especially when invited to dinner. Michael Pollan became vegetarian for a month as a part of his research for his book, and here is what he experienced (p 314):

"What troubles me most about my vegetarianism is the subtle way it alienates me from other people, and, odd as this might sound, from a whole dimension of human experience. Other people now have to accommodate me, and I find this uncomfortable.... I also feel alienated from traditions I value: cultural traditions like Thanksgiving turkey, or even franks at the ballpark...
this isn't to say we can't or shouldn't transcend our inheritance..."

Justin Rosenholtz Rogan in her article (page 54) "Full Disclosure: The Pros and Cons of Telling A Host About Your Food Preferences" gives this advice on what to say when you are invited to dinner. She says to tell them "I have to tell you I am a vegetarian. But for the love of everything that is good in this world, please do not make anything special for me. I'll be fine."

I have also been given this advice for when I am eating with others who may not know I am a vegetarian. When they offer me something with meat (or if they offer me a drink not knowing that I don't drink), I could just say, "Not tonight, but thanks."

So, anyway, just some thoughts on how to navigate without making too many waves.

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