Thursday, March 15, 2007

How committed am I really?

When questioned about my reason for eating the way I do, I tell people it is because I cannot tolerate the suffering of the animals involved in our food production. I mention that I do not do this particularly for my health, and yes, I do miss cheese. Generally the conversation ends at that point.

Lately though, I have noticed something a little deeper behind my stance. I am planning a dinner in the not to distant future for some friends that are not vegetarian. Automatically, I started planning the menu in my head and choosing which meat I would buy. I reluctantly decided that there was no way around this dilemma but to include meat on my menu plan. Why? At first, I told myself that some of my guests were meat-eaters and as they were my guests I had to make them happy - serving them meat would accomplish this. Then I further justified my reasoning by telling myself how I always mention when asked by people who are inviting me for dinner, to not do anything different for me "I'll just eat whatever you prepare" (as I don't want to be a nuisance); how altruistic!! (I'm being a little sarcastic here!)

But was that really all it was? If I am so committed to not being a cog in the wheel of factory-farming cruelty (not to mention the pollution and environmental foot-print, etc) than why can I not make this statement by inviting people into my home and presenting them with a completely vegetarian meal?

The answer popped out immediately - there was a big ego problem here. I wanted to impress my guests and look good in their eyes. These friends have been gracious, generous hosts to me and my husband in the past. Remembering past dinners at their home, I began to get nervous (as I always do), comparing their sumptuous feasts, that are served apparently without any stress, one course after the other, with my mediocre dinners (and the behind the scenes staging of the home; that would be me running around like a Sargent major trying to motivate the troops to spit shin the place - darn near impossible with 1 dog, 3 cats and 2 ferrets). As you can imagine, I have a long way to go to meet this self-imposed standard. (Note: never have my friends ever set themselves up on a pedestal as the ultimate in gracious hospitality! This is all my own doing.)

Now having seen this pattern of thinking clearly, I return to my menu planning - inspired anew and confident that I can prepare and present a variety of delicious vegetarian/vegan dishes! I think I will pull some recipes from ExtraVeganza for a start - they are always special with guaranteed results (so far at least). Wish me luck!!

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Elise said...

I say to you: cook your best vegeterian for your friends! I love eating new stuff when I go to friends. It's not a restaurant meal, it's an offering of friendship. I cook my stuff when I entertain (I add more vegetable dishes if I have a vegeterian friend over), so should you. And it's easy for an omnivore to eat one vegeterian meal, perhaps easier than for a vegeterian to eat one meat meal...Have fun!