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Old 07-26-2007, 04:36 PM   #21
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Green Lady - & I say this will all due respect - you are doing vegetarians everywhere an extreme disservice with your attitude. I'm 100% sensitive to everyone's food preferences. In fact, my husband hasn't eaten ANY red meat products for 35 years.

But if someone with vegetarian or vegan leanings showed up at my home without advising me ahead of time of their preferences or showed up & didn't ask what was in certain dishes, then ate them & spit them out - discreetly or not - they wouldn't be invited back again.

There are quite a few cole slaw recipes with meat (usually a smoked meat) in them; same for pasta salads. For you to say "give me a break" because the food provided wasn't tailored to your eating preferences is EXACTLY why so many people find vegetarians so snooty. A title they don't deserve, but frequently get because of people like you. As far as saying "can't anyone go for one day without meat" - OF COURSE THEY CAN, but they shouldn't have to just because you say so. Or apparently don't say so & just assume when you visit with friends.

It's entirely up to YOU to make your preferences/allergies/food principles known when you dine away from home. If you don't, you have no business spitting out food or whining about what you're served.
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:25 PM   #22
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Some recipes can be made vegetarian by just omitting the meat: spaghetti with marinara sauce, taco salad, burritos made with vegetarian refried beans, etc.

I made the recipe below when working down at the dispatch center on my forest. I made one pot vegetarian and the other with meat. Everyone loved it.

Jambalaya

Also, some recipes that we eat for everyday are vegetarian. Like for example minestrone soup, red beans and rice, etc.

I personally love veggie burgers. I dress them up like I would a hamburger with all the traditional fixings and they are great.

Good luck and don't be afraid to experiment!!
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Old 07-27-2007, 01:41 PM   #23
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I in no way meant that people should go without meat. What I did suggest, is that people try it. It seems to me that people, (mostly meat-eaters) feel that it is not a complete meal unless there is a piece of meat on the table. And that is not just from one or two households.

Do a survey on your own. Ask most people how they feel about meals and meat and I would bet my bottom dollar that most people, if asked, would feel that a meal is not a meal unless there is some sort of meat on the table.

And to date, my in-laws still ask my daughter if she wants meat, and she has been meat free for over 4 years. It is just something that is instilled into us from nearly the day we are born. I think that people should at least try a change in their diet, to see how others do it.

Also, when someone new comes over to my house for dinner, I always ask. "Is there something you like or don't like?" I do it mostly for allergies, or dishes they may hate, but then if there was something special they needed to address, they could do it at that time. I think I ask that question because of my daughters lifestyle, but hey, not a bad habit to get into.

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Old 07-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treklady

Do a survey on your own. Ask most people how they feel about meals and meat and I would bet my bottom dollar that most people, if asked, would feel that a meal is not a meal unless there is some sort of meat on the table.
Good idea!

(Click that for the poll)
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:54 PM   #25
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You should have seen the looks on peoples faces, and heard the comments when our guests found out we were having a vegetarian wedding :) It was then when we found out who are true friends and relatives were, and who the people that were just attending for the food were.
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:10 PM   #26
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How smallminded of them!!! A vegetarian wedding would have been a supreme opportunity for people to enjoy so many different dishes. (Sounds like something I'd like to cater - lol!!!). Just think of it - Asian dishes, African dishes, some Indian curries, Italian pastas, mounds of fragrant rice & couscous - Lord, the list of terrific foods that would work in this case are endless!!!

Far too many people still think of vegetarian cuisine as a lump of bland tofu, a mound of seaweed, & some mashed yeast - lol!!!!
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:16 PM   #27
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Mashed yeast!!!!!! LOLOLOL!!!!!!
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:35 AM   #28
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To make a simple vegetable (yes, it is even vegan) broth (do NOT call it vegetable stock. Stock means there are bones in the making, which gives it that gelatanous loook when cold that most vegans are actually grossed out by!):

3 carrots
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 red onion, quartered
1 leek, cleaned and halved lengthwise
1 head of garlic, separated, but you don't have to peel
3 ribs celery
2-3 tomatoes, halved

Place on a baking sheet (they can touch, but you want one layer) sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper

Bake in a 300 oven until browned (this really varies in time,so check every 20 min or so)

Chop and put in 2-3 quarts of water and stew for an hour. Mash, then strain.

This broth will go as well as beef or chicken stock in any recipe. The numbers of vegetables is very optional, I do double it because I freeze lots of broth and stock (no, I'm not vegetarian, just DO have a lot of friends of all cultures). If you have 3 onions and like them, do it. If you have .... well, you get it.

Alternatively, grill a bunch of all sorts of veggies over charcoal. In addition to the above have zuchini and eggplant. When you stew this to make your broth, you will get a lovely, smokey flavor that really compliments bean and lentil soups. Even your most carnivorous friends will be amazed that there is no bacon or ham in your lovely bean/lentil/split pea soup.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:32 AM   #29
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When my daughter was but just a few months old, I had some friends over for a Christmas meal, and they were vegans. I was just a plain 'ol vegetarian at that time and found it a challenge to cook for vegans. And let me tell you, I pulled it off.

There was not a turkey or ham in sight and the table was filled with plenty of food, and even a vegan pumpkin pie, and that thing rocked. I amazed myself, and with a little research and perseverance, I had a delicious and delightful holiday and it was meat free.

I usually do Thanksgiving at my house, I wonder who would have something to say or not show (Much like Larry_stewarts wedding) if I decided to have a meat free Thanksgiving. It' snot about the turkey, it's about giving thanks for what we have...right??
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:51 AM   #30
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As a rule of thumb, before hosting new people I always ask if there are any special dietary allergies/needs. I have cooked for meat lovers and vegatarian guests. So many great recipes out there to enjoy. When cooking a vegatarian dinner most are not even aware that meat is missing for the meal.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:15 AM   #31
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Elaine, I do the same thing when cooking for people I don't know. I do NOT try to make a meal that will fit all needs, though, I just try to make sure that there is one dish that the "special needs" person CAN eat. For example, a holiday meal. It is NOT going to be vegetarian, but a vegetarian, yes, even a vegan, WILL be able to get a decent meal out of it by simply avoiding the meat and asking me about the sides. I have young, type 1 diabetic friend who visits, and her parents always were thankful that I had food for her (in fact, I'm not a sugar-aholic, and wasn't doing anything special). Once a guest was prowling the kitchen. I asked what he needed. He wanted to know if I used anything peanut. Huh? I was a little peeved that no one told me he was allergic, but took stock. Went to the pantry, went through the menu in my mind, and told him with complete confidence that I hadn't used any peanut-related products. The fact is that you cannot meet every dietary need every time, and if you try to, you will start to hate cooking and entertaining because it will become a test rather than fun. Once I threw a big party for my folks, and one of my mom's dearest was the vegan I've mentioned before. I was watching her eating croissants. "Mom, she does know that croissants are about half butter?" It was a laugh, because Mom replied "You bought them at Sam's, right?" Yes. "They never saw a stick of butter" HOW TRUE!!!

I agree with many; once you are an adult, your food intake is YOUR problem, you should not expect others to cater to your special needs. In my experience, people who have a bunch of special needs never host! Note I said in MY experience. Plus there is a big difference in being a vegan or any other sort of vegetarian, and being someone who will go into anaphylactic shock (or a diabetic coma), and being someone who is simply a fussy eater. If you are going to need 911 care if you eat something you aren't supposed to, I definitely need to know that. If you choose not to eat certain things, I'll make sure there is something on the table for you, but no, the entire meal won't be catered to your preferences, and I believe it is unreasonable to expect that.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:31 AM   #32
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As a vegetarian ( not a vegan), I think thats all i expect when going to a dinner , party or whatever, that there is something to eat. Having been a vegetarian for 20 years, I have learned to make the best out of a situation, and I never complain. Although it is much easier and much more accepted now, then it was 20 years ago, eating at a dinner function requires some kind of strategy. For example, loading up at the cocktail hour, doubling up on the side dishes, or even having something to eat at home prior to attending a function. I cant and never will expect an occasion to revolve around me or my dietary needs. That would be selfish. On the other hand, I am a vegetarian ( not a vegan, or health freak) and my dietary needs are not religious or health motivated, so being open minded, I am able to make the best of what is offered. For someone who is kosher, or diabetic and have stricter guidelines when eating, this creates a more difficult situation. Sure, if they are a guest, then it is the responsibility of the host to provide at least something for them to eat. Anyway, just voicing my opinion i guess. And more importantly, learning how to cook and taste more things, so i have less limitations :)
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:40 AM   #33
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My cousin's wife is a vegetarian, so they had a vegetarian wedding reception, although they did have Chilean sea bass. It was in 2000, so I don't remember specific dishes, but I do remember that the food was wonderful.

Also, she's Jewish and it was the first Jewish wedding I've been to - it was the most fun wedding I've ever attended, and I mean the wedding, not the reception (although that was fun, too).
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:52 PM   #34
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Hmmm. It can be a real problem living with a vegetarian, but there are ways around it.

The saddest part is that vegetarian food is so poor with good wine.

Could you imagine a nut roast with a Château Margaux?

Not me...


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Old 08-02-2007, 05:45 PM   #35
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I'll preface my comments by saying I've eaten a mostly vegitarian diet (I would sometimes include a little fish) for around six years, and recently switched over to a vegan diet.

To the OP, well, I think a lot of good advice has already been offered. One technique that might be helpful is to look at it like this: List of every type of food (not a prepared dish, just a basic food) you can think of that's not flesh... all the legumes, nuts, vegetables, dairy, fruit, grains, and so on. Now, list of all the meats you normally consume.

Which list is longer, and which gives you a better palate to work from? The key to a vegetarian/vegan diet is imaginging everything you CAN prepare, not bellyaching on what you cant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
For example, a holiday meal. It is NOT going to be vegetarian, but a vegetarian, yes, even a vegan, WILL be able to get a decent meal out of it by simply avoiding the meat and asking me about the sides.
This brings up a pretty good point, in that often "we" (those that eat typical American dishes) often regard a meal as a "featured" slab of meat with somewhat-less-meaty to meatless "sides". This probably has something to do with why so many people find it so difficult to go veg, as opposed to someone in, say, India.

As for the "sides" there is of course the issue of whether the soup was made with beef stock, or the potatos with butter, or whatever. When it's not a situation where I feel comfortable doing a little friendly interrogation on the ingredients (like with a good friend), I just shut up and avoid eating anything that looks blantantly meatlike. You win some and you lose some, and I don't want to be "that guy" and inconvenience everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
In my experience, people who have a bunch of special needs never host! Note I said in MY experience.
I wasn't clear from your post if you considered a vegan or vegetarian diet "special needs", but for what it's worth, one of my biggest joys is to host dinners for friends! (and my friends include vegans, meat-eaters, and vegitarians) And let me assure you, they don't seem to mind the lack of meat, and they DO ask ask for seconds!
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:48 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexR
Hmmm. It can be a real problem living with a vegetarian, but there are ways around it.

The saddest part is that vegetarian food is so poor with good wine.
Ah, but maybe you forgot about pasta dishes!

Also, I always portabella mushrooms to be nice too... oh, and I didn't even mention cheese!
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:31 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Little Penguin
Ah, but maybe you forgot about pasta dishes!

Also, I always portabella mushrooms to be nice too... oh, and I didn't even mention cheese!
But as a true vegan, you wouldn’t be eating cheese would you?

Also, why is it a lot of vegetarians consider fish ok? Is it because they’re ugly? As a comedian once said (paraphrased of course): “Oh, that Lamb is sooooooo cute, let’s keep him and make him happy. That ugly *** crab though, boil his *** alive!”.
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:53 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin
But as a true vegan, you wouldn’t be eating cheese would you?
Now that I'm vegan, no, I don't eat cheese. The suggestions was for vegetarians.

I have to say I will miss that bit of asiago on top of pasta too, but I enjoy the challenge. Iy means I need to really work on making the sauce special.


Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin
Also, why is it a lot of vegetarians consider fish ok? Is it because they’re ugly? As a comedian once said (paraphrased of course): “Oh, that Lamb is sooooooo cute, let’s keep him and make him happy. That ugly *** crab though, boil his *** alive!”.
Well, just speaking for myself, my main motivation for my diet is my abhorrance of factory farming methods. I wasn't confident enough in my knowledge of nutrition to totally eliminate meat/dairy, so I'd eat a very small amount of wild-caught fish (or, VERY occasionally, free range beef or lamb)

I don't believe you have to be absolute about these things, rather, I was trying to find a balance between my view on the ethics of eating and my desire to be healthy.

My knowledge of nutrition and my spiritual path (sorry, that sounds really new-agey and I assure you I'm not actually that kinda guy) has developed and I'm taking the plunge...

...into a bucket of hummous!

Yum...
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:02 PM   #39
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Oh, dear. "Special Needs" to me is anyone who has to "clear" it with a restaurant or their hosts when they don't eat at home. For example, my husband and I can go to anyone's home and eat dinner there, or any restaurant. Whether it is medical (diverticulitis, cancers, allergies), religious (Muslim, Jew, 7th Day Adventists), or simply preference. That is my definitition of special needs. If you have give me a list of what you can and cannot eat, you are in my mind, special needs. I do not mean this to be derogotory. As we age, this is becoming more and more a fact of life.

And I did say in my experience, and certainly didn't mean all (for example, vitually all of those I know who have what I am referring to as "special needs" because of religious reasons have entertained me very, very, very often. The others not. )

I did have the great experience of going to a vegan picnic. It wasn't at her home, though. It was a challenge she put out to her TOPS club (which Mom was a member of) for their annual picnic. Everyone was to make a vegan dish and bring it, along with the recipe. I was just passing through town so did not have any advance notice, Mom just asked that I come along and make something. I had interviewed the woman for the local rag, and had read all of the lit she'd passed along, and had entertained her a few times. So I made up some dishes (hummus and baba ganoush with pita and chips, carefully reading the ingredients for the pita and chips, and using my own recipes for the dips, which contain absolutely no meat or dairy; eggs, worcestershire sauce, etc), and they were the hit of the party. Most of the attendees were older women from New England (this was in Florida) whose husbands would have probably divorced them had they ever prepared a meatless dish. My dishes were the hit of the picnic. Everyone else assumed the dishes had to be flavorless, I suspect some were afraid of garlic or of "Foreign Foods". But there wasn't a drop left when I left, and my recipes were requested most often (and I hadn't written them down because of time constraints, so was spending the picnic with my notepad trying to remember the measurements!).
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:21 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
I did have the great experience of going to a vegan picnic. It wasn't at her home, though. It was a challenge she put out to her TOPS club (which Mom was a member of) for their annual picnic. Everyone was to make a vegan dish and bring it, along with the recipe. I was just passing through town so did not have any advance notice, Mom just asked that I come along and make something. I had interviewed the woman for the local rag, and had read all of the lit she'd passed along, and had entertained her a few times. So I made up some dishes (hummus and baba ganoush with pita and chips, carefully reading the ingredients for the pita and chips, and using my own recipes for the dips, which contain absolutely no meat or dairy; eggs, worcestershire sauce, etc), and they were the hit of the party. Most of the attendees were older women from New England (this was in Florida) whose husbands would have probably divorced them had they ever prepared a meatless dish. My dishes were the hit of the picnic. Everyone else assumed the dishes had to be flavorless, I suspect some were afraid of garlic or of "Foreign Foods". But there wasn't a drop left when I left, and my recipes were requested most often (and I hadn't written them down because of time constraints, so was spending the picnic with my notepad trying to remember the measurements!).
Great anecdote!

I'd love it if you shared your hummus recipe (if you did indeed remember it!)... mine tends to be either too thick or too runny, and I got
frustrated, so I just buy it- but someday I hope to be able to make it well.

One thing I've noticed since I went vegan is that I'm using a lot of different, new flavors, and it's making me more creative. I think I was using butter and cheese as my crutches, and now withouw them I have to think a little more!
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