Monday, February 18, 2013

Enlightened Soul?

My sister was in town this past weekend.  I invited all the family over for dinner.  I rarely do this.  Here's why.
Me: Do you want to come for dinner Sunday?
Dad: What are you making?
Me: Soul food.
Dad: ....
Me: What's the problem?
Dad: I just find the things you choose to make amusing.
Me: I don't know what that is supposed to mean.

The reason why I chose soul food is, not because it is black history month as my mom later suggested, but because this month's Vegetarian Times contained some delicious sounding recipes.  One of the articles "Enlightened soul food" had a spread I *thought* I could make and no one would notice the lack of meat.  Spoiler - I was wrong.

I stopped eating meat a few months ago.  I still eat fish, so I guess I am technically a pescetarian (who knew I could be so trendy?).  It has been a bigger adjustment for my family than it has been for me.  They act somewhat as though I made the decision to become a cannibal.

Do I crave hamburgers and goetta and bacon?  Sometimes, but usually only after I've been drinking.

Anyway, back to dinner.  I made black-eyed pea and stewed tomato salad, baked hush puppies, and corn grits with swiss chard and caramelized onions.  For dessert was banana pudding made from scratch (well mostly, not the vanilla wafers).  I paired it with a semi-sweet white table wine because of the vinegar.  Everyone sits down at the table and Stepmother asks what everything is.  I explain, and she says "Oh, so I guess when we eat at the vegetarian's house we don't get meat.  Even when we make her dishes without meat at our house."

This is not a good start.  I mention that I have said there is no need to make me special food when we come over, and then I get up to make my 2 yr old a PB&J.  From the dining room I hear commentary from Stepmother "I don't like black-eyed peas","I don't like corn","what is that" and similar.  So I lean my head in and ask if she wants me to make her a peanut butter sandwich, too.  The response is a withering glare.

Ok, I was being pretty snarky but I don't understand what the big deal is.  Where is it written that meat has to be served at every meal?  The food was good (all the recipes definitely keepers), there was plenty to go around, and no one left hungry.  Isn't it ok to not have meat on the table?  I guess I am struggling with the proper etiquette for hosting a dinner party with different dietary desires. My sister pointed out that even though a person eats meat, that doesn't mean they can't eat vegetarian food.  But maybe they shouldn't be expected to forgo meat just because they are dining at the home of someone who choses not to?

Next time I eat at their house I expect all that will be on the table is half a deer carcass and some mead.  Not even plates.  Those barbarians.

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