As a vegan, I can attest to the awkwardness of being a guest in someone’s home as they fumble to feed me. I thought I’d lend my perspective and give some guidance to those of you who might be wondering how to go about feeding a vegan dinner guest. I put together a list of do’s and don’ts based on my own personal experiences. Hopefully, you can use them to thoroughly impress the next vegan who wanders into your abode.
#1. Don’t Put a Spotlight on Them
Imagine if you were eating dinner with a bunch of vegans, but before the meal starts, your host states that since you are an omnivore only animal products will be served for dinner, out of respect for you. That’s basically what it’s like when someone announces everyone will be eating tofu because one or two of the guests are vegan. It’s a thoughtful gesture, but most people don’t want that kind of attention.
#2. Don’t Bend Over Backwards
This kind of ties into the first tip… let’s go back to that first analogy, except this time imagine your host says to you, “Well, we don’t have any meat in the house, but I could step outside and slaughter something for you if you like.” I can’t tell you how many times someone has boldly proclaimed they don’t have anything for me to eat, but it wouldn’t be any trouble to run out and get me something or prepare me my own separate meal. Again, it’s a nice enough gesture, but it sort of throws a spotlight on your guest(s) and makes him or her feel like they’re being a burden.
#3. Do Your Homework
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get a pretty good grasp on what vegans eat. All you have to know is what they don’t eat. They don’t eat animal products. So, if it comes from an animal or contains something that does, it’s out. If you’re not sure, just check the ingredients label. All fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and most breads and cereals are on the table. Knowing this alone should keep you from panicking. Odds are, you have more vegan items in your kitchen than you realize.
#4. Don’t Count on Fake Meats Alone
Not all fake meats are vegan. In fact, more of them are not vegan than the other way around. I’m talking about Boca, Morningstar, and similar brands. Relying on fake meats can create a doubly awkward moment. Not only did you go through the trouble of getting them something special to eat, it actually turns out to be something they can’t. This has happened to me more times than I can count. I’ve always ignored the mistake instead of bringing it up, but not everyone will. Also, eating fake meat isn’t exactly what being a vegan is about. Not a lot of people get into veganism for all the fake meat products. Many are health conscious and would much rather prefer some fresh fruits and vegetables to an imitation hotdog.