I’ve been exploring vegan restaurants around Boston and Cambridge. I’ve been bringing my friends and coworkers, vegan or not. More recently, I’ve been bringing my very anti-vegan family members as well. Everyone loves the food. Everyone, whether vegan or not always seems to comment on how “surprising” it is that the food is vegan. As if they are expecting it to taste like cardboard or soot or poo or something because there are no animal products in it. It is baffling to me.
A good friend of mine, was telling me about how he has started to become close acquaintances with fellow vegan restaurant goers. I call it the yoga-room effect. Just like with yoga rooms that I frequent, over time I begin to recognize and acknowledge the regulars, like myself. No words are exchanged, but we see each other and give a friendly nod or small wave and smile as if to say, “hello again, friend.” It’s a wonderful feeling. The same sort of feeling that you get when you hear a song that you can completely relate to or read a poem that seems to speak for how your insides feel. Someone knows, someone relates, there are like-minded people out there, you are not alone.
This, I think it what most people want. In my experience, most people share a general desire to not be alone. Community. Maybe people call it something different. In any case, I’m not sure why I was surprised when I was relaying this story of vegan fellowship to one of my omnivorous friends as we shared a vegan pizza. I was surprised by his general interest and fascination with this idea of community surrounding food choice. This, more than the health or moral reasoning behind my choice to adopt a vegan diet, was extremely appealing to him. His intrigue made me want to share the idea with others.
This weekend I visited my family. They had planned on cooking dinner together and showed a slight twinge of discomfort, distress even, when I told them I was planning on joining them. I can only imagine the panicked thoughts that were running through their heads: “Shit, what the hell to we cook now?!” … They’re still coming to terms with my food choices. Instead of allowing myself to be swayed into their general feelings of anxiety about preparing vegan food in a very carnivorous household, I remained calm. I remained calm and made vegan lasagna to go along with their meaty-cheese-filled one. And they liked it. They liked that I was cooking with them and they liked what I made. More importantly, they realized it was really not that difficult to prepare vegan food.
There was community in our lasagna making, even if they choose to maintain their meat-eating habits. Maybe tomorrow I will post the recipe. I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately. I was too busy communing over lasagna and family time to take any.
Peace, love, and veganism!