How To Be a Gracious Vegan Dining Guest
I’m sure that your parents taught you well regarding manners at the dinner table. The vast majority of us are well versed in saying please and thank you, not talking with our mouths full, and keeping our elbows off the table. What Mom and Dad may not have taught you, however, are the things to consider when bringing a dietary restriction to the table (literally :P).
Depending on who you will be dining with this holiday season, your decision to eat vegan (or vegetarian, or gluten-free, etc.) may or may not be an issue. Whatever the case may be, there are a few points I make sure to cover when dining with a group, and especially if I am a guest. These may not all apply to you, but in my experience, I have found them to be helpful in making the meal enjoyable and stress-free for everyone!
Let your host know upon invitation…
It’s always nice to be invited places, and the host has a right to know off the bat that you will not be digging into the massive turkey and stuffing she ever so lovingly prepared. Some people may be extremely receptive and even offer to prepare something special! Either way, there are no secrets.
…and offer to bring a dish to share.
Vegan cooking can be perplexing for someone not well versed in the tricks of the trade (what the heck is a flax egg? Nooch; is that some sort of infection?). Offering to bring a dish is not only an awesome way to show how awesome vegan food can be, but also takes extra strain off the host (who is likely already stressing). Scroll to the end of the post for a list of guaranteed crowd-pleasers!
Don’t get caught up in the ‘questions’.
In some cases, your dietary choices may be questioned, or ahem, scrutinized; I know it’s happened to me! It can be extremely frustrating to feel as though you are being criticized all night, so let me get all Four Agreements on you for a second:
- “Don’t take anything personally”, and
- “Be impeccable with your word”
It’s not very likely that you will be able to convince your roast beef-loving Uncle Sam that he should completely forgo beef for beets. If you do find yourself discussing your values among guests, remaining nonjudgemental is the way to go!
What are the holidays for if not spending time with the ones you love? Yes, food tends to take the center stages at these events, but it shouldn’t be the crux of the event. If there don’t appear to be a lot of dining options that align with your diet, snack on carrots and crackers (and hummus if you’re lucky!), enjoy a fun festive beverage (or a glass of wine), and try to focus on the most important part of the day: the company!
Delicious Vegan Dish Wish-list
Need some ideas on what to bring to the shin dig? Look no further:
Pumpkin Seed Cranberry ‘Cheese’ Log by Rawmazing
Vegan Holiday Cheddar Cheese Ball by Vedged Out
Lavash Flatbread (for dipping)
Mini Tempeh Pot Pies by The Healthy Maven
Sage Maple Chickpeas and Creamy Pumpkin Quinoa & Millet by Produce on Parade
Shaved Brussel Sprout Christmas Salad by Green Kitchen Stories (sub Maple Syrup for honey if vegan)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan by Oh She Glows
Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting by This Rawesome Vegan Life